Spanish lawyer gives hope to thousands over lost dream home deposits

Published:  15 Jun at 6 PM
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Knowing your legal rights as an expat in Spain, it seems, is the first step in winning back your life savings form property scammers.

Adolfo Martos, a long-standing lawyer with offices in Malaga and Marbella as well as a dedication to help scammed expats, has the core advice of how to beat the snails-paced Spanish courts. Hanging on in there and insisting on your rights, no matter how long it takes, he says, will win every time.

Now the chair of the international legal group ‘TEN, The European Network’, has started a new crusade helping expats to finally receive refunds for their deposits paid on off-plan homes which were never built. The scam was popular for decades in Mediterranean expat retirement hotspots as well as in other favourite expat destinations.

In Spain, it’s estimated there are 100,000 out-of-pocket Brit expat investors who fell foul of less-than honest developers. Most of those affected lost their life savings of between 20 and 80 thousand euros and had all but given up on getting justice from the Spanish courts. The majority have been waiting since the 2008 recession kicked in and Spanish banks closed their doors to the withdrawal of deposit monies when developers declared bankruptcy. T

he first hope for expats who’d lost out came late last year with the Spanish Supreme Court ruling that banks are now liable to repay any deposits paid into accounts after being taken as down payments for off-plan schemes which did not materialise. Previously, banks had stated they were not liable to repay deposits unless a bank guarantee scheme was legally in place between the bank and the developer.After the ruling, claimants can now receive not only their original deposits but also interest on the money and legal fees paid.

The onus is now on the banks to check every single contract between 2008 and the end of 2015 to determine whether the development was completed as promised, whether it fell short or had problems or even did not happen at all. Court action can be taken up to 15 years after the properties’ promised completion date or by October 2020. Developers at that time promised buyers they had the correct bank guarantee paperwork, but many dodgy agents either failed to mention the scheme or deliberately lied, leaving buyers’ deposits unprotected until now.
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