Clearly your story is distressing and I hope you don’t mind me offering my opinion and maybe some ideas.
The word ‘luxury’ is very much over used in Spain and the show flats and artist impressions are of course always meant to impress the potential buyer. I have to say it is the same in the UK something I have first hand experience of, i.e. the builders of our home in the UK, not delivering the quality of product sold to us off plan (very large building firm by the way.) I don’t believe it to be your fault just because you bought off plan, but if expectations are high often there is always something to disappoint. The disappointment soon goes away once you’re in and settled, hopefully soon in your case.
The builders should have done a builders clean for you, but again my experience that this is no more than ‘taking the thick up’ and we paid a cleaning company for a full builders clean (both in the UK and Spain)
As for snagging, my advice would be to review your snagging list and take out all of the small ‘non important’ items telling the promoter that you will deal with these yourself. This should leave the ‘major, not-fit-for-purpose problems’ , by doing this you can stop the promoter from saying we ‘we have done most of the items on your list, whats your problem’ and I assume these ‘major, not-fit-for-purpose problems’ are things that you would not want to tackle or pay for. Hopefully then your solicitor can apply real pressure to get these done. I believe there is a legal way of getting these things done very quickly and cheaply (on your part legally.) I do not speak Spanish but I’m told this is the law in Spain and it is outlined here http://www.lexureditorial.com/leyes/loe8a05.htm
Communities are normally setup by the promoter to get owners in to the apartments, I believe that water and electricity can not be connected without the community coming in to being. Our community was setup the same way. Clearly this will change once you have more real owners involved, and it maybe an idea to ask if you can be on the committee of owners now. I agree the budget for the gardens does seem high, our gardens are huge and there are 224 apartments, our budget for this year is €126,000 (including maintenance of 3 pools). You are of course entitled to see the quotes or tenders for the contract to service your gardens and I would ask the President (the Promoter no doubt) to see them, just to make sure you are getting value for money. I would also ask the President to explain the maintenance workers costs as I agree with you this should not be needed at the moment. You will need one at some time in the future and again we (224 apartment and a large gated community) only have one handyman (budget €30,000 including materials) who is kept busy but not pulled out with work. The swimming pools do need a life guard, most communities only pay for a life guard during the busy summer periods, in our case 15 June to 15 Sept we have two and the total cost is €20,100. We get our life guards to make sure community rules are upheld around the pools during this period which goes someway to keeping the peace when someone tries to reserve sunbeds with towels etc.
All of the service should kick in soon, including rubbish collection mail delivery etc and you should lobby your administrator/president to get these things sorted as quickly as possible.
Stick with it allyson I am sure it will get better and next year you’ll look back (through the haze of a couple of glasses of cava) and hopefully laugh. I know a number of resident owners in our community (only 3 years old) who, after initial doubts, would not go back to the UK for anything.
If i can be of any further help (remember my only qualifications is being a member of a committee for a community of owners) please don’t hesitate to ask.
It will get better and Spain is a great place to be.