Release of Claims (mutual release and settlement)


Purpose
The TSSA Release of Claims is a template form that you can use to document an agreement that you are reaching with a tenant with whom there is some kind of dispute. The gist of the agreement is that you and the tenant are agreeing that for a certain amount of consideration, the tenant releases you from all causes of action or liability having to do with the incident that you describe in the Release of Claims.

When to Use
This form could be used when you have somehow made a mistake that puts you in a situation of potential liability to the tenant, and you wish to make a settlement with the tenant for a certain dollar amount, a certain amount of free rent, etc. It can also be used in situations where it is likely that you have no legal liability, but for the sake of “buying peace” or for keeping a long-term tenant, you want to make some kind of deal.

One typical example is if there is water damage to a unit due to a roof leak. Perhaps it was a roof leak that you did not know about and should not reasonably have known about, but nonetheless an accident happened and the tenant’s items got wet. Per the TSSA Lease you are not responsible for this damage, but nonetheless you may wish to reach an agreement with the tenant.

You would use the Release of Claims and tailor it to your needs, fill in the dollar amount, the free rent, etc., fill in the date of the incident (approximate date), and describe the incident (for example “Roof leak causing water damage to contents in Unit A114”).

Then the tenant would sign the Release of Claims, and you could be assured that the tenant would not later come back and claim that there were more damages from the leak.

Tips for Use
Use the Release of Claims only as a template. It cannot be used as is because it needs to be tailored to every specific incident, and that specific incident needs to be described on the form. Make sure that the person signing the Release of Claims is your tenant, and make sure to describe the incident broadly enough to encompass any damages (for example, not “damage to couch from June, 2008 roof leak,” but “damage to tenant’s items stored in Unit A114 related to roof leak occurring in or before June 2008”).