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Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker

RE/MAX West Realty Inc.,
Independently owned and operated

96 Rexdale Blvd. 
Toronto, Ontario 

Phone: 416-745-2300

Cell: 647-404-8150 
Toll Free: 1-888-507-0817

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Who Signs for the Partnership?

June 10, 2013 - Updated: July 26, 2016


Assume three individuals own a property and they happen to be business partners, who should sign the listing?


This could be a “trick” question.


The “trick” in this particular question was contained in the first sentence. Was this actually partnership property, or just property owned by three business partners, but held as tenants-in-common?


If the title is A, B, C as tenants-in-common, then all 3 sign. The partnership issue is a misnomer and not relevant.


If the title is ABC as partners, or title is in the name of the partnership, then one signature is all that is required.


So, this question could be answered as either 3 or 1, depending upon the assumption.


It is however important to know that the signature of one partner is sufficient to bind the partnership. Otherwise, you could have had a lot of people signing. I suppose for those partnerships comprised of 3 people, the two additional signatures would be no big deal; UNNECCESSARY, but no big deal.


On the assumption that we are talking about partnership property, then 1 person alone signs the Listing, the Offer and the Transfer.


A real estate agent need not examine the partnership agreement itself, nor should the agent question the authority of the individual partner who purports to execute documents on behalf of the partnership.


So, let’s review the initial assumptions by way of an example.


Robert Smith, William Jones and Jenny Ross decide to form a real estate brokerage in the form of a partnership.


They rent some office space and now due to their combined success need to move to larger premises. Who signs?


They took title as “Robert Smith, William Jones and Jenny Ross”. Nothing more said. This is not partnership property even though the 3 are indeed partners in a business. This is tenants-in common.


If the title were taken as “Smith, Jones & Ross”, the name of the partnership, or even “Robert Smith, William Jones and Jenny Ross as partners” or as “partnership property”, then we have the partnership as the owner.


So, all the principles stay intact. One party, one signature, three parties three signatures. The partnership is a single party. You just need to make sure that you can recognize that.


Remember at the outset, we had the issue of three parties as individuals or one partnership property. There are two distinct answers here depending upon your assumptions.


Let’s also consider two quick examples:


Sublet 1,200 sf of office space


In this case, ABC Partners LLP are a 500 lawyer law firm in downtown Toronto. They just took over a small two lawyer law firm and those lawyers have moved into their 50,000 sf of space.


The “old” office is excess space and there’s two years left on the lease. You are asked to list the space.


Mr. Robert Smith is a Senior Partner of the firm. He is also the Managing Partner. He calls you to take the listing.


Will you have him sign on behalf of the Partnership? Or, will you insist that the other Partners sign as well?


Robert Smith then tells you that there are 120 Senior Partners and 240 Junior Partners. And, by the way they are situate in their 10 offices across Canada.


So, one signature or 360?


Expropriation 10 feet for Utility Easement


The next question involves a commercial REIT. A strip of land 10 feet in width worth about $25,000.00 is being expropriated by a utility.


Mr. Robert Shaw asks you to handle the transaction on his behalf. He tells you that the property is owned by a commercial REIT which is organized as a partnership. He is signing officer of the General Partner. There are 7,175 other participating partners.


So, one signature or 7,176?




Before photocopying 7,176 drivers’ licences and travelling across Canada for a 1,200 sf sublet, it might be wise to have a look at the laws related to partnerships.


One partner can bind the others. So, go with that and forget all the rest of those signatures!


On the other hand, that might be a great way to meet people.


Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker

Tagged with: partnerships property law signing authority binding agreement enforceable other partners
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Brian Madigan LL.B. Broker

RE/MAX West Realty Inc. Brokerage

Independently owned and operated

96 Rexdale Blvd. , Toronto Ontario,

Phone: 416-745-2300

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