- February 2, 2017 at 1:17 pm #194931
Sorry if placed in the wrong forum.
We own a villa and have a buyer. It seems the legal work was not done correctly when we purchased around 12 years ago. We acted with what we thought was a lawyer via the agency which no longer exists and seems to have taken the ‘lawyer’ with them! We signed at the notary aware the size of the property wasn’t correct. We were informed by the ‘lawyer’ it was legal. We had a fax from the sellers solicitor saying that 4000 euros was in his client account to put right the size. We assumed this had been done.
On finding a buyer a nightmare has become reality. It seems that the documentation has not been done. The lawyer does not have 4000 in his client account as it was never agreed. We have also found out that the extension is in fact illegal. Not only that but the land our house and the one next door are on land owned by a private holiday complex which consists of 4 units. The owner a local owns 60% with us and next door 20% each. He needs to sign to allow us to update the land reg to sell. He is refusing point blank. We don’t know what to do.
On looking at another copy of the deeds it seems the original house was not registered as correct either. It has been registered initially the same size as the units for the complex although who ever registered must have been aware the large difference in size. We believe it to be the owner of the complex so perhaps this was tax dodge?
We really have no idea what to do. There is also a mortgage on the property which was issued based on an extremely high valuation if they used what was on the deeds. This mortgage was adjusted so lawyers were involved twice. Is there re-dress there?
Has anyone please any thoughts on what we can do. We do not know why the complex owner won’t just sign. Although it is being stated this is a complex no complex has ever been formed. We suggested therefore he form one as we thought this would give us leverage – he won’t.
I’m going out of my mind with worry. We paid 450,000 euros for the house and have an offer of 495,000 now. The mortgage is still running.
- February 2, 2017 at 1:37 pm #194934
Sorry I said form a complex. I meant a community which the complex only says it is.
- February 3, 2017 at 9:14 pm #194971
I am feeling rather desperate. Does anyone have any suggestions or thoughts please? My worry too is that being British against a local isn’t going to work in my favour? Also forgot to mention that this is Mallorca and not mainland Spain – if that makes a difference?
- February 3, 2017 at 9:54 pm #194972
I’m very sorry to read of your situation. I can imagine how stressful it must be. However, it’s too complicated to get any meaningful advice here. You need to talk to a good lawyer, one that is working for you, not the agent. Do you know of a good lawyer in Mallorca?
Don’t worry about being British and that counting against you. In my experience the Spanish legal system doesn’t discriminate against foreigners. Sometimes foreigners are at a disadvantage when it comes to local politics, bureaucracy, and understanding how things work, but now when it comes to legal process in the hands of a good lawyer.
- February 3, 2017 at 10:18 pm #194975
Thank you so much for your reply Mark. I realise it is a very complicated situation. I haven’t been able to find a lawyer I have faith in to be honest.
Thank you again.
- February 4, 2017 at 9:58 am #194979
Annie, sometimes things aren’t as bad as we imagine. I know a lawyer who might be able to help you. I’ll send you a private message later on today or tomorrow.
- February 4, 2017 at 12:11 pm #194983
- February 5, 2017 at 6:34 pm #195007
Hi Mark – I’m Annie’s partner. She is having problems logging on and also can’t seem to find a private message icon. Links from your private message email are not working.
Anyway to say thank you and we have contacted your suggestion today. Will keep you up to date but any more ideas would be very grateful to receive. Thanks again. Dan
- February 6, 2017 at 1:27 pm #195016
I hope Annie has resolved her problem logging in. Let me know if that is not the case, and what the problem is.
To send a PM you simply click on the name of the person you want to PM, then click the private message button on the new page.
- February 6, 2017 at 3:40 pm #195017
I don’t have any professional advice to give you. One thought came to mind though and that was that I have come across situations (in the UK and in Spain – involving when estranged spouses won’t sign so that a property can be sold) when a person should sign something and won’t and a judge has stated that the signature is being unreasonably withheld and so signs it instead. No idea if this would apply in your situation, but I find that lawyers often have to be guided and so it is worth you asking whether this would be feasible.
In terms of your worry, I understand it very well. I had a sale fall through after a year of faffing about. In the meantime the bottom fell out of the market. The agreed sale of 157,000 thus fell through and a year later we managed to sell it for 105,000. We had received about 8,000 deposit from the first aborted sale – their lawyer then tried to threaten and intimidate us into returning it when we had in fact used it to do a legal thing they demanded which was for us to ‘sell’ it to each other as a couple in order to create a ‘chain.’ So we didn’t have it anyway. I was worried sick and dreaded every email from my lawyer – who was way too soft and out of her depth and advised us to return half of the deposit. Then I read in the Times one day how buyers in London were being forced to continue their purchases and I threatened their lawyer – saying that unless he stopped sending the emails I would insist the purchase go ahead. Never heard from him again then. Reading that one article made it worth having read pointless Times article for years!
All in all, we had an awful lot of worry and were about 50,000 down. This was 9 years ago and now it is a distant memory. Remember it is only money and your family and your health are far more important – in fact there is no comparison. All the best with this.
- February 6, 2017 at 5:50 pm #195028
Hi Ros thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to respond. Funny enough we spoke with a lawyer this morning who said that we may be able to sue as this person not signing is stopping a sale and may be deemed to be unreasonable behaviour. He is unsure. Also what became clear is the Spanish have a very different view of things we take seriously. He said that Spanish would not worry about things such as land registry and in his opinion neither should we! He also said that most property registrations would not be correct as that is how they do things! As for what is illegal and not legal he said that the extension is not legal but as it has been there for over 6 years it is not illegal either and not to worry about that. He was very laid back about the situation which frankly isn’t really that helpful to our position as we are selling to British who want the land reg put right. Also we would have to pay the taxes not paid on the difference between the original registration and what it is now plus interest. We have no idea when the extension was put on but guess not long after the house was built nearly 40 years ago! Therefore that could be quite a lot of money. Not sure really what or where we go from here.
Ros I think your situation was just as strange but different. Both of us have had a nightmare to live but thankfully yours is over. Thank goodness you didn’t have to give back the deposit. We haven’t received one so I suppose we consider our house to be on the market. As you say it’s money but it also leaves such bitter memories. We just want this man to sign so we can change our registration so we can walk away too. Would we buy again ….. never!
- This reply was modified 2 weeks, 2 days ago by Annie.
- February 6, 2017 at 8:49 pm #195039
So sorry to read of your dilemma; and like Mark has said I am sure things may not seem quite so bad once a good solicitor gets involved. I have owned holiday homes in Spain for over 25 years and always use local ‘natives’ be it solicitors, builders, architects, etc. At least I know they will still be around after a few years and not dissappeared back to UK or wherever. I have never ever experienced any anti British vibes, quite the opposite, and have a house on coast in Costa Blanca and current house is inland Valencia region. Unfortunately in every society there are people who will try to rip you off, Spain is probably no different to many other countries.
In your last post you say that Spanish have a far more laid back attitude; and yes they do. We Brits find it hard to comprehend but it is a fact of Spanish life. I am not a solicitor, but regarding your extension, it is indeed common not to declare changes on the escritura . To do so would just increase the local ‘Town Hall’ tax which is based on sq metres of construction. It is easy to amend the escritura at time of a sale and would need an artchitect to measure up the property. Yes you will have to pay back taxes but Spanish tax law means they can ONLY go back 4 years. So looking at that positively you have a slight bonus from the lower tax you paid in the past.
And having amended the escritura your extension will then be legal !!
Hope that helps take a bit of worry away. Good luck with the other aspect, regret not a lot I can add about that, sounds a bit more involved but suspect it is to do with the ‘community land’ aspect
- February 6, 2017 at 9:52 pm #195040
Thanks Kevin for your post and encouragement. I really appreciate it. Also god to know about the Spanish law re going back 4 years for tax. We have paid the town hall on the total amount of square meters as the house is now. It is the land reg and escritura which are wrong. TO have ammended we need the signature of the old man in the apartments behind us as well as our next door neighbour who will gladly sign. The old man won’t. He was the original developer 4 odd years ago and registered wrongly the houses. He also made it a community with us and our neighbour owning 40% and he 60% the community was never set up. He just won’t sign. Our buyers are British and they will not purchase unless this is rectified. I have since heard this is quite common on the island. so we are not alone. Not that that helps of course.
We have no idea why he won’t sign as he just won’t say. We thought he wanted money but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I suppose we will just have to let this sale go and hope a local comes along which is highly unlikely.
Thank you again for your help.
- February 7, 2017 at 10:38 am #195048
Good morning Annie,
First off, I hope you dont lose your potential buyer. They are few and far between at your price level. Maybe they will be patient knowing you are sorting the legal issues.
Let me say again, I am not a solicitor but you clearly need legal advice. It may be an idea to see if your neighbor will join you in sorting this as sooner or later it may affect them as well. And your neighbour may already have a trusted solicitor.
On the face of it, I think there has been a horizontal division of land, something similar to shared ownership in UK, and very common in Spain. When this was done a Deed of Horizontal Division should have been lodged with local Notary showing private areas allocated to each property and communal areas and the quota owned by each property. This quota determines voting rights and share of communal fees. It is also a legal requirement to form a Community of Owners and register Statutes etc of the community. Whilst you say the developer ‘owns’ 60% I think this may mean each of his holiday properties have 15%. And remember that you own 20% of the whole site, not just 20% of your plot.
What is puzzling is how this Horizontal Division was created seemingly without you knowing. My guess would be that it was done before you bought the property, but if this is so it should be very clear on your deeds and your neighbour’s deeds, otherwise your deeds will show that you own your plot outright. Did the developer build or previously own your property.
Whatever the explanation, I think he is in the wrong and has no grounds to withhold ‘approval’ for your extension which from your previous posts I am guessing would have been existing at time of horizontal division.
Annie, please get a solicitor to sort it. Don’t sit and hope for a more laid back buyer.
Sorry to preach
Good luck and keep us all updated with progress
- February 7, 2017 at 10:10 pm #195088
Thank you so much for this information Kevin. It is helping us to clarify our thoughts. We are speaking with a lawyer tomorrow so will keep you updated.
We certainly don’t want to lose our buyer and realise this has to be sorted asap. We are unsure when the extension was built but would assume not long after the construction of the house.
Is there a website that we can access that will tell us exactly what is registered for the house. The information we have obtained so far is limited and of such little detail. Thank you again for taking the time and effort to post. We really appreciate it.
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