Some liabilities and rights arising from acting as guarantors.

Dear Sirs: A while ago my daughter and her boyfriend (who have no income or assets of their own) requested and signed a credit contract at a bank for their new beauty salon. His parents and my wife and I agreed to be the guarantors for this credit contract. As my daughter and her boyfriend are not now making any repayments, the bank has sent a registered letter (burofax) to my wife and me claiming for the debt. We have decided to pay in order to avoid accrued interest, court costs, expenses and legal fees etc, but the other two guarantors refuse to pay. Would it be possible for us to pay the bank and then make a claim to the parents of our daughter’s boyfriend?

Dear reader,

Thank you for your email. It is difficult to advise you without seeing the actual signed credit contract but in general we can state the following:

Firstly, it is always unwise to sign a document without receiving legal advice or without asking the Notary to explain the legal consequences involved.

Secondly, in guarantee agreements such as this it is usual that the main debtors will be your daughter and her boyfriend; and you and your wife, and the parents of your daughter’s boyfriend would sign JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY as SURETY GUARANTORS (fiadores solidarios) which means that the four of you (as a group) and also each one of you (as an individual) are responsible for the total amount of the debt, just as if you were the principal debtors.

You should send a registered letter to every party telling them that the bank has demanded payment and that you and your wife have made the decision to pay in order to avoid accrued interest, court costs, expenses and legal fees, etc.

In regards to the main debtors (i.e. your daughter and her boyfriend) in our opinion you will be able to claim against them for any payments you make to the bank, under article 1838 of the Spanish Civil Code.

Regarding the parents of your daughter’s boyfriend, in a similar way to yourselves they are likely to be joint and several co-surety guarantors, so we must take into consideration articles 1844 to 1846 of the Spanish Civil Code, which state that since all of you are guarantors of the same debtor(s) and for the same debt you will be able to claim against the other co-guarantors for their portion of the debt paid by you to the bank.

For you to be able to progress this matter, the Spanish Civil Code states that your payment to the creditor (in this case the bank) should be done as a consequence of a court claim received by you or when the main debtor is bankrupt. Fortunately this requirement has now been mitigated and relaxed by the courts, and it is considered enough to receive a registered notice (even if it is not a court claim) from the creditor – since all the parties will benefit from the payment, as it is done in order to avoid further unnecessary expenses, court costs, and legal fees, etc.

Thus if this is indeed the case (we would need to see the actual documents to be sure) you would be able to claim against the main debtors (your daughter and her boyfriend) for all the money that you and your wife pay, as well as against the rest of the co-guarantors (the parents of your daughter’s boyfriend) for their share of the debt.

The information provided on this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues.

White & Baos
Tel: 966 426 185
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