Usage and Grammar
Q. I received a lease agreement and am questioning the meaning of one line in it. The line says, “Landlord will be responsible for any structural or major maintenance and repairs, other than routine maintenance and repairs that are not due to Tenant’s misuse.” I believe this means that the landlord will not be responsible for repairs that are not due to tenant’s misuse, whereas I’m being told that it means that the landlord will not be responsible for repairs that are due to tenant’s misuse.
A. That messy sentence is almost impossible to figure out. It appears to be an instance of misnegation; the writer probably didn’t mean what the sentence actually says. Unfortunately, I’m afraid you need a lawyer, not a style guide.