Just one month left to claim for lost Spanish property deposits

Just one month left to claim for lost Spanish property deposits

Spain
  • 28 December deadline looms for buyers who lost deposits to make claims
  • Opportunity applies to off-plan property buyers whose homes were never completed
  • CostaLuz Lawyers urging buyers who lost out to take action before it’s too late

There is just one month left for those who lost deposits on Spanish off-plan properties that were never completed to begin legal proceedings to try and get their money back. After 28 December 2020, these buyers will no longer have the option to take legal action against the banks and developers who took their money but never delivered the promised homes. As such, the team at CostaLuz Lawyers is urging any buyer who has not yet taken action to do so without delay.

The financial crisis hit Spain’s property market hard, causing a string of developers to go bust. Buyers from around the world – and in particular from the UK, due to the country’s long-standing love of Spain – suddenly found themselves without the properties they had been promised and without any means of claiming back their deposits.

CostaLuz Lawyers and Keith Rule changed all that in 2012, when they used a 45-year-old law to win a class action for off-plan deposits of almost €1.5 million plus interest and costs. It meant that those who lost their deposits now had recourse to take legal action against the banks who took their funds, as well as the developers.

The CostaLuz Lawyers team, with Keith now onboard, has won 450 such off-plan cases, including 110 in 2019 and 70 in 2020 despite the pandemic closing down much of the judicial system in Spain. Altogether, the CostaLuz Laywers team has won around €22 million for clients who lost off-plan deposits, but time is running out for those who have yet to start legal proceedings.

“In many cases, buyers are nervous about ‘throwing good money after bad,’ but we’ve proven time and again that legal action is the only way to win back not just the buyer’s original deposit, but costs and interest as well. Any buyers who don’t take action at this stage are effectively saying goodbye to tens of thousands of pounds – and sometimes more – forever.”

Keith Rule, CostaLuz Lawyers

For more information, please contact CostaLuz Lawyers’ UK office on +44 1908 635 111 and speak with Keith. To speak with Maria in the Spanish office, call +34 956 092 687 or you can visit www.costaluzlawyers.es

Advantages of guarantor services still not fully understood within the private rented sector

Advantages of guarantor services still not fully understood within the private rented sector

United Kingdom
  • Housing Hand seeking to shed light on multiple benefits of using a guarantor company for covering rent performance
  • Guarantor services helping landlords, agents and tenants
  • Pandemic making such services more valuable than ever

UK rent guarantor service Housing Hand is seeking to clarify and confirm the advantages of guarantor companies to those operating in the private rented sector. It comes after the company revealed that there is still a common misconception among many letting agents that such services are only for the benefit of landlords. Some landlords, meanwhile, mistakenly believe that they won’t continue to receive full rent payments, should the tenant not be able to pay.

The way that guarantor companies work delivers a triple set of benefits, with landlords, letting agents and tenants all gaining protection as a result of using these services. Yet the advantages are not fully understood. That’s why we’re working to showcase the triple benefits of guarantor services for the rental sector.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand

The benefit to landlords is immediately apparent. Should the tenant become unable to pay part or all of their rent, the landlord has a safety net that means they won’t lose out financially – the rent guarantor company pays 100% of the rent for all valid claims.

This safety net benefits agents as well. Rent collection and maintenance charges only apply as long as the rent keeps being paid. If a tenant cannot pay, then the agent loses out as well as the landlord. However, with a rent guarantor company in place, both landlord and agent will continue to receive their income, despite the tenant’s inability to pay.

Of course, for the tenants the advantage comes from not having to move out or face a lengthy and stressful potential eviction process when they can’t pay their rent. They can instead remain in the property and repay the debt over a period of time.

“There are many different risks and priorities for landlords, agents and tenants these days. The economic impact of the pandemic is already starting to bite and is sadly likely to get worse as we head into 2021. That’s why rent guarantor services are so important right now.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

One issue around how rent performance may be underwritten needs specific clarity and we can use the Housing Hand example to demonstrate this. Housing Hand (as a guarantor company) operates guarantees as a professional service. It is backed by Lloyds syndicate insurance, delivers 100% pay-out and is governed by the landlord.

A company guarantor, meanwhile, is where a company that provides other services or products, may guarantee its employees’ rent. These are subject to the quality of the company and are typically not backed by specific insurance.

And then there’s rental guarantee insurance, which is where a landlord or letting agent, in conjunction with an insurance broker, issues a policy that covers rent with a more limited scope or value.

“We’ve spent nearly eight years now proving that the guarantor company model is the safest approach for tenants, landlords and agents. All three key stakeholders benefit from knowing that they will be protected from financial loss and from the incredible stress of an eviction process. The more the mutual benefits are understood across the private rented sector, the better it will be for all concerned.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Housing Hand

For more information please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/

Thousands paying up to €200 extra per month on their Spanish property mortgages

Thousands paying up to €200 extra per month on their Spanish property mortgages

Spain ,
  • Inclusion of Cláusula Suelo (Ground Clause) in mortgages provides potential for refunds
  • Affected property owners blocked from benefits of falling interest rates
  • CostaLuz Lawyers has already won many Ground Clause cases for UK owners

The Spanish property law experts at CostaLuz Lawyers are seeking to alert anyone who owns property in Spain that they may be able to claim refunds on their mortgage payments. The move follows a string of wins in the courts for property owners with a Cláusula Suelo (Ground Clause) in their mortgages.

The Ground Clause was included in many Spanish mortgages. It establishes a minimum interest rate applicable to mortgage repayments, meaning that variable rate or tracker mortgages never saw the benefits of falling interest rates filter through to the mortgage holders. In many instances, the banks issuing the mortgages did not clearly explain the implications of the Ground Clause. This has created the potential for mortgage holders to claim back the overpayments.

“While variable rate and tracker mortgages are linked to the Euribor rate, the inclusion of Cláusula Suelo meant that the interest rate could never drop below a much higher rate fixed by the bank. This has seen many mortgage holders paying several percentage points more in interest than they should have been over the past decade and more. We are keen to alert them that there is hope for having Ground Clauses removed from the mortgages and for reclaiming the overpaid interest.”

Keith Rule, CostaLuz Lawyers

When the markets crashed at the end of 2008, so did the Euribor rate. This meant that, from early 2009, mortgage holders should have been paying much lower interest. However, those with a Ground Clause in their mortgage weren’t able to do so.

CostaLuz Lawyers reports that the existence of the Floor Clause implies a surplus in mortgage repayments, in general, of around €200 per month. On a 130,000€ mortgage taken out in 2006 over 30 years at Euribor + 1%, with a 4.25% Ground Clause, the mortgage holder would be due a refund of overpaid interest of around €20,000. Successful cases also see the Ground Clause removed from the mortgage, meaning that the property owner can also benefit from lower monthly payments directly linked to the Euribor rate in future.

“Both the Spanish and European courts have ruled that banks must refund all the overcharged interest since the very first application of the Ground Clause, together with default interest and legal costs. This applies even where mortgage agreements have passed from bank to bank during mergers and acquisitions.”

Keith Rule, CostaLuz Lawyers

Banks are given three months to respond to initial Cláusula Suelo claims brought against them. This means that some property owners may receive refunds without going through the courts. Where banks refuse to engage, however, the CostaLuz Lawyers team is ready and waiting to take appropriate legal action.

The firm has already won nearly 850 claims (in relation to Cláusula Suelo and other legal matters) from Spanish property developers and banks. In the process, it has helped more than 1,500 clients from the UK and Ireland, as well as Spanish and European nationals. Now, by publicising the Ground Clause scandal more widely, the firm hopes to help even more property owners reclaim what is rightfully theirs.

For more information, please contact CostaLuz Lawyers’ UK office on +44 1908 635 111 and speak with Keith. To speak with Maria in the Spanish office, call +34 956 092 687 or you can visit www.costaluzlawyers.es

Pandemic opens people’s eyes to potential of working remotely from overseas

Pandemic opens people’s eyes to potential of working remotely from overseas

Spain ,
  • Terraces with golf, marina and sea views await those looking to ditch the commute for good (Taylor Wimpey España)
  • 24% of employees now working remotely (ONS)
  • Longer-term benefits of remote-first approach now more widely understood

As the UK ploughs on with the battle against COVID-19, the government has once more asked that all those who can work from home do just that. The pandemic has made families re-evaluate their home environment like never before, particularly in relation to space in which to work and outdoor space. Now, leading Spanish home builder Taylor Wimpey España is providing the ideal solution to both, with selected properties offering spacious terraces with stunning views as the ideal spot from which to work.

Even once the pandemic is under control, it’s likely that some of the lifestyle changes it brought about will stick. Many people’s eyes have been opened to how easily they can work from home and the lifestyle benefits that doing so can bring. As such, we’re catering to the needs of home-based workers not just for now but also for the longer-term.”

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España

The waterfront homes at Pier are a case in point. The two- and three-bedroom apartments provide east and south-east facing terraces with marvellous views of the prestigious Marina de Sotogrande. The spacious terraces are ideal for sitting outdoors with a laptop, working from home in an absolutely stunning setting. The key-ready homes are priced from €342,000 plus VAT. Would-be buyers can take a virtual tour to discover Pier for themselves.

The Office for National Statistics reported on 1 October 2020 that just 62% of people were working at their normal place of work, with 11% furloughed and 24% now working remotely. It’s unlikely that that quarter of the working population will all be keen to start commuting again when the time comes, particularly when many will have proved how productive they can be when based from home.

This opens up the idea of working remotely from locations other than home, once lockdown and travel restrictions ease. After all, a stable internet connection, a decent mobile phone signal and a laptop are all that many people now need to do their jobs effectively, regardless of their location. With Spain being only an hour ahead of the UK, working from there fits perfectly with working for a UK company.

“With the technology available to us now, there’s no longer the same need to be tied to a desk from 9 to 5. Increasingly, companies are understanding the benefits of remote working not just for their employees but for themselves. A remote-first approach can mean running a more cost-efficient operation with a lower carbon footprint thanks to the need for less office space and a reduction in employee commuting.”

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España

What better place, then, than a terrace in the Spanish sunshine as a base for working from home? At Emerald Greens, the terraces look out over the verdant greenery of Cadiz’s renowned San Roque Club. Starting from €296,000 plus VAT, the two- and three-bedroom apartments and penthouses, with their communal pools and landscaped gardens, offer a stark contrast to a life of urban commuting. Embracing open plan and ‘total living’ concepts, the homes have spacious living areas that flow into large, open terraces. Meanwhile the surrounding corn oak meadows are offset beautifully against views that stretch out over the golf course down to the sea.

For more information, please contact Taylor Wimpey España on 08000 121 020 or visit https://www.taylorwimpeyspain.com/. Those outside of the UK can call 00 34 971 706 972.

CostaLuz Lawyers releasing ‘mortgage prisoners’ through distressed holiday home service

CostaLuz Lawyers releasing ‘mortgage prisoners’ through distressed holiday home service

Spain
  • Global financial crisis saw 36% fall in Spanish house prices (INE)
  • Prices now falling again, with 3.1% drop between March and September (Tinsa)
  • CostaLuz Lawyers facilitating below market value sales of distressed holiday homes before repossession

As Spain battles to cope with the economic impact of COVID-19, figures from Tinsa show that house prices have fallen by 3.1% since March – and by 7.6% in the Balearic and Canary Islands. It means that the country recorded its first year-on-year price drop for four years in September, with an average fall in value of 0.6%.

Yet for some of those who own property in Spain, this is just the latest instalment in a negative equity story that stretches back well over a decade. According to CostaLuz Lawyers, many families who bought holiday homes in Spain back at the peak of the bubble that burst so spectacularly back in the mid-2000s are still trapped in huge negative equity situations.

“Spanish house prices fell by 36.3% from 2007 to 2015 and many buyers are still trapped owning properties that are worth significantly less than they paid 14 or 15 years ago. With the economic situations in the UK and Spain both deteriorating as a result of the pandemic, and house prices in Spain starting to fall once more, many banks are open to taking back properties in lieu of the pending mortgage debt.”

Keith Rule, CostaLuz Lawyers

Foreclosures in Spain were already on the increase before anyone had even heard the term “COVID-19.” According to the National Statistics Institute (INE), foreclosures in the first three quarters of 2019 were 11% up on the same period a year earlier. For new dwellings, that figure shot up to 36.9%.

Spanish banks are often keen to close such deals by the end of December, to tie in with the end of the financial year. This means that many British owners of negative equity homes in Spain will be feeling the pressure to give the keys back to the bank, particularly in light of prices now starting to fall once again. Yet these property owners are not without options.

“Homeowners facing this scenario often refer to themselves as ‘mortgage prisoners’ and believe there’s no way out of their predicament but that’s not necessarily the case. We offer two services that mean those trapped in negative equity can finally escape the situation.”

Keith Rule, CostaLuz Lawyers

CostaLuz Lawyers has a service that enables homeowners to offer their properties back to the bank in lieu of their outstanding mortgage debt, negotiating the property’s handover even when the amount of the debt is significantly higher than the value of the home.

However, the company doesn’t stop there. It also serves to pair those wanting a way out of negative equity with those looking to purchase a below market value property in Spain.

“Most services of this nature take the repossessed property after it has been returned to the bank, add on a percentage and then sell it. We take a different path. We negotiate the sale before the repossession, using legal arguments to show how this is favourable to both the bank and the owner. It’s also highly advantageous to the new buyer, who can usually pick up a property for around 60% of the price paid back in 2007.”

Keith Rule, CostaLuz Lawyers

There is no time limit on the sale of these distressed properties, meaning that both seller and buyer can work together to find a solution that suits all parties, with CostaLuz Lawyers coordinating the legal side of the process.

CostaLuz Lawyers is already renowned for helping over 1,500 clients from across the UK and Ireland claim back deposits previously considered lost on properties that were never finished or built following the financial crisis. Now, their distressed property service is helping another swathe of property buyers who were caught out by the crisis.

For more information, please contact CostaLuz Lawyers’ UK office on +44 1908 635 111 and speak with Keith. To speak with Maria in the Spanish office, call +34 956 092 687 or you can visit www.costaluzlawyers.es

From crisis to crisis – why don’t lessons from the financial crash apply to COVID-19?

From crisis to crisis – why don’t lessons from the financial crash apply to COVID-19?

Spain ,
  • Taylor Wimpey España highlights different buyer behaviours
  • Still plenty of liquidity in market
  • Limited travel, rather than money, is major barrier this time around  

The global financial crash wreaked havoc on many countries’ property markets, with the INE reporting a 36% drop in Spanish property prices over the following seven years. With local and national lockdowns in place across the world, many predicted that the same would happen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, leading Spanish home builder Taylor Wimpey España, which has been building homes successfully in Spain for over 60 years, reports a very different experience this time around.

“We’re seeing substantially different market dynamics as a result of the COVID-19 crisis than those that occurred due to the global financial crisis. Having operated through the 2006/07 crash and the difficult years that followed, we were braced for a similar experience this time around, but it hasn’t played out in the same way.”

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España

When the world’s economy stumbled back in 2006/07, Taylor Wimpey España saw a string of cancellations as buyers but this hasn’t happened with the pandemic. As the company’s Marc Pritchard points out, families who are buying off-plan homes don’t expect to use them immediately and so are still happy to progress their purchases. And there is still plenty of liquidity in the market. Wealthy buyers are, quite simply, not letting the pandemic interfere with their long-term plans. They can buy off-plan now, then use their property once it is complete, by which time matters such as COVID-related travel restrictions will no longer be an issue.

If anything, it is the travel restrictions that are the greatest challenge with this particular crisis, as they are preventing the initial viewings that are so key to the holiday home purchase process.

“The challenge with this crisis has been to put virtual viewing arrangements in place that get as close as possible to that in-person viewing experience. We’re doing all we can to turn that challenge into an opportunity, though, with live mobile tours of our show homes and also of our key-ready homes.”

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España

Botanic virtual tour

In the Costa del Sol, for example, potential buyers can tour the last few key-ready homes available at Grand View and Botanic. Those who want to ensure that they don’t miss out on the last chance to buy at the two stunning developments can take mobile tours with Taylor Wimpey España team members, who are on hand to answer questions and explore the property at the buyer’s pace.

Grand View is located at the prestigious La Cala Golf Resort in the valley of Mijas. The homes run alongside the resort’s Asia and America golf courses, opposite the Club House. With large terraces and spectacular views, the two- and three-bedroom properties have been popular both with golfers and with those looking for the natural serenity that such surroundings provide. Prices for the remaining few homes start at €290,000 plus VAT.

Botanic, meanwhile, is a unique development at La Reserva de Alcuzcuz. The buildings have been created around the principles of sustainability, ecology and bioclimatic architecture, with gardened areas forming a major part of the design. The development respects the variety of species and indigenous trees in the area, with vertical gardens and green corridors enveloping the residential buildings in a unique natural environment. Construction has taken place at different ground levels to provide an exceptional panorama of the surrounding natural environment. Botanic’s three-bedroomed homes are priced from €430,000 plus VAT.

For more information please contact Taylor Wimpey España today on 08000 121 020 or visit https://www.taylorwimpeyspain.com/. If you reside outside of the UK you will need to call 00 34 971 706 972.

Only My Share reveals new bloc management service

Only My Share reveals new bloc management service

United Kingdom
  • New B2B bloc management service covers entire houses and blocks of flats
  • Many landlords seeking new ways to protect their income
  • New service generating significant interest

Rent arrears protection service Only My Share has revealed a new business to business bloc management service, designed to help protect landlords and tenants from the harm caused by rent arrears. With the UK unemployment rate at a three-year high of 4.5% in the three months prior to August 2020, the timely launch should help to bolster confidence within the private rental sector even as the impact of the pandemic deepens.

Part of the Housing Hand family, Only My Share offers rent arrears protection to individual tenants. That means that tenants who rent rooms rather than whole flats or houses, along with their guarantors, are protected from being financially liable if a housemate doesn’t pay their rent under a joint and several clause.

Demand for rent arrears protection for tenants renting out individual rooms is rocketing. Users of our service shot up by 24% between March and September. That increase has been a driving factor behind the timely launch of our new bloc management service.”

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Only My Share

The new business to business bloc management service will enable accommodation providers to work directly with Only My Share, instead of relying on tenants to apply individually to the company. Available to providers of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and even to those renting out entire blocks of flats, the service means that it’s simple and efficient to provide building-wide coverage.

The new bloc management service has already generated plenty of interest. Only My Share has delivered workshops with partner agencies to spread the word on its latest development and to ensure a best practice approach of using Only My Share with the organisation’s customers.

“The easier it is for renters to access Only My Share’s rent protection service, the better. From students to working professionals, renters of individual rooms need to have the opportunity not to be reliant on their housemates’ financial situations for their own economic health. Rent debt is never nice to deal with, so we’re making it easier to avoid it happening by working with landlords through the new bloc management service.”

Edmund Fulford, Relationship Manager, Housing Hand

For more information please contact Only My Share today on +44 0203 887 2961 or visit https://www.onlymyshare.com

Would you buy a holiday home without setting foot in it?

Would you buy a holiday home without setting foot in it?

Spain ,
  • Taylor Wimpey España offering live mobile show home visits
  • Tourism spending unlikely to hit pre-pandemic levels before 2024 (McKinsey)
  • Reputation and trust now more important than ever

The global travel and tourism industry continues to feel the pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic. McKinsey projects that international tourist arrivals will drop by 60-80% this year, with tourism spending unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024. So where does this leave those building second homes?

According to leading Spanish home builder Taylor Wimpey España, it’s a question of adapting to the new normal and connecting with holiday home buyers in new ways. The company now provides pre-bookable live visits of its show homes, with staff using mobile devices to give prospective buyers the tours that they can’t make in person.

Seeing photographs and videos of a holiday home online is not the same as visiting the property. Mobile tours aren’t quite the same either, but they are vastly closer to that in-person experience. They provide the buyer with the chance to view the property at their own pace and to ask questions of staff while they do.”

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España

Buying a second home without seeing it in person remains a bold move. This is where the developer’s reputation comes into its own. With over 60 years’ experience of building homes along the coast of mainland Spain, as well as Mallorca and Ibiza, Taylor Wimpey España has the kind of credibility that engenders the trust needed to buy a second home during the pandemic.

The company is also delivering just the kind of homes that pandemic era buyers are seeking. At Green Golf in Estepona (Malaga), for example, buyers can purchase spacious, light-filled homes surrounded by the gently undulating course at Estepona Golf. Fresh air and natural greenery abound, providing a serene escape from the pressures of modern life and an attractive location to socially distance or even lock down.

Available from €299,000 plus VAT, the frontline golf, southwest-facing townhouses include three bedrooms, three bathrooms and large terraces. The private gated community has communal gardens and pools, all integrated into the spectacular surrounding scenery – and just 3km from the nearest beach.

For more information please contact Taylor Wimpey España today on 08000 121 020 or visit https://www.taylorwimpeyspain.com/. If you reside outside of the UK you will need to call 00 34 971 706 972.

Only My Share reports 82% increase in sales in midst of pandemic

Only My Share reports 82% increase in sales in midst of pandemic

United Kingdom
  • Sales up by 82% between March and September 2020 in comparison to the same period for 2019
  • Website rebrand driven by increased demand
  • COVID-19 pandemic making renters more aware of financial liabilities

Rent arrears protection service Only My Share has reported a steep rise in demand for its joint and several liability cover from tenants and landlords alike, as the COVID-19 pandemic serves to make renters more conscious of their financial liabilities.

Part of the Housing Hand family, Only My Share offers rent arrears protection to those who rent rooms individually (along with their guarantors), to prevent them from being liable should a housemate fail to pay their rent under a joint and several clause. The company saw its sales numbers climb by 82% between March and September 2020, in comparison to the same time period of 2019.

The COVID pandemic has caused many renters to reassess their living arrangements. With challenges and uncertainties around everything from job security to university placements, everyone is being a lot more cautious about their financial futures. For instance, as students have returned back to universities, parents do not want to be potentially liable for thousands of pounds of somebody else’s rent. This is driving demand for arrears protection for those renting out rooms.

Terry Mason, Group Operations Director, Only My Share

Driven by this increase in sales and the need for rent protection, Only My Share has taken the opportunity to rebrand its website. As well as making its site more intuitive for customers and delivering enhanced information, the new B2B service will allow landlords to purchase Only My Share protection on behalf of the tenant.

Only My Share primarily serves university students living in houses in multiple occupation (HMO) properties. However, 44% of its users are in the 25- 44 age bracket, meaning that it’s a product for the emerging “generation rent,” as renters of all ages realise the need for rent protection in these turbulent times. By enhancing the user experience, the company is ensuring that all those who need it get the best out of its website.

While the increase in interest in Only My Share has been driven to an extent by the global health crisis, it has served to make many more renters aware of the precarious position they are in. Potentially being liable for somebody else’s rent is never an ideal situation, so Only My Share is looking forward to continuing to help protect individual renters. The company is also on the brink of revealing a new business to business service offering.

“As understanding of rent arrears protection grows, we foresee a continuing increase in demand. The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t yet been fully felt. It’s encouraging that so many more people are protecting themselves from becoming liable for other tenants’ rent arrears before it is. The launch of our new website and our new B2B service will help those who are being cautious renting in the private market.”

Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Only My Share

For more information please contact Only My Share on info@onlymyshare.com or 0203 887 2961. You can also visit https://onlymyshare.com/

“You can’t hide from us!” – CLL offers fresh hope for owners scammed by ‘hidden’ developers

“You can’t hide from us!” – CLL offers fresh hope for owners scammed by ‘hidden’ developers

Spain
  • New hope for clients who lost money to developers posing as estate agents
  • Buyers have until 28 December to start legal proceedings
  • 100s of buyers in UK and Ireland could regain lost deposits

CostaLuz Lawyers has spent years helping clients who lost deposits on Spanish properties that were never built or never finished, winning nearly 850 cases against property developers and banks. Now, the firm is providing fresh hope for buyers who have previously been unable to take action to regain their lost deposits.

The new hope centres around growing case law in Spain in relation to ‘hidden’ developers. These are companies that operated as estate agents but were actually developers or co-developers, such as Ocean View Properties on the Costa Blanca and Palmera Properties on the Costa del Sol.

In these cases, this dual role of agent/developer was often hidden from the buyer. However, CostaLuz Lawyers advises that there is growing evidence that its existence opens up the possibility of the buyer claiming against such companies for a refund.

“These companies received huge amounts of off-plan payments for properties that were never built or never finished. Until now, they have escaped the rules of Law 57/68 by presenting themselves as estate agents, but there is now some strong case law stating that the developer is whoever takes the off-plan payments on account. That means there is a last chance for buyers to claim for refunds from these companies.”

Keith Rule, CostaLuz Lawyers

Law 57/68 is the regulation under which those who lost deposits have successfully claimed against developers and banks for a refund. Claimants should have started proceedings by 7 October but that deadline has now been extended to 28 December 2020. This means that those who are out of pocket have a new window of opportunity. According to CostaLuz Lawyers, this could affect hundreds of buyers in the UK and Ireland.

The CostaLuz Lawyers team has already helped over 1,500 clients in their quest for financial justice. Those who now want their shot at obtaining a refund need to start proceedings before the new December deadline.

“28 December is the date by which action has to be started. But that just means sending a Burofax or submitting the Preliminary Diligences procedure – the actual lawsuit can be filed later, provided this initial action has been taken before the deadline.”

Keith Rule, CostaLuz Lawyers

Cases submitted to Spain’s First Instance Court will take around two years to complete, while those that go on to the Provincial Appeal court could take around three. Any cases that go all the way to the Supreme Court could mean that buyers are looking at five to ten years before receiving a final ruling.

For more information, please contact CostaLuz Lawyers’ UK office on +44 1908 635 111 and speak with Keith. To speak with Maria in the Spanish office, call +34 956 092 687 or you can visit www.costaluzlawyers.es