It is an unfortunate fact that the legal system in Spain is at times desperately slow. Anyone considering buying a house in Spain is advised to find a good Spanish lawyer before signing anything at all and before parting with any money.
David Wright has just started a new blog to share his unfortunate experience of buying property in Spain with other people. See the first entry below.
Users interested in following his story as the final part unravels (and as, we hope, justice is finally done and the Wrights win the home and compensation they deserve) should check out his blog: Slow legal system where he intends to keep people updated with events as and when they happen.
Considering tourism and housing investment bring considerable amounts of wealth to Spain, the Spanish law system is appalling slow and expensive.
At the begginning of 2000 we enetred into a contract to buy a house, paid the 10% deposit and arranged a date with the notary and respective lawyers to complete. The seeler did not turn up and decided not to sell. THE BIG SURPRISE… he also would not repay the 10 % deposit never mind the penalty of 10%. Our only alternative was litigation. As we were not living in Spain at the time we left a deposit with a lawyer who told us that it would be a straightforward case.
Well our case was finally heard in the local courts some 18 months later and we “won” including costs. However, the seller chose to appeal on what I understand to be very flimsy grounds. Some 2 years later the case was reheard in the Regional courts of Malaga where the original decision was upheald.
ie we “won” again. However, the seller again decided with his lawyer that an appeal was in order and so we have been waiting almost 2 years for the case to come before a judge in MAdrid’s high court!!! We still do not have a date nor can the system give us an estimated date as to when the case will be heard.!!!
WHAT CAN fellow EURORESIDENTES learn from this? I believe the following:
1: Entering litigation is very expensive – even though we have “won” twice, we have still had to pay our lawyers fees and costs even though the costs were awarded in our favour. The amount equates roughly to 17% of the purchase/contract price!!!! per hearing.
At this point we have paid almost 50% of the orginal house contract price, (deposit plus fees)
2: The seller continues to live in the property and with no penalty or change.
3: We have no idea of timescale as to when the High court can hold the hearing.
4: The so called filtering process that was supposed to be implemented to stop people using the appeal process to delay matters as a tactic does not function.
5: The seller is not obliged to pay the costs awarded against them IF they choose to appeal….SO APPEALING is a good tactic to frustrate.
6: So having a contract from a good lawyer and within the letter of the law, still does not really protect your rights in a timely manner. WHAT then is the point of a contract? it is only worth something to the lawyers in preperation for litigation!!!
7: Perhaps the law will one day help us to retrieve our deposit and costs or even the holiday home we wanted to live in and enjoy in the future. However in the meantime, it has only benefited the lawyers and the vendor.
8: So the law can still be seen as having no “teeth” and benefits the unscrupulous property owner/seller. TAKE GREAT CARE.
Finally, if anyone has any suggestions as to what can be done to improve the law or indeed speed up the process then let me know