CostaLuz Lawyers wins millions for retirees who thought their money was gone for good
- Spanish law firm has won nearly 500 cases for those who lost off-plan deposits
- Total wins for property owners now exceed €25 million
- Returned funds have given many retirees a significant boost
Losing tens of thousands of pounds can transform a dream retirement into a nightmare. Yet losing such sums became an all too familiar tale back in the mid-2000s, when the Spanish property market crashed. The global financial crisis meant that many second home buyers’ dreams of a sun-kissed retirement on the golf course or the beach instead turned into protracted legal battles.
For Brenda Wilkinson from Belfast, the dream was to buy a property overlooking the 18th hole at Sierra Golf in Murcia. Her husband was a keen golfer and the couple were looking for a holiday home that had the potential to serve as a retirement property.
Brenda paid £42,000 to Iberian International as a deposit but a visit to the site in 2008 to finalise the purchase revealed a poorly constructed home with an ‘underbuild’ that was full of mud. A neighbouring owner confided in Brenda that her own property was a mud-filled disaster.
Despite feeling pressured to sign the paperwork, Brenda refused, instead writing a list of complaints to the company. Nothing was done as a result of her complaints and, despite paying a solicitor, Brenda was unable to get her money back.
Brenda’s experience echoes that of John and Noleen Parkes, from Norfolk. Now in their mid-seventies, the couple paid €77,000 as a deposit on a property in La Marine, Alicante in February 2008, where they planned to live. When their developer failed to deliver, their lawyer informed them that there was no effective form of redress and that their money was lost.
Yet there was hope on the horizon. Brenda, who turns 64 this month, came across CostaLuz Lawyers, as did John and Noleen. The firm had grabbed property press headlines back in 2012 with a class action court victory over Finca Parcs, which saw almost €1.5 million in ‘lost’ deposits returned to Spanish second home buyers, many of them from the UK.
“We were delighted to act on behalf of Brenda and of John and Noleen, to try and win back their money and hopefully make a difference to their retirement plans. The Spanish justice system can move slowly but we were confident that both cases stood a good chance of successful outcomes, given the injustice of the claimants’ experiences.”
Keith Rule, www.costaluzlawyers.com
Both court cases, as expected, took several years to navigate the legal system. Brenda was delighted when, in June 2019, she received her full £42,000 deposit back. Additional payments awarded in October 2019 and August 2020 took that total up to over £50,000 including interest and costs.
In John and Noleen’s case, which has so far spent six years working its way through the Spanish legal system, CostaLuz Lawyers has already won back 75% of their deposit. A parallel court case is still being pursued and John and Noleen are confident that this separate and final case will also be brought to a successful conclusion.
“Many of our friends, whilst supportive, I suspect have quietly thought we were delusional in ever thinking we would recover our deposit. But we have done it. To say we are pleased and relieved is an understatement! We are very grateful and appreciative for the work CostaLuz Lawyers has done, and is continuing to do, on our behalf.”
While the deadline has now passed for those who lost off-plan deposits in the mid-2000s to initiate legal action, the CostaLuz Lawyers team remains busy with around 200 cases still in progress. The company is also working with those who have lost money in a range of other situations, from timeshares to mortgage prisoners trapped in negative equity for over a decade. In total, the company has won over €25 million for those who paid deposits on homes that were never finished or built, making a huge difference to many claimants’ retirement plans, often as much as a decade after they thought their money was gone for good.
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