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Suppose a 10 page lease agreement is signed by a landlord and tenant. After a number of years, some of the pages were misplaced but each of the parties signed the bottom of each of the 10 pages (not just the last page).

Can one party use the part of the lease that was not misplaced to hold the other party to the terms of the lease in court? This assumes that the parts of the lease that are relevant to the trial were not misplaced.

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    This is basically why both landlord and tenant have a copy of the contract. If page 1 says "The tenant is responsible for ABC" and page 2 says "Except in circumstances XYZ; in the case of circumstances ABC, it is the landlord who is responsible for ABC", then the landlord can show page 1 and pretend page 2 was misplaced, but the tenant will easily defend themselves by showing their copy of page 2.
    – Stef
    Commented Jan 11, 2023 at 16:33

1 Answer 1

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Can a Lease with Missing Pages be used as Evidence in Court?

Yes. Being relevant to the claim(s) and signed by the parties gives the filed pages evidentiary weight. If the filed evidence is disputed, its filing shifts to the adversary the burden of proving that the missing portions of the contract outweigh the materiality of that evidence or that the filed pages are unreliable (i.e., fake).

Likewise, during discovery, the party who only preserved some of the pages could (1) request the adversary to provide a copy of the signed contract, and/or (2) submit a request for admissions in which the adversary is asked to admit or disprove terms of the lease that are at issue.

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