May 7, 2006 at 12:35 pm #51784
In 2002, we bought a property off plan in Mollina, near Antequerra. When we were shown the sales litriture, we told we would have a ‘garage with up and over doors’ and all patio area’s would be tiled with ‘rustic’ tiles. When we completed in January this year and went over to the house none of these things had been provided. The area around the pool was in an awful state and had been left full of builders rubble. A few months later the ground round the pool area shifted and now before we can tile the pool area it has to be whacked and other major construction work which will cost 6000 euro’s.
The property developers we bought from have not given us any of the paper work we need like a copy of the deeds, the note simple and are being very unhelpful to say the least. Most of the people who bought are in the same boat and we are all getting together. Does anyone know what the legal situation is for us? Any help would be appreciated as we are now fast running out of money and finding thw whole thing really stressful.
May 7, 2006 at 2:51 pm #62008
What does your lawyer say reagarding this ?
You’ve already completed despite all the outstanding flaws ? Did you actually hire a lawyer or did you save your money thinking hiring one was unnecessary because it was all so straightforward ?
I’d say that your position is very feable and grim; once you’ve completed and handed over all the moneis it’s as If you had given your ok to everything the developer has done.
May 7, 2006 at 3:51 pm #62010
OUCH!! That’s probably not what they want to hear Drakan 😉 What if they all got together and hired a lawyer. this way they could take action against the developer and it would be more cost effective.
I must say, I cannot believe anyone in this day & age would complete without having the snagging done etc. and making sure it is all satisfactorily completed.
Another sorry tale! 👿
May 7, 2006 at 3:52 pm #62012
We too are buying on this development and we dont complete until the end of june this year. We have an independant lawyer and have asked him some months ago about these “flaws” he said that we “have to weigh up the costs and time of taking this developer and agent to court to put right these things and its a big problem in Spain that a lot of unscruplous developers and agents do not deliver all that they describe in their advertising as they know that people will not bother given the costs and time involved to take them to court “!I have emailed again our lawyer today to ask again should we complete or demand that we get all that was sold to us e.g. garages with up and over doors NOT car ports, exterior terraces tiled with a rustic tiling NOT left bare concrete, and a swimming pool that is useable NOT left just dumped into the earth and will cost a minimum of 6000€ to finish off to make useable.
Should we complete or demand that everything is put right we dont want to hand over the rest of the money only then to find out we will have lost our legal rights to get all of these fixed?
May 7, 2006 at 3:57 pm #62014
I cannot believe anyone would even consider completing under these circumstances!!!!!!!! 😯 Would you do that in the UK? Don’t put up with c***advise from your lawyer. Tell the developer that you will not complete until ALL the work is done. Form a group with other purchasers. There is weight in numbers. You have to put in a great deal of footwork in situations like this…..trust me, I know!! 😉
May 7, 2006 at 4:02 pm #62016
Claire is right. Before you hand over the money YOU are in the driving seat. Once you hand over your money you have no bargaining chips left to play with. Don’t do it! Money, or rather the absence of it, concentrates a builder’s mind beautifully.
May 7, 2006 at 4:03 pm #62018
Thanks for the reply Claire Yes I think we’ve got a C**p lawyer too and in fact are even at this late stage considering changing but then its finding one that will fight for us? If we refused to complete wouldnt we lose all the money we’ve paid up to now?
May 7, 2006 at 4:48 pm #62021
The answer is blatant Joli, don’t complete until the snagging is at your entire satisfaction or else complete but practice a retention of 6000 Euros on the purchase price which amounts to the value of what you’ll be spending on the property to get things right.
Your lawyer doesn’t sound very professional at all, what a hollow advice. Once you complete and pay the full amount you’ve almost completely lost your bargaining power and there is very little else that you can do.
So never complete untill you are positively sure the essentials are at your entire satisfaction (you can never have everything in the snagging list changed at your entire satisfaction, believe me, only what is really essential).
If you refused to complete unjustifiably you’d face a loss tantamount to what’s set forth in your contract’s clause (probably 10-30%).
In order to refuse to complete at all the developer must have breached an essential clause. In your case, the outstanding dwelling’s flaws would’nt be deemed essential.
Your best option would be to practise a retention at completion or else force them to fix the flaws If they want to complete. In any case you cannot refuse to complete without a justified reason or else you’ll lose 10-30% of the moneis paid (it will depend on the clauses you signed with them, some clauses are more draconian than others).
May 7, 2006 at 4:55 pm #62022
Hola Drakan many thanks for your quick reply and advice, we will now email our lawyer telling him that we will not be handing over all the monies owing and will be retaining the cost of putting right these flaws! Do you think its worth changing lawyers at this late stage? We feel as if we are continually “chasing” this one for info and advice!
May 7, 2006 at 5:04 pm #62023
Nah. If you change lawyers the new one will ask for another 1000 euros. It isn’t worth it providing your current lawyer moves on.
Obviously If you see your lawyer is not doing anything or you suspect he has some vested interest (i.e. he’s in bed with the developer) then by all means change lawyer.
Just wait and see how he reacts. Remember to put pressure on him If you see he’s rather adamant ( tell him you’ll take the case to his Bar Association etc..). We lawyers hate to hear this from a client albeit … it works 🙄 .
May 7, 2006 at 5:12 pm #62024
Hola Drakan No he doesnt have any vested interest with the developer and if I get another feeble reply from him I will threaten to report him 😉
May 7, 2006 at 5:15 pm #62025
Well don’t be too harsh on him then If he’s independant … 🙂
May 8, 2006 at 7:46 am #62031
Even if you have completed you still have all the rights in your hands according to Building Law. Without getting it to COurts. Ask your lawyer to follow this article of the General Law for Building Ordinance.
Provision 17: Civil liability of the agents that intervene in the building process.
1. Despite their contractual liabilities, the individuals or companies that intervene in the building process will answer to owners and third purchasers for the building or part of them, in case they have been divided, of the following material damages happened in the building within the stablished deadlines, counted from the reception date without reservation or from the rectifying moment.
a) For 10 years, of material damages caused in the building due to deffects or vices that affect the foundations, supports, beams, floor structure, charging wall or another structural elements, that directly compromise the mechanic ressistance and the stability of the building.
b) For 3 years, of material mdamages caused in the building by deffects or vices of the building elements or the installations that produce the breah of the habitability requirements of the provission 3,1,c.
The builder will also answer for the material damages by vices or execution deffects that affect the elements of finishing of the works within a year deadline.
May 8, 2006 at 8:32 pm #62050
We did think the company we bought from was reputable and trusted them. It is easy with hindsight to know you have gone wrong. We did not have any idea that the ground was going to shift when we took the keys. The thing is, we received all kinds of demand for money regarding the completion which stated we would lose the property if we did not pay the rest of the funds. My parents have gone in with us on this house and they got very panicky. I sent a very nasty email back to them threatening them with the euro MP and the papers. We have since contacted our euro MP and we sent out forms to the company which gave them 14 days to respond. Which of course they have not. So now the Euro Mp is looking into it. This company does not give a toss once it has had your money. Thanks for all the replies though and it has been very helpful. It is costing 6000 euros just to get patios tiled. I have given up on a garage for now, I jus want to be able to enjoy the house and have some peace. I guess nothing in life is easy, at least we are not alone.
Lyn 😳 😳 😳
May 9, 2006 at 7:01 am #62051
Think that you may have:
1.- Civil liability actions
3.- Criminal action
Try first extracourt. But you need to arm yourself with the self-assurance of having lots of rights in your favour.
Don´t give up.
May 9, 2006 at 8:16 am #62052
Well done Lynn for fighting back 👿 Keep up the momentum with your Euro MP. Keep badgering him/her. Don’t let them forget you. As I have said before, it’s a pity there is no such thing as the University of Hindsight! Until we experience such deceitful behaviour we are by nature, just too trusting of so called professional people. IMHO.
May 9, 2006 at 8:28 am #62053
Although it’s true that you can still pursue action heeding María’s advice I personally find they are expensive and take a long time.
The cheapest, most efficient, less time-consuming and more practical way is to avoid being pressed into completing until you are absolutely sure the snagging is ok. I understand this is no longer your case but I post this nevertheless so others in a similar case may read it.
Once you complete you are rendered almost powerless from a bargaining standpoint and your only way out is resorting to legal action which is long, uncertain and can prove expensive. That’s why we only recommend it as a last resort, such as in your case once you have completed.
May 9, 2006 at 10:37 am #62056
I am sure you are right Drakan, but please don’t underestimate the power of the threat of the developer that if you do not keep up your stage payments then you will forfeit all your previous payments. They may well be bluffing and not legally correct, but if you are thousands of miles away and don’t speak the language do you take the risk?
The fact remains that in the UK most people in business do adhere to the laws of the country without having to be taken to court, probably in part because there is government regulation. In Spain it seems to me that it is common to flaunt the law when dealing with foreigners because they know that is incredibly difficult for us to pursue our legal rights.
Remember that a high proportion of British people buy in Spain for retirement. They do not have the time to fight developers through the court for years. These problems are so common that they should be dealt with at goverment level rather than through the court by every individual.
May 9, 2006 at 11:08 am #62058
Well said Tilly. You are sooo right.
May 9, 2006 at 7:27 pm #62072
I have no intention of giving up a the fight. I have never given up on a fight yet – some people say I thrive on it (but my hobby is kickboxing, so I guess they are right). But I am a scouser born and bred, we breed fighters, have big gobs and are not afraid to use them. There is a group of us that have banded together and are looking at getting a lawyer to represent us, take it to the British and Spanish press if we have to. Half of Liverpool football club are Spanish, we have named our house after our manager (Benitez), so maybe I should try to get in touch with him :lol:. But on a serious note, I will keep on at them until I have answers. I bet the Beckhams never had this much grief though. I have heard so many stories about the blitz, didn’t think I would be having my own civil war – just call me Franco
May 9, 2006 at 7:37 pm #62073
Lyn, I admire your style. 😀 You will have a more effective voice with a group of you. Way to go!! 😉
May 9, 2006 at 8:39 pm #62076
so am I Lyn well done keep up the fight from one scouser to another I wish you the very best of luck.
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