Let’s take as an instantive fantasy a tenancy lease in which a tenant, secretly knowing their rights, deceptively enters into a contract with a greedy landlord who is hopelessly ignorant and apathetic of the laws that contains terms favouring the landlord but which are statutorily unfair and unenforceable. The landlord may well not have agreed to the contract at all without these terms to entice them, and yet tenants rights laws apparently exist to protect certain supposed fundamental rights and dignities of tenants with regards to their very homes.

In this case there was a genuine meeting of the minds on an illegal, statutory unfair basis, but the tenant then asserts their statutory rights to contravene the meeting of the minds and reverting to the statutorily prescribed terms.

It seems that in contracts a meeting of the minds, or sincerely held mutual understanding of the terms on which the pair are entering into a contract, is somehow fundamentally important.

Actually what if the tenant doesn’t know their rights coming into the contract but takes advice later on to learn their statutory rights.

Is meeting of the minds unequivocally subordinate to statutorily mandated contract terms?

  • 1
    I don't see how you sit "a tenant deceptively enters into a contract" with "a genuine meeting of the minds". And statutory conditions always prevail. Apr 10, 2022 at 21:40
  • Because both parties understand accurately what the other has on offer to each other in their respective minds. Also that first part is an extra extreme hyperbolic scenario for illustrative purposes the sake of truly understanding the extent of the order of relative precedence of these various legal principles. Apr 11, 2022 at 4:29
  • Because both parties understand accurately what each other has on offer to them in their respective minds when negotiating or entering into the contract. The extreme version is just a thought experiment anyway but it is loosely based on someone who enters a gentleman’s agreement before learning of and then wishing to assert their basic statutory rights. An extra extreme hyperbolic scenario for the sake of truly understanding the extent of the order of relative precedence of these various legal principles. Anyway, In the hypothetical version where the tenant is genuinely conniving and … Apr 11, 2022 at 10:11
  • Consciously deceptive, I would posit that there is still a genuine meeting of the minds, in that there was a particular arrangement where both minds knew that the other was offering that to them, and in both people’s minds throughout the negotiation it was the same thing upon which they overlapped. Apr 11, 2022 at 10:17
  • Even if the one party was consciously aware of their statutory rights, perhaps they were intending at first when signing the contract not to bother asserting them, but then their circumstances changed so they needed to fall back onto the statutorily guaranteed rights. Apr 11, 2022 at 10:19

1 Answer 1


The landlord knows the law

When the tenant and the landlord made their agreement, both parties legally knew what the law was even if one or both of them (the landlord in this case) was actually ignorant of it. If the landlord failed to inform themselves of the law, how is that the tenants fault? Particularly since the landlord is knowingly in the business of renting out accommodation and the tenant isn’t.

When the “meeting of the minds” occurred, the actual law was legally known to both of them irrespective of if it was actually known, and was therefore part of that “meeting”.

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