This has been a significant year for many property clients who have spent years fighting to win cases against banks and real estate developers; or who purchased properties deemed illegal by the Junta de Andalucia.
The Spanish Supreme Court, the European Court of Justice and regional governments throughout Spain have introduced new rulings and regulations which have reinforced the protection of property owners.
Updated laws and regulation in 2019
The Spanish Mortgage Act was updated at the beginning of the year which saw property purchases saving money on stamp duty, mortgage expenses and commissions.
The new act also prevents banks from linking products, such as insurance and pension plans to the acquired mortgage.
The European Court of Justice (passed an extremely important decision) and ruled on a new law which favours mortgage holders in Spain, giving them greater protection against foreclosure on debts and abusive mortgage claims.
In September 2019, the Spanish Supreme Court ruled on foreclosure processes. This ensures that banks are made to remove abusive clauses and regulating minimum terms of executing a mortgage debt.
In Andalucía the local government brought in measures which see over 300,000 Andalusian rural properties legalised.
Meanwhile, the Spanish courts have been ruling against banks and real estate promoters who for many years have been avoiding responsibility for the hundreds and thousands of clients who purchased properties off-plan, which were illegally built or never completed.
In Valencia, both bank and developer were made liable for an off-plan project gone wrong and made responsible for payments made on a project that was never completed. And in Pamplona, judges ruled in favour of mortgage holders who had been duped into buying insurance policies linked to their mortgages
How Costa Luz Lawyers have helped clients
The Costa Luz lawyer team are renowned throughout Spain for our successes winning claims for our clients against banks and developers.
In 2019 we won 66 cases throughout Spain for our clients.
Most notably were cases against developers Aifos, Procobar, Grupo Masa, and Martinsa Fadesa, whose demise affected thousands of property clients.
Aifos: Our success against developer Aifos is great news for clients who had purchased an off-plan property. Aifos’ bankruptcy affected thousands of clients, however, the courts of appeal and first instances condemned Santander, who took over Banco Andalucia – Aifos’ bank – to issue an insurance policy to cover investments and off-plan payments.
We have won several cases against Aifos for our clients, including cases of investment into units purchased in the Hotel Guadalpin, which was named in Marbella’s infamous Malaya case against the mayor Jésus Gil.
Sierra Golf, Procobar: Many clients were affected following the bankruptcy of Procobar in Murcia. We have won cases for clients against the developer’s bank, BBVA.
Trampolin Hills: La Caixa is being condemned and made responsible for payments for the purchase of property in Trampolin Hills, because not only was the bank a project guarantor – a fact that La Caixa strongly denies – but it was also the deposit bank for payments to the promotion, and the bank’s involvement has received much media interest.
Grupo Masa Grupo Masa went into insolvency in 2015 and had their assets frozen by administrators, including properties purchased on the Camposol development.
Manilva Costa: We have celebrated important victories for our clients against Manilva Costa and are currently studying a new way of making claims for customers whose payments for the Ocean View project can not be proven.
There is case law that supports our theory and we are optimistic that we can help our clients recover their payments.
And the battle continues…
We are always seeking justice for clients.
Currently fighting cases in several Provincial courts, the Spanish Supreme and Constitutional Courts, and the European Court of Human Rights.
We understand better than any law firm that guarantees put in place for real estate development projects were put there by guarantors to protect buyers, not the developers themselves. Although these policies were signed with the insurer or bank, they are there to protect the end client.
The law recognises the duty of ‘active surveillance’ and attributes responsibility to the banks where promoters held their accounts. The banks must be able to demonstrate how they carried out their duty of vigilance.
They can no longer hide behind the excuse that a concept was not included in deposits made into their bank account.
We can also apply Law 57/68 from European Consumer Law, which states that a purchaser who has invested in several homes is still protected under the law provided that this is not their professional or business activity.
If you have been the victim of a real estate purchase gone wrong, please contact us for a no-obligation assessment of your situation.