am new to the forum and have a problem. I'm going to try and put down here in order, what happened to me and then the questions at the end. It''s a long story, but the lawyers I am using are confusing me, and now being on the third lawyer(who I haven't even met yet) since my last two lawyers have both left the company, is shaking my confidence in them. There are other things which they have told me which also which have also caused me to lose faith, but let us start from the beginning - it;s easier.
I have been sued by my old landlord .
He is trying to say that I never returned him the keys to his apartment when I left.
I rented his apartment for 22 months, and paid very monthon time all bills. I left the apartment end of July 2006 , as we bought our own place. I advised the owner(verbally) and he came the day I left the apartment to inspect it.It was then he informed he would be keeping my bond(some made up reasons such as damage to apartment and because he couldnt rent it out in August. etc - he invented them on the spot). He then left saying he would denounce me - I was angry but could do nothing and left it at that.
After this time he began sending me a Burofax but to the address of his apartment where I no longer was living, plus he then sent it to my girlfriend where she works twice. He was basically saying that we were still living in his apartment and not paying the rent. Since this was a pack of lies and he knew it, we ignored them. (she
He never renewed the contract with me whilst living there once it expired after the first 11 months, he simpy said it automatically renewed even though the contract actually states no-prorrogable (non renewable)
His only hold on me is that there was never a record that the keys were given back. He had them when he left the apartment so I just closed the door behind me and left. Then 5 months later we received court papers and a date for the hearing, surprised...I was!
We then found a lawyer (number 1)who said he could help but that the case was a hard one, as even though we could prove we had bought an apartment, that there was no electric or water usage in the landlords apartment for the last 5 months etc etc, since we had no proof to show we handed him the keys,to pardon the pun, was the key to his case and important. Since we had no record of having given it back we couldnt say we had terminated the contract with him.
I had many witnesses who could vouch for me saying that I have been living elsewhere plus a witness who helped me move house. I even later discovered a witness from the office of the urbanisation who told me that she also knew that the apartment was clean and empty as the landlord had asked her to arrange cleaners to go in after we left, proving he had the key and knew it was empty.
We subpoened her for court as even though I begged her to come as a witness she would not, since she could lose her job for upsetting the owners. Laughably, in Spain a subpoena means nothing and unlike the UK where you must turn up, here it is optional and she didnt bother coming to the courts on the day of the case.The funny thing was that when the landlord heard of me trying to get her as a witness he immediately called his lawyer to say that if we gave him 1500 euros he would drop the case., fishy...?
The day came and we went to court and a few months later we won, I was ecstatic, the righteous conqeour over the bad, just like in the films...or was it.
He's appealing, says my lawyer, We get the date, 16th September. Another strange thing in Spain is that unlike in the UK where everyone that was in the original case must show up again, over here it's just some judges in a room overlooking the original case with no witnesses or lawyers present to argue the case. Even if you want to have witnesses there you have to ask first, and even then the judge can say no.
Well guess what, 18th December we get the decision, the bad guy wins, we owe him 7 months rent pus his court costs. No appeals as this decision is final. Apparently the judge sees it that even the the contract was non renewable and no new contract was signed, it automatically turned into a permanent contract (no actual hard evidence of this just his opinion) and that the fact we never returned the key means we lose, he is in the right.
Now if that was not injustice enough, now I get to meet lawyqer number 2, who I actually know from before. He tells me there is nothing we can do. He can embargo my wages, and any goods I have, bank accounts etc to get the money, and the worst and most heartbreaking is that he can also embargo my 50% of the house, and try sell it at public auction. I am on benefits to due to the current situation which end in May, so he cant get any money there. I have some money in my bank accounts which is used to keep paying the mortgage, but that is only dole money so it's not gonna last long. We also have the joint mortgage account which only has enough for one mortgage payment in it.
The best thing to do says mr laywer is empty my account of any money and change the mortgage account into my girlfriends name. This all happened just before Christmas when I recevied the sentencing. Mr lawyer says he will call the other lawyer to see what the situation is and how it can be resolved, The fact that my mortgage is worth more than the house doesnt go well for an embargo ,but seeing what this guy has already done i wouldnt put it past him.
So off we go for christmas, and I am awating news from my laywer, but seeing as I still had heard nothing as of yesterday, I called to speak to number 2, but he's now also left teh company which leaves me with number 3 lawyer. He immediately advises me that I shouldnt be doing any of the things that number 2 lawyer has said to do! Now this is why Im very confused. Lawyer number 3 doesnt seem all there, even though he runs the office, as I had to keep suggesting things to him instead of the other way around. He then tells me that we only had 20 days in which to pay of this debt or the other guy can start proceedings to find out what I have and where he can get his money. NOW he tells me, why didnt they mention this when they got the sentencing I ask?How am I supposed to know how it works if they dont tell me?Plus if he goes to find out what I have and hwere, I also have to pay for these costs too! I am fuming with this guy. And if I hadnt called him, when was he going to call me? "The other lawyer only left a week ago" he says.
So now I am left not knowing what to do. Now the questions.
1.Is there a process or procedure that the other guy has to follow in order to get his monies, or can he just decided where to start first i.e. the house?
2.How likely is it that a judge will put up my house at auction if the guy did decide to do it, seeing as the debt is about 7000-8000 euros ( I calculate - my lawyer hasnt even found out how much I owe and its been 5 weeks)
3. If it did go up for auction, and the mortgage currently is at least 30000 more than the value of the property, how would that work if someone did buy 50% of my house? Would they have to pay a minimum of 50% of the mortgage which corresponds to my 50% of the house plus the monies owed to this guy?If so, surely noone would would even consider such a bad deal?
4. If that was the case and it didnt sell, whats his next move?
5. Is there a process like in the UK where you go to court and show how much you can afford to pay before a judge, they then stamp it and you continue to pay one pound a week like some people seem to do in the UK?Or is it just a matter between me and him, and even if I make an offer he can turn it down and that;s that?
6.Basically what are my options, what can I do, what can't I do?PLEASE HELP
If anything needs clarification or anyone has any views please let me know.
Thanks for your time.