We provide legal assistance in the recovery of advance payments against purchase of off-plan properties, under Law 57/1968, which regulates, among other matters, deposits given to a promoter for a house purchase.
Advance payments made to promoters or housing cooperatives against the purchase of unfinished off-plan properties can be recovered. The mentioned Law 57/68 “on the receiving of partial pre-payments for the construction and purchase of housing” and Sentence num. 773/2015 of the Supreme Court of 21 December 2015 obliges banks to answer for sums deposited with them.
Money invested by families in failed promotions or cooperative housing can be recovered. We claim for all advance payments from the start.
It is a very common mistake of the victims of failed property promotions, off-plan constructions and promotions of “ghost estates” to believe that nothing can be done if the promoter has gone bankrupt, is in bankruptcy proceedings or is of unknown whereabouts. And needless to say, if they go to the bank to demand an explanation, they will be told that it “is a third party to the agreement between buyers and sellers, with nothing to do with the procedure and that if the money is not there, that is not its fault.” What the banks do is take advantage of buyers’ lack of legal knowledge, even though banks have the obligation to ensure that the money paid in advance by buyers of off-plan property is put into a special account with a guarantee or insurance.
So, in accordance with the precedent set by the Supreme Court and Law 57/68, banks are responsible for returning sums which have been given as advance payment if the building is not carried out or has not been built in the agreed time.
In the years prior to the housing crisis, off-plan housing sales were frequent. With the outbreak of the crisis, numerous operations of this type ended with the promoter not delivering the finished property, so that the buyer was obliged to undertake actions to reclaim money prepaid and seek discharge of the contract signed.
On 21 December 2015, the Supreme Court gave a ruling setting a precedent that in this type of sale operation, banks which accept buyers’ advance payments in an account of the promoter without requiring the opening of a special account and the corresponding guarantee must answer to the buyers for the total of the prepaid amounts deposited in the promoter’s account or accounts in that bank. In that way, it recognised the joint responsibility of the bank and the promoter, and opened up the possibility of claiming from either.
The First Chamber of the Supreme Court again sentenced favourably about the return of advance payments made by a buyer on the island of Fuerteventura, ordering the bank to return no less than €107,800.00, so helping to set the legal precedent of “return of advance payments made for property purchase.”
If you have bought a house under construction and lost the money you paid in advance, you can claim if you meet the following conditions: