Reasonableness Standard

DEFINITION of 'Reasonableness Standard'

1) A requirement of the Consumer Leasing Act that takes into consideration the individuals' circumstances according to the amount of harm experienced by the lessor if they early terminate, make late payments or cease to make payments. The reasonableness standard looks at delinquency, default or early termination based on the anticipated or actual harm caused by such delinquency, default or early termination; the difficulties in proving the loss; and finally the inconvenience in finding a solution.


2) A benchmark used in court when reviewing the decisions made by a particular party. The reasonableness standard is a test which asks whether the decisions made were legitimate and designed to remedy a certain issue under the circumstances at the time. Courts using this standard look at both the ultimate decision, and the process by which a party went about making that decision.

BREAKING DOWN 'Reasonableness Standard'

1) A good rule to use in evaluating the early termination of any vehicle lease is to compare the blue book value of the car at the time to the total payments made under the lease up to the surrender date. Under the Consumer Leasing Act, you have the right to get an independent appraisal by someone agreed to by you and the leasing company.


2) Along with the business judgment rule, the reasonableness standard makes up the backbone of many business-related court cases. Courts must determine whether or not a particular decision is arbitrarily made, or if it is designed to address a defined issue or risk. One of the major factors influencing a court's decision is whether a party's actions affect "health, happiness and enjoyment of life", and that a party's actions do not disproportionately affect others.