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What is the legal position if I send money to a friend in order to sign acontract?

Civil Law

Antonio Flores Vila

13th of February 2000

Q. Have friend in Spain who wants us to go into partnership with him renting bar. If he signs contract in Spain and we send money to him for our half, what is the legal position?

Helen Taylor
Livingston, Scotland

    A. As a lawyer, I am certainly giving a biassed answer: Do use a lawyer for all legal transactions, specially when you decide to conduct business in partnership with a friend. A lawyer will not only ensure the deal is fair and correct for both parties but can even help to maintain your friendship relation before a total fall out occurs: believe me, I've seen it many times. Objectively, if you trust your partner, nothing should go wrong.

    Legally, it is OK for you to send the money down. The contract would be drawn up between the owner of the premises, on the one side, and your partner in his own name and right and also on your behalf. Payment of the first monthly rental plus a couple of months as a deposit (the norm in Spain) would be paid against possession of the premises.

    Problems I can see:

    • Your partner does not include you in the contract
    • Your partner agrees a lower rent than what he has told you.
    • Your partner includes a third partner without you knowing.

    The list is not comprehensive, but obviously I am disregarding the emotional/trust side of the deal. If you request him to do it in writing with you viewing the paperwork, your partner should be even happier. If he gets upset and says his word is enough, I would be a little more cautious. Don't forget you don't need to come down in order to see what you sign. Computers and internet help a lot. Even a fax is enough. I hope this helps.



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