May 23, 2005 at 5:40 pm #51104
I would firstly like to say what an excellent web-site you have Mark, and I wish more than anything I’d seen it before we purchased our property in Spain !!
I’m saying this because, we made the unforgiveable mistake of using a lawyer that our estate agent recommended, to our cost !!
We purchased our little house (in the Costa Tropical area) in June last year, & basically the sale seemed to go along very smoothly. We thought we’d done everything right by using a proper Spanish abogado who spoke good English & assured us that the property was debt free etc. We had complete trust & confidence in our estate agents, a mature family living in the same area as where we’d bought the house. We thought we had everything covered & that nothing could possibly go wrong.
Now, one year down the line, we are still waiting for the property to be registered in our name, we are still waiting for the lawyer to advise us on paying our IBI (property taxes etc), and we’ve just had to pay a substantial sum to the water board as the previous owner had been getting his water illegally for 8 years. To get our water re-connected, we had to foot the bill !
Our main concerns now, are getting the taxes sorted out as we are really worried that these may not be paid either & getting the house registered into our names. Our ‘friendly’ estate agent never replies to e-mails any more & the lawyer responds if you phone, but doesn’t give any answers.
Can anyone, give me any advice as what to do next !
May 24, 2005 at 12:44 pm #58277
I’m sorry to hear about your predicament. It must be particularly galling when you have tried to take all the appropriate precautions and used a qualified lawyer. But as you now know, using a lawyer recommended by the estate agent you buy from can expose you to problems that come as quite a surprise to most buyers. Too many agents recommend lawyers who are more likely to oil the wheels of the transaction than look after the buyer’s interests.
If I were you I would change lawyers without delay. Find a new lawyer and then send written instructions to your present lawyer to pass your file to the new lawyer by such and such a date. If they don’t cooperate then send an ultimatum threatening to report them to the local colegio de abogados. And be sure to keep copies of all correspondence and notes of what happens.
Judging by what you say it sounds like you signed the deeds of sale before Notary but that your lawyer failed to then inscribe the property in the land registry. You will need a good lawyer to review the situation and make sure your property is properly inscribed. As you say you also need to notify you local town hall (ayuntamiento) so that they can charge you the rates (IBI). Normally it is the responsibility of the vendor to inform the town hall of the sale as the vendor is obliged to pay the plusvalia tax. However sometimes the buyer agrees to pay this (I don’t know what happened in your case), in which case the town hall might not be aware that the property has changed hands. In any even the buyer always has to inform the town hall of new payment details and contact details. In any case you need a good professional to review the whole situation and make sure that everything has been properly done. It doesn’t sound like your present lawyer will do this so don’t waste any more time with them and make the change.
I will be publishing more information on how to deal with lawyers in the next news bulletin.
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