MESSAGE TO ALL SPANISH LAWYERS

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This topic contains 36 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Anonymous Anonymous 10 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #51526
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    HELLO PLEASE FOLLOW NEW RULES, I THE SPANISH LAWYER WILL WORK FOR MY CLIENT, I WILL NOT LET THEM SIGN OR HAND OUER ANY MONIES UNTILL I HAVE DONE MY HOMEWORK, I THE SPANISH LAWYER WILL ADVISE MY CLIENT THAT I HAVE CHECK THE PROPERTY HOLDS FIRST OCCUPATION LICENSE, 😆 😆 HOW THE HELL CAN A LAWYER GET THE CLIENT TO HAND OUER MONIES WITH NO LICENSES, HELLO GUYS GO BACK TO COLLAGE TO LEARN HOW TO ACT FOR YOUR CLIENT, 😈 😈

  • #60717
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    I’d like to make something clear.

    The vast majority of lawyers in Spain are hard working, decent professionals who do their best for their clients and take pride in what they do. They are certainly no worse than lawyers in the UK, the US, or anywhere else.

    But like anywhere, there is also a minority of lawyers who fail to protect their clients’ interests, for one reason or another.

    Why is it then that so many foreign buyers end up dealing with this tiny minority of unreliable lawyers?

    Simple. Because foreigners tend to use the lawyers recommended to them by the property companies they buy from. That is where the real problem lies.

    Some of the most successful foreign-run estate agents in Spain are also amongst the most aggressive, unscrupulous, and unprofessional sales organisations on the planet. Instinctively these companies only recommend lawyers who serve their own interests. For years these agents have been channelling thousands of foreign buyers to the least deserving lawyers in Spain. Which means that, as a group, foreign buyers have a completely unrepresentative experience of lawyers in Spain.

    Never ask an estate agent to introduce you to a lawyer. Make an effort to find a recommended lawyer from independent sources and you are unlikely to have any cause for complaint.

    Mark

  • #60718
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    I suspect there is a second reason, Mark.

    That is the difficulty of making any complaint or even getting information about how to make a complaint for English speakers. This gives the poor solicitors you mention dealing with English speakers a sense of protection and leads to I suspect more abuses. I know there are problems in the uk, but it is hard to believe that what has happened to the handling of my sick mother’s property in Spain could ever happen in the uk.

    In an area like Alicante where many,many solicitors advertise their services to English speakers surely it is strange that the local law society does not answer enquiries in English or give information in English?

  • #60721
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    Yes im sorry to say that it odd what mark says, Saying they are no worse than lawyers in the uk,People in the uk are not been screwed by uk lawyers,and people from other countrys are not been screwed by uk lawyers, How many people on this site have had problems with spanish lawyers and on other sites, and how many go unrecored, And it is not just the uk people been ripped of how many other people in other countrys buying in spain are conned, I think this is a very big problem mark

  • #60723
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    Mark is 90% correct in what he says. But even the smaller independent lawyers are catching onto the theory that there is money to be made from “distressed” Brits.(as we are referred to). We have just been “dumped” by our second lawyer as we apparently appeared to have lack of confidence and doubt of her professionalism! This came about for two reasons.

    1. We would not pay 485euros into another lawyers private bank account, who was just about to go on maternity leave. We had an email stating that there would be no further work done for us until they received this money.! We sent a cheque payable to the company account. This somewhat annoyed her.

    2. My husband questioned her accounting. She had “forgotten” 300euros that we had given in cash on our last visit in October, for which we had a reciept.

    At this time she also asked for 600 Euros to obtain a Requerimiento Notarial. Drakan said this was very excessive.

    Yesterday we telephoned a friend in Spain to ask if he could go to the office to collect our file . He then told us that the lawyer in question had grossly overcharged them for a small document they needed for their appartments. Her bill was 1200 euros when it should have been more like 200euros. The Spanish guy who confronted her on this had his file thrown at him!!

    So we have now had to go to a third lawyer. Maybe third time lucky!! 😕

    We orginallymade the grave error of using a lawyer, a big one in Marbella overlooking the Marina, recommended by O**** Estates. I was looking at their (OE) website yesterday and came accross this in their “Buyers Guide -Spain:

    Formalising the offer – reservation deposit

    Once there is a verbal agreement between parties, the next step will be to formalise the terms of the offer in writing. It is normal practice in Spain to include with the offer a reservation deposit until the exchange of private contracts. Paying the reservation deposit guarantees that the property is taken off the market and is reserved for you at the agreed, fixed price. This initial reservation deposit will be held in your appointed lawyer’s client account. This money is protected until the time of completion and is never given directly to any private vendor.

    My question is this. Is a developer not considered in this context, ie. a private vendor.?

  • #60726
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    Sounds horribly familiar, Clare.

    Either we shared a solicitor, or Spain does have a problem with regulation.

  • #60730
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    If you have difficulty in communicating with your Spanish lawyer (even an English speaking one) – you can always take along an interpreter! They don’t cost that much – it could even be a resident Spanish speaking Brit – there are many of them!!

    Better still learn some of the language – knowing a bit of Spanish does help to underpin the relationship between you and your legal eagle.

    I agree with Mark – there are Spanish lawyers with integrity and good Customer Service. This site and the http://www.devwatch.com site can provide you with details of such individuals – I speak from experience of the good and the bad in the Spanish legal system!

  • #60731
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    OliverB, It would take MANY years of learning Spanish to be able to communicate with a lawyer if one has a “difficult” case, such as the one we have. Legal terminology can be difficult to interpret at the best of times, without it being in Spanish!

  • #60732
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    Well. I speak fluent spanish and I have yet to find a lawyer I could recommend. Do you think they are going to fight your case any harder or charge you less on the basis of speaking spanish? Having a uk passport seems to set the charges. Katy

  • #60733
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    In retospect learning Spanish and sitting the Spanish bar would have saved Mum money and me time.

    But that would have seemed laughable in 1998 when all I wanted to do was sell mums 95 k property in Spain for her, having no other Spanish connection.

    But it is a disgrace that something as simple as having an English Power of attorney recognised in Spain should have taken so long, granted that my English family lawyer contributed.

  • #60737
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    @OliverB wrote:

    If you have difficulty in communicating with your Spanish lawyer (even an English speaking one) – you can always take along an interpreter! They don’t cost that much – it could even be a resident Spanish speaking Brit – there are many of them!!

    I’m a resident Spanish speaking Brit – but I refuse to translate for lawyers. It’s just too important, and if I make an error the client is unprotected as I’m not an official translator.

  • #60739
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    Exactly the point I was making Bert. 🙂

  • #60760
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    Mark hit’s the nail right on the head, the problem is caused by buyers using the lawyers recommended by the estate agents, we all trusted the advice of the agents, ‘big mistake’. They are in bed with each other and kick-backs are involved too.

  • #60774
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    While not disagreeing with Mark’s opinion, I have managed to find several lawyers who have acted in their own interests and not mine without any assistance from an estate agent! Claire seems to have accomplished the same task with equal ease.

    Throughout almost 30 years of buying and selling residential and commercial property in the UK and in Florida I have never come across a lawyer, solicitor or conveyancer who has acted contrary to my interests. With my short experience in Spain I could probably name ten lawyers, off the top of my head, who’s behaviour lacks integrity.

    Surely how you find your lawyer is beside the point – the very fact that there is such a huge pool of corrupt lawyers for the estate agents to draw on must say something about the regulation of the profession.

    These lawyers are bringing the reputation of their profession into disrepute on quite a large scale and it seems to me that it should be in the interest both of reputable lawyers and the Spanish law society to find some effective way of bringing this problem under control.

  • #60775
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    Very well said, Tilly.
    Below is a question that I put to Devwatch about the licence of First Habitation. The reply left me wondering if there really is any law and order in Spain in the property market. 😕

    Quote:
    How can you sell a property without a license of first habitation, or come to that with out any sort of license? Are things that corrupt in Spain?

    Under Spanish law, there’s nothing that prevents anyone from transferring property without the First Habitation license. When you sign the deeds, the Notary does not make any checks to determine if the property has license or not. You can even register it at the Land Registry. However, problems start to arise when you try to arrange the contracts for water and electricity supply. These companies will not service you until they see this license.

    The case of Banana Beach is a bit different, as it had it’s license suspended after the works had been finished and people where already living in the property 😯

  • #60776
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    The lawyers are just as greedy as the developers, jam today, bread tomorrow, no ethics whatsoever.

  • #60777
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    Bit like the Brit speculators really!!

  • #60778
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    Under Spanish law, there’s nothing that prevents anyone from transferring property without the First Habitation license. When you sign the deeds, the Notary does not make any checks to determine if the property has license or not. You can even register it at the Land Registry. However, problems start to arise when you try to arrange the contracts for water and electricity supply. These companies will not service you until they see this license.

    I’m afraid I disagree… of course under Spanish Law you can sell/buy a property with no ‘cédula de habitabilidad’, even without ‘certificado de final de obra’ , off plan properties, unfinished buildings… everything….

    Everything ‘within commerce’ can be sold and bought, here and everywhere. It’s not a question of Law nor Notarios nor even the Land Registry… Is a question of being aware of what exactly you are buying, being aware of your rights, looking for and finding good and independent good advice and counsel when buying anything and if, unfortunately, you are fooled or cheated, as you can be everywhere, to report, to bring charges, to fight for your rights and go to court. The Law in Spain protects consumers, use it!!!!

    Finally, about the main subjet of this post…. we all Spanish lawyers are crooks???? every US or UK lawyer is always a Saint???? please, allow me just a little smile…

  • #60779
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    ‘Is a question of being aware of what exactly you are buying, being aware of your rights, ‘

    I thought that was the purpose of hiring a lawyer

    ‘Finally, about the main subjet of this post…. we all Spanish lawyers are crooks???? every US or UK lawyer is always a Saint???? please, allow me just a little smile…’

    There are crooked Uk and US lawyers- it is just a little easier( not a lot, but enough to discourage flagrant abuse) to complain about them.
    I am glad to hear the law protects user in Spain, because up to now the only advice I have got from this forum on making a complaint in Spain was from Claire who put me in touch with the british Consul who said I need to have even my query about how to make a complaint in Spain translated into Catalan before the law society will answer it. That’s hadly encouraging thru I’m trying –

    I do think that if you ignore the crooks in your midst they will eventually tar your reputation and business, especially when law is your business.- it’s life

    and, visitor I am very sorry to hear that there ae british speculators behaving unethically- I hope the Spanish law can deal with them- but I don’t think the behaviour of speculators justifies poor or unethical legal services to britons or any other foreigners thru it may damage our reputations.

    I think we must believe that all nationalities are deserving of an ethical legal service, even if they are in another country and struggling with the language-

  • #60780
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    Cesar,
    both yourself & Drakan give good sound advice on this forum and no, you do not fall under the category of “crooked” lawyers as far as I can tell. 🙂 I add that last bit because as far as we could tell our last lawyer was “straight”. I’m not going to say they are crooked because I don’t think they are compared to the “big boy” we had in Marbella, who still holds €7,000 of our money. The last lawyer had a bad “book keeping” practice!

    My issue with the Spanish legal system is that you have to pay a vast amount of money, usually ALL upfront to even get another lawyer, that you hope will not “rip you off”, to take the case to court and that takes YEARS!! Meanwhile some developer has got a big sum of OUR money.

    For a start, our own personal scenario could NEVER EVER happen under UK law. IF it did one phone call and/or letter to the law society would have a very swift response. That law company would be under investigation and/or suspended until a full inquiry took place. In the csse of a new build,the builder would take a very small holding deposit, say £1000 on a £500,000 property, with a 5 or 10% payment on exchange of contracts (held by the solicitor)and the rest payable on completion. I can never envisage a developer selling or building property without ALL of the legal requirements in place. Not a brick could be laid without the correct planning procedures in place. What can & does happen here is that people who already have a house, put on extensions or make alterations to plans after they have been approved by the council, but these are usually ordered to be demolished.

    Ther are too many loopholes in the legal system in Spain. You say there is consumer protection in Spain but it is not very pro active for foreigners . Serious complaints like several of us on this forum have, should be dealt with immediately, investigated and the appropriate action taken. That does not appear to be happening, becuse I think at the end of the day, the law is to lax to enforce many of the wrongs that are done. Many of these developers are “in bed” with these unscrupulous lawyers and these lawyers know just how close to the wind they can sail.

    In the case of our development, the developers have taken €6,000,000 in deposits and have kept it for 2 1/2 years, to date. In the UK any money paid to a lawyer is held in a lawyers client account until exchange/ completion.(we were told by our initial lawyers that this would be done with our €120,000!) We, the purchasers can even ask for the interest on that money to be paid back to us!

    It is so difficult to find a good lawyer in Spain. 😥

    This smile is just for you Cesar……. 🙂

  • #60781
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    @Visitor wrote:

    Bit like the Brit speculators really!!

    Visitor, there is no law against property speculation! IMO, there should be a limit on the number of properties any one person/company can own. It is mainly first time buyers who are most affected by speculators.

  • #60794
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    Hi Cesar,

    Of course the majority of Spanish lawyers must be honest – and you and the other lawyers who answer questions free on this site are appreciated more than I can possibly say. I do not know what some of us would do without the valuable information we gain from you and others who post on here.

    I think that in the UK and USA there is more regulation of the system for buying and selling houses that makes the sort of problems we Brits have in Spain far less likely to happen. The costs of conveyancing is also very much cheaper than in Spain. I think many of us at one time thought that the Notary was there to ensure that everything was done properly and legally but now we know that actually he is just there ….. well what is he there for exactly?

    I’m not for one minute suggesting that all Spanish lawyers are dishonest but I still maintain that there are way, way too many that behave in a manner that shames the profession.

    I agree with Brambled that in areas where developers are actively targeting the British market that there should be a more accessible complaints procedure for English speaking purchasers.

  • #60796
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    Lawyers in spain aren’t alwaysdishonest, maybe lazy and incompetent. Many of the big law firms use graduates straight out of university.

  • #60807
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    @mark wrote:

    I’d like to make something clear.

    The vast majority of lawyers in Spain are hard working, decent professionals who do their best for their clients Mark

    I have bought two properties in Spain in the last 5 years, imported 3 vehicles, and become a resident.

    For all but one vehicle, I have used Pierre in Almunecar, Granada, and had no problems. You might have to ‘keep on top of him’, to get things done, but in my opinion, he is as honest as the day is long, and, he speaks and makes his contracts in English as well as Spanish, not bad for a Belgian!. 😀 😀 😀

  • #60844
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    It’s interesting , guest ,that the lawyer you mention is Belgian.

    The Belgian lawyers I have used have ranged from very competent to paragons.

    I ran a business here in Belgium for some years but Belgian red tape can be a bit nightmarish, the dividing line between when I charged VAT and when I didnt, when I gave an employment contract and when I dont very unclear, and if you get it wrong it can be ruinous.

    The lawyers I saw were clear , competent, reassuring recommended minimum action, when they could have recommended a little more work, just to be on the safe side -and to top it all undercharged.
    They were very regulated until the free competion laws came in and I wonder if that had anything to do with it, or maybe I was just lucky –

    If so,my luck ran out in Spain.

  • #61096
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    The problems that people buying in Spain face is very simple…the more troubles with solicitors happened at the “fast-snatching” times of the booming property market…most likely lawyers took more cases that they could handle thoroughly and properly…as real estate agents, promoters, notaries and so and so they knew that those years would pass and the more they made the better…as anybody else they put their own profit over others benefit….many of those in this debate would do the same….but you are the screwed ones now! Mark is right the problem is rely 100% in etc.they don´t bother to give a bad name to the country as far as they make their money and then conmute somewhere else…Cypruss, Bulgaria, Letonia or wherever.
    If you want a holiday house or a good investment buy in Blackpool or London. as symple as that…I would never venture to buy in Congo no matter how atractive prices and markets are…because I dont know the country…many people venture themselves to buy here without having a sound knowledge of the country. The problem is yours.

  • #61101
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    @darega wrote:

    If you want a holiday house or a good investment buy in Blackpool or London. as symple as that…I would never venture to buy in Congo no matter how atractive prices and markets are…because I dont know the country…many people venture themselves to buy here without having a sound knowledge of the country. The problem is yours.

    I think you have missed the point, darega.
    Many of us have a very sound knowledge of Spain, what we didn’t have unfortuantely was the knowledge of the corruption that existed 🙄
    We now do.

    (I hear the Congo can be nice at this time of year…….. and to my knowledge there are no crooked Spanish developers there……
    could be a goer ??? 😆

  • #61102
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    Visitor, why do you put the blame on to Brit. speculators without a mention of the agents on huge commissions who fuelled the property boom in the 1st place, often creating the ‘new’ speculators who saw their sales pitch (even misleading) as another form of investment?

    As Claire says, there’s nothing wrong with investing or some speculation based on ‘honest’ informed advice, something that has been lacking by some agents and lawyers in Spain for years.

  • #61103
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    Paul, I think you mean Sofia! I read the post from darega before Mark snipped it 😉 and thought it was verbal garbage.

  • #61107
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    Mark is completly wrong and must have some hidden agenda. Lawyers in Spain cannot be compared to those in the UK. In my experience Spanish lawyers are inefficient, deliberately take advantage of non Spanish clients by complicating every issue also overcharging when possible.
    This website is full of horror stories regarding rogue lawyers, and these are not just the ones recommended by dodgy estate agents, does anybody believe this level of corruption occures in the UK, I think not.

  • #61113
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    I would think that the level of corruption by Lawyers in the UK is less than 0.01% . We are not used to this level of corruption in the UK. That is why we “trust” the lawyers in Spain! Foolishly. 🙁

  • #61144
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    Sorry Claire, I meant Sofia, however I notice Visitor didn’t answer my point, being ‘snipped’ is happening more often now it seems, so it must be for legal reasons or pressure from someone!!!

  • #61189
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    As a practicing estate agent in Spain I confirm that it is vitally important for every property buyer to be represented by a lawyer before any papers are signed. I also agree that every buyer should choose his or her own lawyer – rather than accept a recommendation made by an estate agent or developer.

    However, I have frequently recommended lawyers to would-be buyers and I expect to continue to do so in the future. The reason is simple.

    Most of our British buyers visit our area, tour properties with local agents, and then – a day or two before returning to the UK – make an offer. Rarely, do we find a buyer who has already selected a lawyer.

    As agents we are then left with a decision. Do we process the offer and subsequent sale without a lawyer representing the buyer, or do we insist that the buyer has a lawyer.

    In our firm, we strongly recommend that all buyers have a lawyer. However, we cannot simply cross our arms and tell a buyer that finding a competent English-speaking lawyer in the next 24 hours is a task he will have to handle by himself. No, we take it on ourselves to recommend several local lawyers. We never pressure buyers into accepting our recommendations – although most do.

    Yes, we accept that there is a possible conflict of interest because a lawyer may be wary about recommending a buyer to pull out of a sale if the selling agent is referring regular business to the lawyer. However, I believe that the quality of the lawyers we recommend is a refection of our own integrity.

    Ideally, the local association of lawyers should be able to handle requests for lists of experienced English-speaking lawyers from English-speaking callers or visitors. But this service is not available.

    This question of who recommends who is not limited to Spain. Before moving to Valencia sixteen years ago, I was an estate agent in London’s West End and foreign buyers frequently asked me to recommend solicitors and surveyors.

  • #61190
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    Rawlins wrote
    , I was an estate agent in London’s West End and foreign buyers frequently asked me to recommend solicitors and surveyors.

    Please read my post above refering to the Uk lawyers!!!

  • #61200
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    Rawlins is right – I am also often forced to recommend lawyers even though I also recommend clients ignore my recommendations and choose their own legal rep.

    Does that make any sense?

    If you’re taking recommendations from a small agent you’ll probably be okay – they’re unlikely to pass the lawyer enough business for him to risk not doing the right thing by his clients. Also, try to choose lawyers who don’t “specialise” in property – as they’re less likely to worry about upsetting local developers and agents.

  • #61201
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    I received a brochure the other day from an agent (water clue), many of whom’s staff were from OE, and, at last they publicly state that they would NOT recommend investing off-plan, it’s too risky, and, they also recommend choosing an independent lawyer. Eureka, it’s now in black and white, so beware any agent who says otherwise, pity OE don’t do the same with their brochures!

  • #61585
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    I think this thread should be required reading for new visitors to the site who may be thinking of purchasing off-plan in Spain. Can it be pinned?

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