April 2, 2007 at 10:08 pm #52764
Many years ago we had a holiday home here in marbella, across the street lived a nice young couple with a baby. He was a lawyer. About a year ago at a dinner we met him again and spent some time chatting. I asked for his card incase we needed a lawyer in the future. Fortunately we haven’t needed one.
Today I was sorting through all the business/contact cards (a small drawerful!) and came across the lawyers card. The name seemed recently familiar so searched and he was arrested recently for setting up companies for Roca and money laundering. Sorry, just a bit of gossip but I was really shocked he was so nice and very serious.
April 3, 2007 at 6:42 am #70532
Every man has his price!
April 3, 2007 at 7:43 am #70533
Katy, that’s how so many of us got it so wrong with our lawyers!! We thought they were so nice, serious and trustworthy. 🙁
April 3, 2007 at 10:49 am #70534
He probebly is still a nice man. Who knows he may have been sucked into the situation.
April 3, 2007 at 12:40 pm #70536
Sucked in by greed ?
April 3, 2007 at 1:37 pm #70539
Have just read your tale of the lawyer. Apart from the immediate reactions of anger,disgust etc. etc. I find myself consumed by an all engulfing feeling of depression.
It really is a very sad state of affairs when people find themselves in a perpetual state of distrust about everything and everyone they meet. I know that many people have enjoyed trouble free purchases,myself included, but for the sizeable number who have been so outrageously failed by the system and the actors within the system, it must be horrible.
Spain has been kind to me,I have made some wonderful friends and am happy here. But it has to be said that there is a cancer of dishonesty/cheating the system which pervades Latin Life. In its day to day form it is deciding that IVA is “optional”. At the other end of the scale it involves ruining peoples lifes through corruption in both the planning and purchase processes.
The caricature of the wily Latin taxpayer brings a wry smile to Northern faces; there’s something folkloric about the little guy screwing the evil tax collector. However, in the case of Marbella,there has been a collective institutional failing. The Junta knew what was going on but for political reasons turned a blind eye. The Ayuntamiento, senior police officials, developers and all the so called “professionals” in the purchase chain, conspired against the consumer, the very person who feeds the economy.
I am not suggesting that corruption is restricted to the Club Med countries. It’s everywhere. However, when you take advice from a lawyer or accountant in the UK I think most of us feel we are being advised in an honest manner. There are many good practitioners in Spain but when you have endemic corruption within a narrow sector of the economy (off plan property purchases) the consumer is left without protection. And of course this is exacerbated when the principal motor of the sector is overseas buyers who arrive without the safeguard of their tried and trusted advisors.
There is no better advice than “get yourself a good lawyer”. However,as your story shows, if only it was so simple!
April 3, 2007 at 2:11 pm #70540
How refreshing to read an intelligent summary of the current situation in Spain.
Great post, casalaloba.
For me, there are no excuses or ‘mitigating circumstances’ why anyone should get involved in this current corruption mentality. Our lawyer didn’t/refused to and is disgusted at the shame that this has brought on his country. This is why he loves taking the corrupt to court, and doesn’t charge his clients a rip-off fee for doing so.
There are rich rewards for all involved in a normal healthy property market but it seems that just wasn’t enough.
There is only one reason why all these people became involved in corruption and that is GREED.
April 3, 2007 at 2:36 pm #70543
Thanks for the kind words. You are of course spot on. Uncontrolled greed is at the root of all these problems. That’s why the bulwark of a properly functioning legal system is essential to protecting the rights of the consumer. When that fails,as it has for some, we are in a state of anarchy. It also has to be said that the apparent derogation of duty by the Collegio de Abogados is appalling. Talk about “an old boys club”!
If you arrive in Spain as a crook you’ll have no problem with the system. If you arrive,as the majority do, looking to understand and abide by the rules it’s a tad more complicated. For example, my accountant is staggered at my compliance with my fiscal obligations. “Hombre”he says,”they’ll never investigate you”! “And if they do” I reply,”Where will you be”? He finds my approach perplexing but does agree that we’ll all sleep better! At least we agree on something!
April 3, 2007 at 3:44 pm #70546
you really have summed up how i thought things would be, the way i have been treated and sadly the outcome. I feel that what makes Spain a great place to holiday in, is the other side of the coin that can make it such a nightmare to buy in to. My affection and amusement at Spains dislike of rules and regulations, has really turned around and shot me the foot!
April 3, 2007 at 4:12 pm #70549
I apportion the blame on two things and lets see how many agree with me.
1) Decades of artificial economy and artificial job creation, gave citizens the economic insecurity thus not knowing what will happen in the future.
2) Large amount of money in the hands of few families.
3) Franco’s period of dictatorship/lack of democracy thus resulting in the lack of respect for law & order.
The economic security is still here as we are all aware how much just one sector ( construction ) contributes to the nations GDP.
April 3, 2007 at 4:27 pm #70550
your maths ??
…..i think you are right, i just hope Spain can stop the rot before much more damage is done.
April 3, 2007 at 5:56 pm #70554
What a great post . So accurate. I hope you stay around and contribute more often to the forum. You give a balanced viewpoint . IMHO of course!:D
April 3, 2007 at 9:37 pm #70562
I am going with the flow its allways mas o minus so two becomes three./ I am an accountant so allowed a bit of creative accounting.
There was a 4th one, which I refrained from as I would have upsetted forum users. As my Spanish friends admitted that in order to have their way they would lie to the father/mother superiors etc and now it has become second nature and they dont even notice when this is happening.r
April 4, 2007 at 8:50 am #70577
fair enough,……. i rely on my accountant for creative accounting, within the law of course!
I love your number 4. I think that speaks volumes, and it wouldn’t suprise me if it’s true for quite a few? I can imagine my old lawyer/developer using that as a defence in my up and coming court case, as nothing else holds water. I also think our U.K agents suffer the same problem? Must be an international thing!!
April 4, 2007 at 9:06 am #70578
I also think our U.K agents suffer the same problem? Must be an international thing!!
I think it’s just good ol’ fashioned “collusion” !
(….unless it’s a bit like flu, and is involuntarily catching 🙁 )
April 4, 2007 at 9:49 am #70587
quite probably, but as our agent is (in theory at least) suing the developer themselves, it is surpposed to be unlikely. I’m not conviced it’s not all part of a game though? as the case has never reached court, and as as far as i know has not been concluded to the advantage of any buyers either? Certainly not in our case, we have not had any help from the agents or developers, quite the opposite in fact.
April 4, 2007 at 10:22 am #70588
Well let’s hope you get your deserved justice when you have your day in court.
We’ll all be routing for you……
(rooting even ? 😳 )
April 4, 2007 at 10:48 am #70591
many thanks, but another problem has arisen, our agent can’t/wont come up with proof that our deposit was transfered from them to the developer, so now we are told by our lawyer, if they dont come up with this, we will have to sue the agent as well, as that proof will be required in court that the developer has/had the money. I realise handing the money to the agent was not a good idea, but 5 years ago that was not uncommon.
April 4, 2007 at 11:27 am #70594
I don’t believe it!!!! 😯 😈
Would it be worth threatening them by getting a barrister on their (agents)case, rather than a letter from your lawyer? They will perhaps realize you mean business. Just a thought that may be totally inappropriate. I was picking up from another post I read somewhere, where a barrister was used and there was an early settlement.
April 4, 2007 at 1:06 pm #70600
Thanks for the nice reply. I posted a reply last night but it seems to have vanished in the ether, a bit like some poor souls’ deposits!
The issues raised yesterday are pretty complex as they go right to the heart of the cultural differences between the south and the north of Europe. As a generality, the Med rim countries have a much more laissez faire attitude to authority. For many, rules are to be ignored and if the administration comes knocking they take the view that there’s always a way to sort things out. Those of us from northern climes tend to observe the rules even though we might find them distasteful. This diametrically opposed view of how to approach life is possibly the major source of problems for extranjeros looking to adapt to a new life here ( it could be Italy or Greece as well).
I am sure you know Spaniards who own a little parcela in the campo. The land is of course zoned for rural use. For a Spaniard ownership takes precedence over any bothersome rules about zoning and planning permits. “Hombre, it’s my land, I’m going to build a casita here and if there’s a problem my cousin’s cousin works in the Town Hall and everything will be worked out in my favour”.
I don’t believe many of us would try that back in the UK. Someone recently built a house within a barn in a protected area in the south of England. He was quckly rumbled and now has to demolish the property.
A couple of years ago I nearly bought a small plot here. It had a store which could be used as a place to “sleepover” but there were absolutely no rights to extend it. I decided not to buy the plot. It was purchased by a local who promptly demolished the store and replaced it with a small house. All completely illegal and visible to the whole pueblo. Has anything happened? Of course not! If I had done the same I think the local administration might have reacted differently.
Recently I had an opportunity to speak to the boss of our planning department. I asked him how it was possible to build 35,000 illegal houses in Chiclana without the Town Hall lifting a finger in protest. He didn’t answer. He didn’t even try to answer. He didn’t seem the slightest bit offended. It was as if there was a resigned acceptance to the utter failure of the planning system. What I didn’t follow up with was any observation re Chiclana being a PSOE fiefdom and how it might just suit the Ayuntamiento to turn a blind eye. Not disimilar from the position of the Junta vis a vis Marbella. Better to have Gil in power than their eternal enemy the PP.
I think your observations re the transition from a dictatorship to a constitutional monarchy are valid. The change in Spanish society over the last 30 plus years has been enormous. In a very short period of time money and opportunity have become available to the masses. As much of the growth has been fueled in the construction sector it is hardly surprising that those of less upstanding morals have seen the chance to get rich quick.Out of even handedness it must be said that many of of our own countrymen have taken full advantage of the situation. All the companies who call themselves “something” International often being the worst examples.
None of these jottings can alleviate the pain of those who have been cheated but it is interesting to have an exchange of views on the cultural differences. A good thread.
April 4, 2007 at 4:42 pm #70603
a good post, sounds about right to me.
i have sent the agent a letter from my lawyer (signed for) giving a limited time to reply, before we start action. I spoke to the the agent’s finance person on the last day to reply, he said he would sort it out right away. When i phoned again the next day, the person who answered said, quote..
” the finance persons on holiday for a week now and nobody else can deal with it”.
So it just looks like they have ignored my lawyers letter………great eh, just more lies!
May 2, 2007 at 1:20 pm #71738
Please excuse my interupting your discussions which I find informative and enlightening and as a by the way, can my spending hours reading all the contributions be considered to be research ?
My point is, in view of all the above, am I insane to still want to move to Spain, specifically Southern Catalunya. Thank you all again.
May 2, 2007 at 1:46 pm #71739
Reading the posts on this forum is some of the best research you can do! But do not be put off buying a place here. Just make sure to have your eyes and ears wide open. It seems to me that by visiting the forum you are doing just that. This is a smashing country and if you go about things correctly and learn from the sad tales of those who have been abused, through no fault of their own, you will be fine. The best piece of advice I can give you is to get yourself a good lawyer right at the beginning. If The Costa de La Luz is of interest to you send, me a PM and I’ll give you the name of an excellent lawyer. Best of luck.
Casa La Loba
May 2, 2007 at 1:58 pm #71742
Many thanks for your help and good wishes but the tortosa area has taken my fancy. I intend going there soon to rent a property and look around for somewhere to buy.I also intend to buy a car and insure it there with a Spanish company, do you forsee any complications ?
May 2, 2007 at 3:05 pm #71744
It’s a beautiful part of the world.
I’ve written this to help anyone considering the area:
Hope you find it useful.
May 2, 2007 at 5:33 pm #71756
As we are aware we both have pending court cases which hopefully we will win 🙂
If not then reading some of the postings our properties will be worth up to 60% less than than they are worth today.
Like me you have a valid claim of serious breaches planning and are issues that cant be sorted by issuing planning or an L.F.O.
My point is how many are trying to get out of the sale because the market hasnt performed or they are panicking because of the negative press and forum reports.
May 3, 2007 at 7:49 am #71765
i think that’s where a good lawyer is vital, i would guess there is alot of lobbying from the developers to the courts to point out that some are just looking for a loophole in the contract for an excuse to ‘get out’, due to the current climate, and if you don’t have a good lawyer to put forward a very strong case, then i would think people will be even less likely to get the benefit of the doubt from a judge than a year or two ago, and reading posts on here, due to the Spanish err….system, i think the Spanish courts tend to be rather one sided against UK buyers at the best of times!!!!
Our situation is such a clear case of two huge breaches of contract (and that’s without the fact the development still has no LFO after 5 years and we were never given a BG!) that for a decision to go against us, could only be down to a judge with another motivation, rather than justice!
May 3, 2007 at 5:26 pm #71791
Thanks Mark, I’m sold. I’ve just got to sell here and I’m on my way.
Having just got over my addiction to online gambling I’m now addicted to your forum, but I consider that to be research.
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