Quote Ref: WS1

Courts accept e-signature in an agency agreement

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A county court has upheld the use of an electronic signature in an agency agreement where a guarantor was disputing her obligation to cover a tenant’s rental arrears of £3,668.

The case, involving Welsh lettings and property management agent Roberts, and a tenant’s guarantor, supports the fact that e-signatures can be used in court.

A spokesperson from Roberts said the guarantor’s defence was that the electronic Signable signature did not match her normal signature when signed on paper, adding that the judge “barely questioned” the contract.

He said: “Once he had seen Signable’s email trail, alongside an application form completed by the guarantor declaring her email address, which is the one that the Signable document was sent to, he ruled in our favour.”

Despite the ruling, the guarantor continued to argue her case for a further 15 minutes, insisting that the e-signature didn’t resemble her actual signature. The judge dismissed this, as digitally signed signatures frequently look different to how they usually would because of the technology used.

The agency will now be going back to court, seeking around £8,000 worth of damages.

Speaking to the PropertyIndustryEye website, Signable said: “Electronic signatures are 100% legal and compliant and have been since the introduction of the Electronic Communications Act in 2000.

“However, as there are little to no examples of electronic signatures admitted as evidence in court, companies are still slow to adopt.”

Further reading: The Law Society’s Execution of a document using an electronic signature.

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