HAC Legal Services FAQ’s

What is a written contract or agreement?

A written contract or agreement is a document that is in writing that provides the terms and the documentation to what each party agreed upon and what each party expects from the other party.

Why have written contracts or agreements?

A written contract or agreements provides documentation what each party agreed upon and what each party expects from the other party. Also a written contract allows each party to clearly understand and define terms and conditions of the contract or agreement. By having a contract or agreement in writing is proof of what was agreed to and may help prevent any confusion or misinterpretations.

What does Jurisdiction mean?

A jurisdiction is a specific place such as a state, county or town that has its own laws. For example each state has their own laws, but states are part of the United States which is governed by Federal laws.

What is the Governing Law?

Legal documents are governed by the laws of the individual jurisdiction where the actions of the parties will be implemented. It is a place within a jurisdiction where the laws which oversee the property, event or service are located or where an event or service was performed.

What does Joint liability mean?

This means that all liable parties are equally liable and personally liable and responsible for the obligations. Having joint liability means that if each party is unable to pay their portion of the obligation then the other party will be responsible for their own portion as well the other party’s portion.

What is a notary public?

Notary Public is a state-appointed official who is authorized to confirm that certain legal documents were signed in front of the. A person who swears and signs in front of a notary public makes the document valid as there is proof of the person signing the document.

Do documents have to be prepared by an attorney?

No, there are no legal requirements that any document have to be prepared or filed by an attorney, but in some cases to comply with the requirements an attorney should prepare the documents. Any person can draw up and prepare their own documents from either preprinted legal forms or documents or can prepare their own forms or documents.

Who can represent a person or practice law?

A person can represent themselves in a legal matter, but person must be an attorney licensed to practice law in their jurisdiction. They must be a licensed attorney if they advise consumers on their specific legal rights in regards to contracts or agreements or to prepare a contract or agreement for a consumer. Housing Assistance Corporation does not provide advice specific to any individual’s situation we simply provide general legal information. We have participating licensed attorneys that do prepare documents, contracts and agreements.

What legal information does Housing Assistance Corporation provide?

We provide information to make it easy for a consumer to know what they can or can’t do and how to proceed and make an informed decision. But, it is up to the consumer to decide what’s best for them to makes the right choice. We do not prepare or alter any documents, contracts or agreements for consumers pertaining to a person's specific situation. The consumer must decide for they which best suits their needs and must decide for themselves what is best for them. We have compiled a list of participating licensed attorneys that do prepare documents, contracts and agreements. The participating attorneys also provide pro bono services on a case by case basis.

Is signing faxed copies and faxed signatures legal?

Many documents can be executed in counterparts and this will often be included as a provision or clause in the document or agreement authorizing facsimile signatures. This means that each party can sign a different copy of the document but both signature pages would be put together with one version.

Why should consumer’s use mediation or arbitration?

Mediation and arbitration are processes when there is a relationship involved and the survival of the relationship is desirable. The processes focus on creating a mutually agreeable solution to a problem instead of having the issue or matter accelerates to a court action. In addition the process is less expensive and takes less time than making the issue or matter a court case.

What does it mean to execute a document?

When a person executes a document it means that they signed the document and had their signature notarized if needed.

What is the execution date?

The execution date is the date that the party signed the document. Usually, a contract becomes effective on the date of execution (signed).

Who can witness a signing of a document?

Usually, the person who witnesses a document should have no interest in the document or agreement. A neutral third party would be the best choice as they are someone not related to the parties and they do not benefit from the contract or agreement. A witness observes the party or parties signing the document and will sign the document as proof that they witnessed the party or parties signing. The witness must be of legal age and they must be capable and have capacity to witness the signing.

What is the effective date?

The effective date is the date that the contract or agreement becomes effective and can be the specified date that the contract or agreement states.

What is meant by process serving a document?

To process serve a document refers to the official delivery of a document from one party to another party in a method that is legally satisfactory. This may be done by many ways which include delivery in person by a process server, registered mail or delivered by a sheriff.

What is proof of service?

Proof of Service is evidence that can be used in court to verify and confirm that the party being served did actually receive the document. If a process server or sheriff is used to deliver the documents to a party they will usually provide a proof of service.