How to get rid of an agreement

You cannot tear up a contract just like that. Here are five ways in which you can end a contract.

1. Cancellation

If a party fails to honour its agreements, that is a default. For example, if you buy a blue car, but it later turns out that it is only available in green. That default can be severe enough to cancel a contract, preferably in writing.

You have to undo deliveries and payments back and forth. You do not have to go to court for that, unless the other party disagrees.

2. Termination

You can end a contract by terminating it. A long-term contract, such as a rental contract, can be ended that way. So you are not stuck with it forever.

Termination conditions are often stated in the contract or general terms and conditions. It is wise to terminate the contract in writing.

3. In consultation

An agreement can be ended by mutual agreement. Despite provisions in a contract or general terms and conditions, you can tear up an agreement with the other party.

Put this in writing so that you have proof. Also remember to sign that document together with the other party.

4. Annulment

You can have an agreement annulled yourself or through the courts. Did you conclude a contract in which you were deceived or did you have to sign under threat? Then you can annul the agreement by sending the other party a statement.

If you cannot reach a mutual agreement, you can ask the court to annul the contract. This also applies if you have been misled so much that, with the correct knowledge and information, you would never have concluded the contract.

5. End of contract period

Sometimes you agree that a contract lasts for a certain period of time. After that period, the contract usually ends automatically.

Be careful, because with employment and rental agreements, you often have to confirm this in writing. If you do not, there is a chance that the contract will continue. 

Partial termination

Full termination of an agreement is not always the desired solution. It is possible to partially dissolve an agreement.  You can also temporarily freeze agreements or adjust the price in an agreement.

In a contract, or in separately supplied general terms and conditions, you can indicate when the agreement is suspended or dissolved. You can also specify when this is exactly not possible. An example is force majeure (overmacht in Dutch).