Refusal to Sell/Let TPC – Practice Q8


Can you refuse to sell? Or Rent?


We usually prefer to agree. This is a common Asian culture. We seldom reject. So in selling, when people give in to us, we will just agree.

In law, this is not so. When we advertise to sell, rent or employ, we are not “offering”. It is called “Invitation to treat”. There are many case laws to quote, but I don’t want to repeat here. We invite people to come forward to further engage in a contract when we advertise.

Like when you go to university to take up courses, the university is inviting you to a treat - to study there. When you pick up a course, you offer to the university to become its student. It is not necessarily that the university MUST accept you. Despite you having fulfilled all the required criteria, you might fail in your application. For example, when you apply to Cambridge, it only accepts a few. Many could have fulfilled the minimum requirement (5A* in A-Level for example), but the university only choose those they want to accept - via an interview. You have no position to question that decision, right?

So is the case when you are renting out your house. You advertise in or newspaper at a certain rental rate. People come to view your house, and some may offer to rent at your asking rental, some may negotiate. This is counter offer at a lower rental. It is up to you to accept. You can choose to reject! Even when everything is according to your advertised criteria (like the 5A* result above), you reserve your right to reject (or not accepting) the offer. When there is no acceptance there is no contract!