Many persons are familiar with the common practice of landlords charging one or two months’ rent as a security deposit before the tenant is given possession but is this practice legal?
This topic of security deposit has been a controversial one for many years. The Rent Restriction Act (“RRA”) which was last amended in 1983 governs controlled premises in Jamaica. Section 24(1) of the RRA stipulates that “a person shall not, as a condition of the grant, renewal or continuance of a tenancy of any controlled premises… require the payment of any fine, premium or other like sum or the giving of consideration in addition to the rent…”
This week we continue our series on starting a business in Jamaica by examining PARTNERSHIPS. A partnership is two or more persons carrying on a business in common with a view to profit. When choosing partners, ensure that they are persons who are trustworthy and will act in the best interest of his/ her fellow partner(s).
The Partnership agreement:
The signing of a partnership agreement is crucial as it will provide guidelines for the firm. This agreement should clearly identify partners’ rights, duties and responsibilities and address matters such as retirement and succession policies. In this agreement, partners should indicate the type of partnership.
Types of partners include:
General partners – these are most common,
Salary partners – they have no share in the firm as an equity partner but is still held out as a partner and so can still be liable.
Dormant or sleeping partners – takes no active part in the management of the business
Corporate partners – a registered company can be a partner once there is nothing in express or implied terms that preclude membership.
To register a partnership, you must submit The Business Registration Form (BRF 1) to the Companies Office of Jamaica and the registration fee is $2,500 for 2 to 5 partners and $5,000 for 6 to 20 partners.
Advantages of a partnership over a company:
Absence of formalities- the formation and dissolution of a partnership is simpler.
Lower cost for registration and privacy of financial matters
No requirement to file annual returns
Disadvantages of a partnership over a company:
The major disadvantage is that there is no separate legal entity that can be sued and held liable for the debts and losses of the partners.
As with a sole trader, partners are personally liable, to their last dollar, jointly and severely, for all partnership debts, losses, & damage arising from a wrongful act or omission of any partner acting in the ordinary course of the business of the firm.
Entrusting someone with Power of Attorney (POA) is an important step that should be carefully decided. If you are considering someone to be your Power of Attorney, then that individual has to be someone whose decision-making you trust completely. You (’Principal’) can give someone Power of Attorney to sign documents, attend court on your behalf or even make healthcare choices in the event that you are too ill to do so. This document can be very useful for persons abroad and unable to travel. Empowering a family member or friend in Jamaica with a power of attorney may come in convenient as that person can conduct business on your behalf.
“Mi ago talk di tings on mi Facebook/Instagram/Twitter” is a common saying by Jamaicans in recent years as persons use social media to vent their frustrations with individuals and companies, as well as to partake in and share the latest gossip. Both reliable and unreliable information is shared with equal exuberance.
But to what extent can one really ‘talk di tings dem’?
As an Attorney-at-Law practicing in the parish of Manchester for over two years, I have come across several civil matters involving farm lands. Whether the issue is with the landlord or the tenant, the first thing I ask the client is, “Do you have a lease agreement?”
For divorce proceedings to start there are certain requirements which must be satisfied. In Jamaica, the only ground for a divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the union. It is important to note that the parties would have to be separated for at least twelve (12) months.
A lawyer representing the Petitioner will lodge, at the Supreme Court, the Divorce “Petition” outlining that the marriage has broken down irretrievably along with the “Affidavit Accompanying Petition” which is a statement concerning the arrangements for the children (under age eighteen (18) years or who are under twenty-three (23) and are attending a tertiary institution) and the “Acknowledgment of Service” AOS, which is a form/questionnaire for the Respondent (other party). The AOS is filed and served on the Respondent with the other documents.
Service of the documents is very important in Divorce cases, as it is imperative that the other party is made aware of the proceedings commenced to terminate their union. Personal service is the standard, meaning the documents are given directly to the other party, but this cannot be done by the Petitioner, but preferably by a person unrelated to the parties. Where this is not possible, the lawyer for the Petitioner may apply for another method to be used, referred to as “Substituted Service.” This is service done by way of advertisements in a popular newspaper published in the town where the Respondent lives and/or service on a member of the Respondent’s family who would most likely be in touch with him/her.
An Application for the Decree Nisi will have to be made with accompanying documents which will be perused by the Court. If the Respondent does not contest the divorce, this means it is undefended and the Judge is then charged with the duty of reading through the documents to see if the Petitioner has proved their case, and if this is found to be the case, then a Decree Nisi will be granted.
The final stage to a divorce is the granting of a Decree Absolute. There is a waiting period of at least 6 weeks after the Decree Nisi has been granted before the Decree Absolute can be applied for. The granting of the Decree Absolute is the final nail in the coffin of the marriage. The marriage is thus dissolved.