March 16, 2006 at 6:38 am #51650
I would be grateful to receive advice from anyone in our position and what, if any, course of action they have taken.
We purchased an apartment in N. Costa Blanca off plan in Jan 2003 and our contracted completion date was November 2004.
We have paid the stage payments of 80% of the total value with the final 20% due on completion.
The problem is that the title deeds are not available because (so I am being told) the town hall has (not yet) issued the licence of habitation.
I have only silence of course from the Developer and Estate Agent and I am now considering a change of lawyer to pursue this if need be.
Nothing in the purchase contract covers this situation, it just says that the bank guarantee will cover the us if the building is not completed.
The building has been completed for over a year.
In my view we should be entitled to some compensation but any advice on our legal position or best course of action would be welcome.
March 16, 2006 at 8:41 am #61339
The first thing that strikes me as odd is that you’ve paid 80% before completion.You NEVER do this.
Normally you pay a deposit and a further 30% before completion, but no more than that. The reason being obvious that you are losing negotiating power if by the time completion comesyou’ve already paid almost all.
This is clearly the fault of your lawyer. In fact it’s the first time I’ve seen a client paying 80% before completion. It’s abnormal.
Regarding the Occupation Licence it’s the Town Hall which grants it, it has nothing to do with the developer , the REA or your lawyer.
However you must check that the developer has indeed filed for it at the TH.
Another problem might be that the construction was ilegal in the first place and then you can be sure theat you’ll get no Licence of First Ocupation/Habitation/Dwelling.
If I were you, I would phone the Town Hall, ask for the “Gerencia de Urbanismo” and ask them If the Licence has been asked for or If any problems have arisen regarding your development. Have a spanish friend phone them on your behalf. It’s free and they generally answer you straight away.
The developer should have given your lawyer the copy of having asked for the LFD at the Town Hall, providing your lawyer actually demanded them to hand him over a copy as it would be normal.
And just how did you come up with your lawyer…. ? Was he recommended by anyone ?
March 16, 2006 at 3:16 pm #61348
First thing to check with your lawyer is do you have a Bank Guarantee.
Don’t just take your lawyer’s word for it, demand to sent an e-mailed copy.
(I know of a case where a lawyer ‘lied’ and when pushed, admitted he didn’t have one for his client).
Secondly make sure that the Bank Guarantee covers all the amounts of money that you have paid.
As long as the above is in place, I would find a good litigation lawyer to take over your file and enforce your Bank Guarantee to get your money back (plus legal interest) and get the hell out of there!
The enforcement of your Bank Guarantee is based on: Developer is in breach of contract (re. 16 months late re delivery date), and the inability to provide you with a ‘licence of first occupation’.
It is important you do not complete without this licence.
You are not legally obliged to complete on a property that does not have a licence of first occupation.
Drakan – please correct me if I am wrong with any of the above.
March 16, 2006 at 7:44 pm #61353
Thank you Drakan and Charlie for your valued advice.
Guess who the estate agent was? ***** estates !
Guess who my original lawyer was? DVA !
I know, I know, hindsight is a wonderfull thing but I had faith in the lawyer who told me that it was normal practice in Spain to make stage payments during the building – You live and learn I guess.
I have since changed my lawyer to one recommended by Mark on this forum.
I will try to apply legal pressure on the developer to recover a refund plus interest.
I’ll post my progress on the forum.
March 17, 2006 at 8:43 am #61357
Charlie’s/Sofia’s advice is very correct.
March 17, 2006 at 10:36 am #61360
…….had a good teacher 😉
March 17, 2006 at 10:49 am #61361
That’s why O…E….. SHOULD be named & shamed on the forum. How come they take clients to these two dreadful, unscrupulous law firms. DLM & DVA. There are too many of us with evidence of malpractice for them to sue anyone. IMO
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