Responsibilities of Spanish Lawyers

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    • #51917

      I wonder if anyone with legal knowledge could offer some advice or point me in the right direction.

      I recently completed on the purchase of an off plan property in Costa Del Sol – the final payment has been made, I have the keys and the deal is done.

      However I now find out that my allocated parking space is very inconveniently sited. I would have expected it to be in the garage under my apartment but in fact it is in different garage altogether and involves me using three separate lifts and a fair bit of walking. Its totally illogical.

      I have raised this with the promoter who’s attitude is extremely unhelpful and who is adamant they will not reallocate the space. My solicitor on the other hand, although prepared to contact the promoter, seems to be undertaking this on a half hearted basis. Even if the builder can be convinced to change the space my solicitor tells me that I would have to pay the associated costs in terms of tax and in changing the paperwork with the Land Registry etc – estimated at about £500.

      This to me seems very unfair. Leaving aside the illogical allocation by the promoter / the fact that half of the apartments remain unsold and the fact that I was one of the first to buy in the complex (so why on earth allocate such an inconvenient parking space in the first instance?!!), I employ a solicitor to act on my behalf, I would have expected that this issue would have been highlighted for me prior to completion of the contract! When I posed this question to my solicitor, the response was ‘no one knows the exact position of the space prior to completion’ and ‘that’s just the way it is in Spain’. I interpret this to mean ‘it’s not our fault’ and ‘we wont pay any costs involved if we can reallocate’.

      Obviously, the above was for background purposes, my questions really are:

      – What are the responsibilities of Spanish Lawyers in off plan purchases?
      – Would you expect that such issues would be identified by the lawyers prior to completion (as I would expect) or as my solicitor implies, they have no prior knowledge/its not their responsibility to check the position of the parking space and you get what you get?

      — Are Spanish solicitors subject to any regulation which I could lever to press my case? If so does anyone have a contact number / email?

      At the moment I do not know the best way to approach this situation, one the one hand I need my solicitors advice to help secure reallocation of the parking space, but on the other I have the view that they have been negligent in the proceedings!

      Any advice / contacts would be appreciated.

      • #62933

        I have on my desk a very standard escritura for an apartment that was originally bought off-plan and very clearly states on the eighth page that the sale includes a garage space ‘plaza de aparcamiento’ and then clearly defines the building address, the size of the place, and the number of the place, and the street onto which the exit ramp opens. Also included are the details of the property registry inscription. Difficult to imagine any possible ambiguity here.

      • #62945

        I agree fully with rawlings not only the contract mentions this but it also states any trastero ( storage) that comes with the property.

        Builders normally sells the garages separetely apart from the ones that are sold with propertry.

      • #62951

        Culves, please PM me. I would be pleased to explain to you how the system of responsabilities of lawyers in Spain work.

        But basically, it needs to be communicated to the Bar Assosiation they belong to and act trough them or undere their guidance. Ther is also another instance: The General Council of Lawyers of Spain, based in Madrid.

      • #62952

        Hi Culves
        I sympathise with you.
        All the ‘legal’ aspects of your situation aside, wouldn’t it have been just ‘nice’ if just a little bit of logic/care and commonsense had been used when it came to the allocation of your garage space.
        Especially as you were an early purchaser and the choice was there.
        It is not really rocket-science to allocate garages as near as possible to owners’ apartments.
        Having said that – the same happens in UK. My Mother’s apartment and garage space are nowhere near each other (!) and the garages that are opposite her entrance belong to flat owners the other end of the block. So it is not just Spain!
        Like all situations in life – hindsight is a wonderful thing and all we can do in a situation like yours is to treat it as a learning-curve. I.E. NEXT time (if there ever is one) it is a point you can have a watchful eye on, and negotiate a garage near to you at the time of purchase.
        I know – all unnecessary stress that could have/should have been avoided for the sake of a simple bit of applied logic at the time.

      • #62977

        @culves wrote:

        I When I posed this question to my solicitor, the response was ‘no one knows the exact position of the space prior to completion’ and ‘that’s just the way it is in Spain’.

          This is blatantly untrue. I’ve bought garages off plan and knew exactly where they were before a stone had been cast. Before buying them I even checked the numbers to see they correspond with the contract. How can you possibly buy something that you don’t even know where it is ? This doesn’t happen in Spain, it happens anywhere to a carefree purchaser. There are plans you can check to make sure the exact location of the garage. And If they change it you can alltogether refuse to carry on with the purchase.

          The fault is yours not your lawyer’s.

          We lawyers follow the instructions of our clients. We make sure that the garage you signed for in the private contract is the one you are getting at completion albeit under no means are we to be held liable for a garage place which is distributed illogically, that’s up to you, the purchaser, to check or decide upon prior to the signing of the binding private contract. From that point on we lawyers take on through to completion.

          It is impossible for your lawyer not to know the exact location of the garage you were buying, impossible.Tell him you want that answer on paper/email. You’ll see how he gives you excuses or refuses to do so.

          In fact purchasing a garage in the same building carries a 6% VAT tax. Whereas If you’ve bought a garage in a different building, even If it’s the same complex, the VAT applicable will be 16%, more expensive.

          So If you’ve checked out what you’re paying in terms of VAT you’ll know If your lawyer knew or not whether you were buying a garage lot in a different building to where you had your flat.

          Your lawyer will not be held responsible at all unless he actually bought a garage at completion with a different number or location to that which you signed in the private contract initially. Other than that there’s little else you can do.

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