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QUESTIONS RELATING TO THE CONTRACT OF HIRE

SECTION I.

The fundamental basis of the contract of hire.

Article 433. As in the case of sale, the contract of hire is concluded by offer and acceptance.

Article 434. In a contract of hire, statements made indicative of offer and acceptance are such expressions as “I have given on hire”, “I have let”, “I have taken on hire” and “I have accepted”.

Article 435. As in the case of sale, the contract of hire is concluded by the use of the past tense. It cannot be concluded by the use of the future tense.

Example:- A says “I will give on hire” and B says “I have taken on hire”; or A says “hire” and B says “I have hired”. In both cases no contract of hire has been concluded.

Article 436. A contract of hire may be concluded by word of mouth, or by writing, or by the use of generally recognized signs by dumb persons.

Article 437. A contract of hire may also be concluded by conduct. Thus, if a traveler boards a steam boat or a harbor rowing boat or rides a hired pony, the rate of hire of which is well known, without concluding any oral contract, the amount of hire involved must be paid. If such rate is not known, an estimated rate must be paid.

Article 438. In a contract of hire, silence is considered to indicate assent and acceptance.

Examples:-

(1) A leases a shop at a monthly rent of fifty piastres. After staying there for a few months, the lessor informs him that if he agrees to pay sixty piastres on the first of the month he can remain, but if not, he must leave. A refuses to pay sixty piastres and remains in the shop. He is -only obliged to pay fifty piastres as hitherto. If, however, he remains silent and continues to reside in the shop without interruption, he must pay a monthly rent of sixty piastres.

(2) An owner of a shop proposes a rent of one hundred piastres and the lessee a rent of eighty piastres. The owner leaves the lessee, who remains in the shop. The rent is eighty piastres. If the two parties persist in their contention, and the lessee remains in possession, an estimated rent must be paid.

 

Article 439. If fresh negotiations are commenced after the conclusion of the contract with regard to any change, increase or decrease of the rent, the second contract takes the place of the first.

Article 440. A contract of hire may validly be concluded to take effect at some future date. It is irrevocable, although it may not yet have come into force. Consequently, neither of the contracting parties may cancel such contract merely on the ground that it has not yet come into force.

Article 441. If after the conclusion of a valid contract of hire, some other person offers a higher rent, the contract of hire may not be cancelled by the lessor by reason of that fact alone. Trustee of a pious foundation, however, lets the real property of an orphan or of a pious foundation for a rent which is less than the estimated rent, the contract of hire is voidable and the rent must be increased to the estimated rent.

Article 442. If the person taking the property on hire becomes owner of the hired property in any manner, such as by way of inheritance or gift, such property loses its quality of hired property.

Article 443. If any event happens whereby the reason for the conclusion of the contract disappears, so that the contract cannot be carried out, such contract is cancelled.

Examples:-

(1) A cook is hired for a wedding feast. One of the spouses dies. The contract of hire is cancelled.

(2) A person suffering from toothache makes a contract with a dentist to extract his tooth for a certain fee. The pain ceases. The contract of hire is – cancelled.

(3) A person seeking a wet-nurse dies. The contract of hire is not cancelled. But upon the death of the child or the wet-nurse, such contract is cancelled.

SECTION II.

Conditions relating to the conclusion and execution of the contract of hire.

Article 444. To conclude a contract of hire, the two contracting parties must possess the requisite capacity, that is to say, they must be of sound mind and perfect understanding.

Article 445. In a contract of hire offer and acceptance must agree and the parties must meet together at the same lime and place, as in the case of sale.

Article 446. The person letting a thing on hire must be the owner of the thing he lets on hire, or the agent of the owner, or his tutor or guardian.

Article 447. If any unauthorized person lets anything on hire, such letting is dependent upon the ratification of the owner, and if the owner is a minor or is mad, and a contract of letting on hire has been concluded for an estimated rent, such contract is dependent upon the ratification of the tutor or guardian. There are four essentials to the validity of such permission, which remain constant: the two contracting parties; the property; the subject matter of the contract; and the rent, should it be payable from merchandise. If one of these essentials is lacking, the permission is invalid.

SECTION III.

Essentials to the validity of a contract of hire.

Article 448. The consent of the two contracting parties is essential to the validity of a contract of hire.

Article 449. The subject matter of the contract of hire must be specified. Consequently, if one of two shops is let on hire, without the particular shop in question being specified, and the lessee being given an option as to which one he will take, such contract is invalid.

Article 450. The rent must be clearly ascertained.

Article 451. In a contract of hire, the advantage to be derived from the subject matter of the contract must be specified in such a manner as to avoid any possibility of dispute.

Article 452. In the case of the hire of such things as houses, shops and a wet-nurse, the advantage to be derived there from is defined by stating the period of hire.

Article 453. In the case of hire of a horse, it must be stated whether such horse is to be used as a draught horse, or a riding horse, and if so, who is to ride it: or it may be stated in general terms that whosoever wishes may ride such horse, and the period for which the contract is concluded, or the distance, must also be stated.

Article 454. In the case of hire of land, the period of hire must be stated; the purpose for which such land is to be used; and, if it is to be used for cultivation, the nature of the things to be planted; or, if the person taking such land on hire so desires, a statement in general terms must be made to the effect that he may plant whatever he likes.

Article 455. In the case of hire of the services of skilled workmen, the advantage to be derived from the services of such workmen may be specified by stating the nature of the work, that is to say, what work is to be done and how it is to be performed.

Example:- When clothes are to be dyed, they must be shown to the dyer, the texture thereof must be specified, and the color stated.

Article 456. In the case of transport of goods, the advantage to be derived there from is specified by indicating them, and by stating the place to which they are to be transported.

Example:- A instructs B to carry a certain load to a certain place. The advantage to be derived there from is specified by such load being inspected and the distance being made known.

Article 457. The advantage to be derived from the thing hired must be capable of enjoyment. Consequently, a contract of hire in respect to a runaway animal is invalid.

SECTION IV.

Nullity or voidability of the contract of hire.

Article 458. If one of the conditions essential to the conclusion of a contract of hire is absent, such contract is void.

Example:- A contract of letting or taking on hire entered into by a madman or by a minor of imperfect understanding is void. But if the person giving or letting on hire becomes mad after the conclusion of the contract, such contract is not cancelled.

Article 459. If a contract of hire which is void is tarried out the amount of the hire need not be paid. But if the property is dedicated to pious purposes, or belongs to orphans, an estimated rent must be paid. A madman is treated on the same basis as an orphan.

Article 460. If the conditions requisite for the conclusion of a contract of hire are present, but one of the conditions essential to the validity of the contract is absent, the contract of hire is voidable.

Article 461. A voidable contract of hire is executory. But in a voidable contract of hire, the person giving on hire is not entitled to the fixed rent, but to the estimated rent only.

Article 462. The voidability of a contract of hire sometimes arises from the amount of the hire not being known and sometimes owing to the absence of other conditions essential to the validity of the contract. In the first case, the estimated rent must be paid, whatever the amount thereof may be. In the second case, the estimated rent is payable, provided that it does not exceed the fixed rent.