Off-plan payment reclaims: Don’t give up if you can’t remember the name of your developer’s bank

spanish legal reclaims

If you lost money to a bankrupt developer in the last boom and want to get your money bank you’ll need to know the name of the developer’s bank. Legal advisors Spanish Legal Reclaims (SLR) may be able to help you even if you can’t remember the bank’s name.

Many foreign investors lost huge amounts of money investing off-plan in Spain during the boom years of 2000 to 2008, as the bust wiped out many developers before they could deliver homes paid for off-plan. Bank guarantees by and large turned out to be worthless, so investors were left with nothing to show for their payments of tens of thousands of Euro. Many investors turned their backs on Spain in disgust.

But from December 2015 onwards, in the light of a Spanish Supreme Court ruling, it became possible for investors to claim back lost deposits, with legal interest, from the banks that accepted stage payments on behalf of developers. All of a sudden tens of thousands of investors had a good chance of getting their money back, even though their developers had long since gone out of business.

There’s only one catch. In order to make a claim you have to know (or at least remember) the name of the developer’s bank, and many foreign investors don’t have this information. “It was common during the boom years for foreign investors to make stage payments through lawyers they have long ago lost touch with, so they don’t have a paper trail for their payments,” explains Luis Cuervo, head of SLR, a legal advisory firm specialising in recovering off-plan payments for clients in Spain. ““We have found that 93% of our British clients never knew or have forgotten the name of their developer’s bank, and you have to know what the bank was called to make a claim against it.”

When it comes to making a claim, you have to be sure about the bank, otherwise you face getting saddled with court costs for making an unsuccessful claim against the wrong bank. It goes without saying that you lose your case if you claim against the wrong bank.

The fact that many off-plan investors never knew or have forgotten the name of their developer’s bank is proving to be a big stumbling block for off-plan deposit reclaims. In many cases they are finding that their former lawyers are not much help, if they can be tracked down. Some lawyers were too close to estate agents and developers, and would rather not be reminded about the whole business to avoid uncomfortable questions.

Fortunately, SLR have found a way to identify the correct bank in the vast majority of cases, so all is not lost for those who can’t remember the name of their developer’s bank. “We specialise in off-plan deposit reclaims, and this specialisation has allowed us to develop a unique solution to the problem of identifying the right bank,” explains Cuervo. “We can identify the right bank for 85% (increasing every day) of clients who come to us, and then pursue claims for them. Obviously, we don’t pursue claims if we’re not sure about the bank, which is the case in just 15 % of cases. This success ratio is just not possible unless you specialise like we do.”

So, if you lost your off-plan payments during the boom and never tried to get your money back in court, now is your chance. And if you gave up trying to reclaim your money because you couldn’t remember your developer’s bank, all is not lost. Contact SLR as there is a good chance they will be able to help you get your money back.

How do I go about claiming?

Fill in the form below to contact Spanish Legal Reclaims and start the process of reclaiming your money.

Article sponsored by Spanish Legal Reclaims

About Mark Stücklin

Mark Stücklin is a Barcelona-based Spanish property market analyst, and author of the 'Spanish Property Doctor' column in the Sunday Times (2005 - 2008). He can be reached by email on ms@spanishpropertyinsight.com. All articles published in good faith as a general guide but no substitute for professional advice. Please read the SPI disclaimer

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