June 22, 2006 at 4:42 pm #51929
We are being put into a difficult situation where my heart is saying one thing and my brain another. We bought off plan at La reserva de Marbella 3yrs ago. Now one year late appartment is finished but no habitation license in place. The water and electricity we are told is conected and set up with the relavant companies. With the mess marbella government is in we are told it could be a year before the license is granted but no certainity of anything. what should we do. Obviously without the paper work we would have a problem selling the appartment. HELP
June 22, 2006 at 5:33 pm #63007
lots of us in the same boat on various site’s, the advice from the experts is don’t complete without habitatation, otherwise you are asking for trouble.
June 22, 2006 at 5:49 pm #63008
As you will no doubt conclude from reading the letters on this forum many are in the same situation as yourselves.
As I understand it before the explosion of buildings this route was quite *normal* in Spain but my information is until the premier habitation licence NO utilities can be connected other than those supplied by the builders. Which if/when they refuse to pay the bills are terminated. You will have no power to reconnect until you are legalised
Someone more knowledgeable will correct me if I am wrong.
To proceed or not …well….depends on many personal issues.
Until someone can halt the numerous developers exhibitions and save others possible heartache this familiar tale will go on and on…..
June 22, 2006 at 6:08 pm #63010
Sit tight and do not complete – unless you are prepared to live without water and electricity and happy not to sell for several years.
June 23, 2006 at 7:21 am #63019
we are not going to complete because of no habitation licence, and many other problems with the site (waited 4 years to be built and apartment is over 20% smaller than contract size) we learned wednesday from another posting that there is a problem with a polluted local stream, that the developers are not interested in fixing, and untill they do , the local council wont even consider giving the development a licence and has not even inspected the rest of the site.
How long will that take to resolve?
Despite that, because our contract says nothing about having to have a habitation licence, and the builders, we now know, never provided a bank guarantee, our lawyer (agent recommended) is saying, unless we complete, we will lose our £30,000 deposit.
Not much of a choice is it?
June 23, 2006 at 10:11 am #63025
PLEASE instruct another lawyer .Preferably one in another town
June 23, 2006 at 10:44 am #63026
I agree with Melosine. Get a good, independent lawyer before doing anything. You probably have more options than you believe.
June 23, 2006 at 11:24 am #63027
Hi Jim – am sure any lawyers (like Drakan) out there who regularly contribute to this forum will correct me if I am wrong but BY LAW your developer should have issued you with a Bank Guarantee and by not doing so is in VERY big trouble if this is reported.
Your lawyer (like our original lawyer) has also been very derelict in his duty to you as his client, in not obtaining one (can be reported to the ‘lawyers association’ in Spain: Collegio de Abogados – usuallly this threat makes them pull up their socks and ACT – in your case, by contacting the developer and demanding a Bank Guarantee for you – even at this last stage).
This Bank Guarantee guarantees repayment of your monies if things go wrong – ie late completion, problems with non-issue of LFO (Licence of First Occupation – sometimes known as Habitation Licence), developer goes bankrupt etc.
Insist your lawyer obtains this Bank Guarantee NOW, and in the meantime I suggest you send a PM to Mark, the Administrator of this forum, who has a list of good independent lawyers to recommend so you can get a good new lawyer who can look after your interests from here on. It sounds like, with all these problems, you are going to need one.
Wishing you Good Luck.
June 23, 2006 at 11:31 am #63030
Apologies – addressed my posting to the wrong person!
It was supposed to be to goodstich44 – it sounds to me that the advice by your lawyer to complete or lose your money is such a wrong scenario –
NO-ONE is obliged by law to complete without a LFO in place, and instead of him wasting his time telling you this nonsense, he should be spending his time obtaining a Bank Guarantee for you.
To me he seems totally in league with the developer (possibly gets lots of work from them by their recommendations? Would love to know if they recommended this lawyer……).
June 23, 2006 at 11:53 am #63032
i think you are right, when i contacted my lawyer, saying why hadn’t we got a bank guarantee in the contract , and why hadn’t this mistake been sorted out?, his answer was, word for word,
‘ aifos is not accepting any claim and not any reduction on price. Of course they do not want to change the private contract that you have signed. What they did in the past it was not a mistake. They did this on purpose. They knew that to oblige someone to sign the title deed once the certificate of ending works will be signed by the architect it is not correct. They know they should have the First Habitation Licence, in order to request you the signature of the Title Deed.
I don’t quite get this, there seems to be an admission from our lawyer that aifos are in the wrong, but no advice on what to do about it, or why our contract hadn’t been amended with a bank guarantee? or if and how we are not going to complete, without losing our £30,000 deposit and our apartment?
June 23, 2006 at 12:45 pm #63033
I agree with Charlie. You don;t have to complete without the LFO, in fact you’re not supposed to, because without the LFO the council hasn’t approved the development is yet fit for occupation.
By the way David, my article has just come out in English Sur about my situ. I haven’t got a copy yet, I didnt think they would print it, being heavy with property advertising. Hopefully it gets the bandwagon rolling.
June 23, 2006 at 1:00 pm #63035
Well done Carla! 😀
June 23, 2006 at 1:51 pm #63036
yes well done, i feel the growing tide of people who are fed up of being ripped off, due to lies, lies, and more lies, will hopefully start to make a differance to the way these low life operate.
June 23, 2006 at 1:59 pm #63039
Thank you guys. Ok I managed to find the article online:
June 23, 2006 at 6:37 pm #63042
Excellent, well written article Carla – hope it gets picked by by some of the other newspapers.
June 23, 2006 at 8:17 pm #63044
Thank you Tilly 😀 I think rotten ‘issues’ can stun people enough without having to mention names. People will ask me later in person and I will certainly name the perpetrators. Plus when I reply to questions I will make sure I send many people in to this forum here to just look at the overall mess aside from my own!
I must apologise to Jim for overtaking his post with this news, it only just occured to me now, that I should have put this in my own topic. But hey Jim, look at what I have to go through, and that should be the unavoidable answer to your original question!
June 25, 2006 at 8:06 pm #63080
has anyone had experience of suing a developer and getting anywhere it seems we have no option
June 25, 2006 at 9:54 pm #63081
Hi Jim – Have just returned from Marbella tonight after seeing La Reserva. I bought in block 7 2003. There is no LEGAL habitation licence so any other following licences some lawyers say are in place are worthless. The water/electricity in block is TEMPORARY for builders. I was shocked to see the site. The apts are definitely smaller than originally planned, and as well as being built on ‘greenbelt land’ they have crammed in too many dwellings.
I have changed lawyers and am now sueing for £ back.
The swimming pool is not finished and the ‘jacuzzis’ I saw do not work and are broken plastic filthy basins that couldn’t even be used as fish ponds. A lot of the whole of the development is very badly neglected. The keys to the apts are in Malaga so you are not even allowed to see what the developer is insisting you complete on. The staff who worked in the site office have been sacked. There are major problems going on there.
Please don’t waste any more emotions on this place, aside from anger. Send me a PM if you want any more info/chat.
June 25, 2006 at 10:17 pm #63082
Jim – forgot to say that if you ‘complete’ on property without the valid licences you’ll have great difficulty in getting insurance for the property, so if there was a fire/burglary etc…… ❗ ❗ ❗ PLEASE tell me you’ve made the right decision. Sorry to sound like your mother but I’ve just come back from there & seeing lawyers/other owners etc., and the pressure being put on people to “complete now or lose your £” is sickening 😡 😡 😡
June 26, 2006 at 7:07 am #63084
i couldn’t agree more, we have a place in miraflores, and although the building sounds better, due to a planning issue, which could take months to resolve at least? and apartments being at least 20% smaller than contract, 1 pool instead of planned two etc, we don’t feel the time is right to complete. To add to this, a fellow buyer’s lawyer got in touch with the planning officer responsible for the habitation licence, and even he said ‘dont complete until the habitation licence is in place’
Against this, we have the developers saying that, in our contract it says nothing about having to have a habitation licence to complete, so if we don’t we will lose our deposit and apartment.
Just to add insult to injury, we have now found out that the developers never provided bank guarantees to anyone buying at miraflores, so as far as i know, that is against the law anyway?
Having said all this due to a 4 year wait and bullying by the developers to complete or lose everything, despite no habitation licence and advice not to complete by the local council, people still are completing???????
What can you say?
June 26, 2006 at 8:44 am #63086
Suzanne, I was interested in your remarks about needing various licences in order to get insurance on the property.
Is this true?
We have never been asked these sort of questions when taking out insurance, but it is an interesting point. Can anybody back up this information?
June 27, 2006 at 9:59 am #63118goodstich44 wrote:…..we have the developers saying that, in our contract it says nothing about having to have a habitation licence to complete, so if we don’t we will lose our deposit and apartment.
It is written in the Spanish law that you are not legally obliged to complete until there is a habitation licence in place.
The fact that your contract does not say anything about you needing a habitation licence in order to complete is TOTALLY irrelevant.
It is the law, your developer has to abide by it, and anything that is written in a contract that is illegal and goes against what is written in the Spanish law is regarded as an ‘illegal clause’.
For example, they can write that you have to hang upside down from a chandelier in a leopardskin leotard – it doesn’t mean you have to do it if it is not the law.
Our developer has tried to make us all complete without this licence – it means you cannot legally register the property in your name, you cannot obtain connection for telephone, water and electricity (and their builder’s supply does not cut it – no protection re. power surges for your equipment etc.) and in the case of an AIFOS development that hoodwinked the purchasers with the ‘carrot’ of builder’s supply until legal connections, eventually the Junta ruled this illegal and made them disconnect (can’t remember which AIFOS development now..).
Most importantly, if the apartment is not legally registered in your name (because of no habitation licence), and your developer has a mortgage from the bank to help fund the development (which nearly all of them do) – in the scenario of your developer going bankrupt you must be aware that the bank comes first in line in the case of calling in the money and can take your apartment.
This is why the law is there – to protect you, and it is insane to hand over completion money without being able to register the property in your name. Would you do it in the U.K.??
As has been said so many times on this forum – backed up by all lawyers who contribute – if there is no habitation licence DO NOT COMPLETE.
You are not legally obliged and tell the developer you know this.
It is the law – and anything else they have to say is codswallop..
Say you know your rights – in reality, they know them full well too – they DARE not go through with the threat of keeping your money/making you lose your flat by not completing without this licence.
Once they know that you know your rights, they will back off with, especially if you threaten to report them to OMIC, as we did.
If you are in the Marbella area, say you have already spoken to Mercedes Bueno at the Marbella’s OMIC office – it will frighten them to death!
She’s a great lady – but has the bite of a tiger 😈 when it comes to developers stepping out of line.
When we told her our (similar) story, she contacted our developer and demanded a meeting with them to explain themselves!
The result? They wrote everyone a letter to say ‘of course’ you don’t need to complete yet until we obtain the habitation licence….’
These developers only bully/frighten purchasers with (illegal) threats if they think you do not know the law.
Now you do! 😉
Good luck – Charlie
June 27, 2006 at 11:57 am #63121
thanks so much for your advice, confirming everything we hoped would be true.
I feel rather let down by our lawyers (recommended by the estate agents in U.K) as despite us pointing out these facts, we got back a rather annoyed sounding e-mail, saying yes, aifos have breached the contract, but aifos will not accept any reduction in price or any claim and as we signed the contract, we are in danger of losing everything if we don’t complete when required, and they are advising clients to complete and claim afterwards. When i got back to them saying it seems crazy to complete at the moment, whatever the contract says, they just explained aifos’s position and then denied advising us to complete! They have not got back to us with advice on what we do now, as we don’t want to complete, and it’s been a week since we e-mailed them, ……..all very strange, we are getting more help from this site than we are our own lawyers? Obviously we suspect all is not what it may seem, and are looking to other lawyers for opinions!
June 27, 2006 at 12:44 pm #63122
Charlie, the developer in my development now says that he has obtained the first occupancy licence by administrative silence. How reliable is this, do you know? Since so many of the the staff in the Marbella town hall are in jail, maybe the backlog is so great that they have not been able to respond to the licence application within the three months. Any ideas would be appreciated. ❓
June 27, 2006 at 1:10 pm #63123
goodstich44 – have sent you a pm.
stina – months ago, we also went through the same thing as you with our developer throwing the ‘Administrative Silence’ rule at us, saying ‘don’t worry, we will get the habitation/occupancy licence automatically through this rule.
We posed the same question on this forum months ago and all the lawyers that contribute (and our dear friend at OMIC) confirmed:
Yes, in the good old days, this Administrative Silence rule applied and was used. If a developer applied for the licence, and didn’t hear anything for 3 months, it was taken as granted.
However, that was then, and this is now.
With all the backlogs going on as you rightly said, and all the scandals, this rule is not valid anymore.
OMIC was very specific – forget the Administrative Silence rule now – no new development will ever obtain the habitation/occupancy licence in this way anymore.
Those days 100% are over, developers know it and are just ‘pulling your bell’ to gain time.
June 27, 2006 at 1:30 pm #63124
stina – forgot to add:
Call your developer’s bluff. Tell him you want to see a copy of the licence 😉
June 27, 2006 at 3:26 pm #63126
Charlie, thanks for that. What would we do without this forum! Dread to think. At least now we have the ammunition thanks to all useful and helpful information we get here. 🙂
June 27, 2006 at 7:41 pm #63136
If the water and electricity suppliers will connect in your name and accepts the first occupancy licence under administrative silence, do you think then that it is safe to complete? 🙄
June 27, 2006 at 8:07 pm #63139
June 28, 2006 at 3:37 pm #63161
quote=”stina”]If the water and electricity suppliers will connect in your name and accepts the first occupancy licence under administrative silence, do you think then that it is safe to complete? 🙄
stina – for what it is worth, I personally don’t think – in these ‘difficult times’ – that water and electricity suppliers will connect simply on the basis of “accepting” that the Administrative Silence rule has applied.
They surely must know that this rule is no longer valid.
However, if this is the ‘story’ that your developer is spinning you – please take it with a pinch of salt.
They will say anything to get people to complete.
The only time it is ‘safe to complete’ is when you have seen the licence of first occupation, that you are totally satisfied with your apartment (re. snagging etc.) and that your development has all (pool, gardens etc) as stated in your contract.
What is your lawyer advising you in all of this??????
June 28, 2006 at 10:17 pm #63171
Charlie- He has only reported back to me what the promoters have told him. He does suggest to wait and see if the others in the development will be able to commect in their own name. He is a good lawyer and I have never been under any pressure from him or the promoters to complete which I feel happy about considering what others in other developments have been put through, but maybe my time will come too….My feelings is like yours ,that in these confusing and unusual circumstances, if you do not have the licence in your hand how can it be valid? Confused MOI ? 😕
June 30, 2006 at 5:06 pm #63237
I never heard of this Administrative Silence thing. It sounds like a con just by the name of it. Next minute they’ll have invented another pathetic scheme like telling buyers they have to purchase enough stamps to get an LFO issued, the more they purchase the quicker its issued.
In my LFO case all fingers of blame point towards the resident whose got his developer/legal dispute. Why not point the fingers at the council prat who allows 21 other houses to suffer just because of him? The developers should just be brought to justice rapidamente. Full Stop. Is that not more logical or did I miss something vital?
June 30, 2006 at 5:59 pm #63238
“Administrative Silence” is when by default ,through not stamping the approval within a certain time the builder/developer saw that as the *go ahead* to build.
You certainly cannot do this now.
No official approval…however long it takes…NO build.
June 30, 2006 at 8:50 pm #63243
If the water and electricity suppliers will connect in your name and accepts the first occupancy licence under administrative silence, do you think then that it is safe to complete? 🙄
No. Impossible. The LFO must be granted by the Town Hall to hook up these regular supplies.
June 30, 2006 at 9:09 pm #63245
Hi Drakan, So is the reality that the water and electricity boards will not connect with only a LFO under Administartive Silence? If this is not in place can the developers insist that you complete? 🙄
July 1, 2006 at 8:54 am #63251
A LFO may not be granted by Administrative Silence, that doesn’t exist, it must be granted by the Town Hall specifically. I’m sorry.
It is taking between 12-18 months.
A LFO checks that the development fullly complies all laws so as to makeit fit for a human dwelling. This has to be checked thoroughly by technicians. With Administartive Silence nothing is checked, this is thought for other cases. Who told you this was possible for a LFO ?
No LFO, no hook up of regular supply of water, electricity, gas, telecommunications etc…
July 1, 2006 at 9:28 am #63253
Drakan- I was told by my lawyer that the promoters had told him that since they had not heard to the contrary within the time scale allowed they assume that they have now been granted the FLO under administrative silence. They also said that the electricity and water companies will accept this and will allow supplies to be connected in individual names.Is this really possible, or just wishful thinking…..
July 1, 2006 at 4:27 pm #63266
Drakan- I was told by my lawyer that the promoters had told him that ….
Since when does a lawyer listen to legal advices from a developer or anyone else may I ask ? Talk about being independant … 🙄
There are thousands upon thousands of ilegal constructions going on. If this silence rule where to be applied then they would all be automatically legal.
Just so you know some developers are bribing corrupt politicians in Town Halls with millions of euros to get a LFO it’s that important for them because they know that independant lawyers will not complete without it. If you happen to find a lawyer whose willing to complete without one you can bet your life he’s getting tipped by the developer and/or REAs.
Your lawyer is a jerk Stina. Change him immediately.
And naturally the electricity companies etc… will accept no less than a LFO granted by a Town Hall as prescribed under spanish law.
July 1, 2006 at 8:34 pm #63270
Hi Drakan, Thanks. I think it is staritng to sink in in my thick skull now. It has all been so confusing especially when your lawyer conveys something to you, but don,t say not to do it. In fairness he has not told me to go ahead either, but with big decisions like this that involves so much and things that you are not aware of yourself, it is absolutely vital that you get proper advice. Thanks a lot to you and all others for your help. 😀 Without it I would probably have gone ahead and completed. 😯
July 4, 2006 at 8:13 am #63303
Have bought in Manzana 6, La Reserva and recently received request to pay the balance. My lawyer states the Habitation Licence was granted due to the ‘Administrative Silence’ rule and that this is ok under Sanish Law and will stand up to scrutiny anytime in the future? I wonder?
I asked my lawyer to request permission from the developer – Pennarroya – to have a snag check done first and they refused. Have they something to hide?
Can anyone help me make a decision to sign up or not?
July 4, 2006 at 9:03 am #63305
Drakan is a well respected lawyer on the forum. He helped “Charlie” and us (my husband & I) sooo much with his advise.
Read his reply to “Stina” …AND USE IT!!!!!! As I said in my reply to your PM, under no circumstances should you complete unless you see the LFO issued by the Town Hall !!
July 5, 2006 at 7:34 am #63332
Seamus – recently visited Spain and requested through the agent and Lawyer the possibility of seeing the property prior to completing, I was told NO!!!! 🙁
I had also been told by the developer to feel free to walk around the site but it is not possible to see the apartment as the keys are at the Notary’s office in Malaga!!!!!
I did indeed visit the site whilst Manzana 6 bloque 1 is looking good I can confirm work was still being completed regarding electrics.
I managed to open the windows to our apartment (kitchen/second bedroom) as they are not locked, surprise surprise the rooms are significantly smaller than the show apartments 👿
No wonder the developer is not allowing snagging to commence prior to completion!!!!
This for me was the cherry on the cake, I have since changed Lawyers and we are now proceeding with legal action – the only option I now believe.
July 5, 2006 at 8:23 am #63334
I posted 4 PM’s – 3 Tue and 1 to-day Wed – and they are all sitting in the Outbox. Why are they not being forwarded?
Suzanne, Maria, Drakan. I have PM’s for the three of you in the Outbox and hopefully they will be forwarded soon. Meanwhile if you wish to email me your personal email address I can forward you the PM’s directly.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. The La Reserva situation is, in my opinion, a mess and we need to
co-ordinate our efforts so as to arrive at the correct decision.
July 5, 2006 at 11:25 am #63347
I have just been made aware of the situation and would appreciate any info/advice that you may be able to offer.
July 5, 2006 at 4:29 pm #63355
We are looking to use Lawbird for a litigation case for breach of contract on our property – has anybody got any feedback for us?
July 6, 2006 at 10:20 am #63374
Have used them – they’re brilliant and do not shy away from confronting difficult issues.
They are efficient and customer focused – also their fees are very reasonable and clearly stated at the outset of any business.
You must make your own judgement about legal services but I (and my friends who have used their litigation services) could not fault them in their dealings with us.
July 6, 2006 at 5:03 pm #63388
I’m afraid Ali C is having a ‘different’ experience with this firm…..
- The forum ‘Spanish Real Estate Chatter’ is closed to new topics and replies.