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Electronic Signing of Contracts

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  • Electronic Signing of Contracts

    There is a service based in the USA I am interested in using as a way of having my tenants (current and future) sign new tenancy contracts or signing other documents related to their tenancy.

    It's called EchoSign and they claim British Telecom uses their service. They also provide links to UK Government laws enacted to allow (apparently) electronic signing of contracts in the UK.

    I have asked a few people whether they thought electronic signatures to sign ASTs was legally enforceable and created a proper tenancy contract, but they said no. I'd like to find out if anybody on this forum either uses the service or a similar service and whether such contracts signed on this basis would be recognised as enforceable in the UK courts for scenarios such as eviction proceedings, deposit disputes, other tenancy disputes, and so on.

    Would a tenant recognise it as a valid and legally binding contract?

    Your thoughts.....

  • #2
    Re: Electronic Signing of Contracts

    My understanding is that in preparation for a full transition to paperless land transfer at the Land Registry legislation was enacted to allow for electronic signatures but it hasn't been brought into effect. The Land Registry have been working out how to implement it all and it has been put on hold now because of various other practical difficulties and cut backs.

    I don't know if the legislation is wide enough also to cover ASTs, but I suspect it is unlikely. The Land Registry proposal was that the conveyancers would have electronic signatures and would electronically sign on behalf of their clients, so I don't know that it was ever intended that everyone would be able to use such a signature.
    RICHARD WEBSTERwww.rwco.co.uk
    As a conveyancing solicitor I want to be helpful (England/Wales only) but can't accept liability for this.


    • #3
      Re: Electronic Signing of Contracts

      Usually electronic signatures offer an added advantage. They ensure the integrity in the closed document. The person signing your contract is not able to revoke as well as destroy the understanding or deny that they can did not sign your document. Documents closed electronically are more risk-free than paper papers and can't be transformed during or following signing event. Even more, electronically closed documents are as legal as those on paper.