I settled on an agreement with my landlord to vacate my property after a specific date for a certain amount of compensation. We formed an agreement with clear language about the conditions of my stay and when the tenancy should end (i.e. when I receive the compensation) and we both signed digitally using DocuSign. I am a tenant in Ontario, Canada.

There was no section for a witness signatures for either the landlord or I. Could this potentially render our agreement unenforceable if the landlord does not uphold their side of the deal?

  • 1
    I'd say "There was no section for a signature for me" rather than "There was no section for a signature for I." Jan 29 at 4:29

1 Answer 1


Very few kinds of signed written legal agreements need to be witnessed or notarized to be valid. Contracts between landlords and tenants are not among them.

Documents conveying ownership of real property, however, usually do have to be (or at least receive significant procedural benefits from being) notarzied.

The main other documents that must, or at least, generally are, witnessed or notarized, are wills, trusts or powers of attorney that could be part of real property transactions, estate planning documents that are likely to be used after death, estate planning documents that could lead to someone's death (like a "pull the plug" document), and affidavits used in support of motion practice in court.

Of course, generally, no harm is done if a document that doesn't have to be witnessed or notarized is witnessed or notarized.

While it is not a legal requirement, as a matter of business practice, there is a private system parallel to witnessing and notarizing, called the "guaranteed signature" system, often used by life insurance companies to confirm that the person getting a payout is really the person that they claim to be. In that system, the witnessing guaranteed signature firm has strict liability for any damages that flow from their identification of the person signing a document being incorrect.

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