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El blog de Maria

Your daily Spanish Law reporter. Have it with a cafe con leche.
www.costaluzlawyers.es

Legal tip 1001. NEW Rules for Community of Owners in Spain- June 2013- Part II
31 July 2013

* 1/3 OF ALL OF OWNERS AND SHARES

-Installation of telecommunications infrastructure or adapting of existing ones.

-Installing common or private systems of renewable energy.

-Installing energy-supply infrastructure groups.

*MAJORITY OF ALL OWNERS AND SHARES (50% +1)

-Works or service establishment in order to abolish architectural barriers where the amount exceeds twelve months of community fees and, in any case, the establishment of  the lift. Once the agreement is made, all owners will be obliged to pay the related expenses even if these exceed the amount of the twelve monthly installments.

* 3/5 OF ALL OWNERS AND SHARES

-Establishment or abolition of concierge services, concierge, security and other common services of general interest. The lease of common elements that are not assigned to a specific use in the building.

-The establishment or removal of equipments and systems that are designed to improve energy or water efficiency of the property (other than collective systems for the use of solar energy or other collective energy supplies).

-The material division, aggregation, new plant construction, substantial alterations (enclosure and surround).

-Improvement Works.

* UNANIMOUSLY

For those agreements which are not expressly regulated in art. 17 involving the adoption or amendment of the rules contained in Title or statutes.

* SIMPLE MAJORITY

For the rest of the agreements.

VOTES OF ABSENT OWNERS

Except in those cases where you cannot pass on the cost of a service to those owners who did not vote in favor of the agreement at the meeting or in cases in which the modification or utilization is of individual use, general rule is that the owners not attending the meeting who do not express their disagreement to the resolution adopted within 30 days of notification of the agreement, will have their vote counted as in favor of the adopted resolution.

Vejer de la Frontera, Cadiz, Southwestern Spain, by Costadelaluzvideos at Facebook



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Legal tip 1000. Spanish Courts under auditing
31 July 2013

A great new for the post number 1000 of our blog.

A new commission with members of  Spain General Attorney office and the  Spain General Council of Judicial power will be reinforcing inspections on Courts, having control meetings every four months.

Suggestions?

Beach of Castilnovo, Conil de la Frontera, Southwestern Spain, by Costadelaluzvideos at Facebook



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Legal tip 999. Great Tarifa is saved!
31 July 2013

Great article by Mark Stucklin of Spanish Property Insight
HomeInsightCosta de la Luz, Property news, Tarifa › Beach at Tarifa saved from over-development by new planning laws for the Andalucian coast

Tarifa Beach

The beautiful beach of Playa de Valdevaqueros near Tarifa is to be saved from over-development by new planning laws expected any day from the Regional Government in Seville.

When the town hall of Tarifa announced plans a year ago to develop the area around the unspoilt beach of Valdevaqueros with a hotel and new homes there was an outcry, especially in social media. In response the newly appointed regional Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and the Environment, Luis Planas, said he would revise planning laws on the coast to prevent cases like this.

The Valdevaqueros development plan proposed by Tarifa’s town hall has cross-party support, so almost all the local politicians supported it. The outcry came from disgusted citizens, not the political class.

The new plan for the Andalucian coast line will be ready on the 29th of this month, according to the press. The amended plan will reduce the number of new homes that can be built within 500 metres of the beach by 25pc, from 187,000 to 143,000, according to reports.

Valdevaqueros beach will be given maximum protection or ‘Protection 1′ under the new planning laws, and 55% of the total area of the Andalucian coast will be protected, 86% if one excludes the areas that are already considered urban zones.

The potential developments that have been affected are the ones that had planning permissions reliant on the Plan General de Ordenación Urbana (General Guide for Urban Planning) drawn up in the 1990s.

As well as construction, all activities that may cause erosion or that may alter the countryside’s appearance or ecosystem will be prohibited in Protection 1 areas.

The new laws will delight environmental activists who have looked on in disbelief as Spain has rapidly urbanized its coastline. Press reports say environmentalists hope that Andalucia has set a precedent for other Spanish regions to follow in protecting their coastlines.

Tarifa’s unique identity under threat from local politicians

Tarifa

As a fan of Tarifa for many years, I’ve been keeping an eye on their town plan proposals, and it has always amazed me how little the local politicians understand what attracts visitors to their town.

Tarifa is special because it has developed an intoxicating identity blending elements like the hippy trail, surfer-dude and chill-out. People do not go to Tarifa for golf courses and high-rise buildings, which is exactly what local politicians want to introduce. If they get their way Tarifa will become just another stretch of over-developed Spanish coast, with more wind.

Tarifa needs to be developed, of course, but in its own special way. To get a better idea of what attracts people to Tarifa, read this article about property in Tarifa.

The change to planning laws on the Andalucian coast is welcome news, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the changes contravene the new Coastal law, and lead to administrative confusion – a Spanish speciality. 

Beach of Bolonia, Tarifa, Southwestern Spain, by Costadelaluzvideos at Facebook



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Legal tip 998. NEW Rules for community of owners in Spain- June 2013- Part I
30 July 2013

Horizontal Property Act, modifications since 28th of June 2013

CHANGES

Article 2: The LPH ( Ley de Propiedad Horizontal) shall also apply to  sub-communities and urban conservation entities where so provided in its Estatues.

 

Article 3: Improvements or damages of every unit will not alter the community  quota/fee, which can only be varied in accordance with the provisions of Articles 10 and 17 of this Act.  Each owner can freely transfer his rights with no  division of comprising elements and  without affecting obligations attached to this particular property regime.

 

Article 9.1.c: Every property has an easement to allow access to his property  not only for the creation of common services of general interest but also for the execution  of works and activities according to this Act.

 

Article 9.1.e: Purchaser of a home or building in horizontal property regime, even with title registered in the Land Registry, is liable before Community of owners, as the bought property is attached to that liability, for community quotas of the year of acquisition and those of the three previous years.

 

Article 9.1.f: The reserve fund may be used not only to maintenance and repair works but now also to rehabilitation.

 

Article 10: In terms of works:

a) They are mandatory and do not require the authorisation of owners, those arrangement works imposed by the Administration or requested by the owners in the following cases:

-Maintenance, conservation and those necessary to meet basic safety, habitability, accessibility  requirements as well as  conditions of ornament.

-Works related to general conservation obligation when they are being imposed by the Administration.

-Necessary works to  ensure reasonable  accessibility and, in any case,  those works required by owners or users with disabilities or owners who are older than seventy years, in order to assure the proper use of the common elements and the installation of ramps, elevators or mechanical and electronic devices that favor the communication with the outside provided that the cost does not exceed twelve months of community fees.

As a novelty,  these works can be requested either by  homeowners or local owners.  There is no further reference to  economic family unit.

-No prior agreement  of community of owners is also necessary for  material division acts, acts of aggregation, construction of new plants and otherwise altering the structure or fabric of the building or common things as well as the establishment of a real estate complex  if they are made as a  result of the Property being included  in the  scope of  a  urban rehabilitation, regeneration or renewal project.

Payment of the works: the costs of the necessary repairs shall be borne by all owners who will just decide on amounts to be paid and payment schedule

b) Require administrative approval, in any case:

-Creation or modification of the building complex  of art. 17.6 of Land Act.

-Material division, aggregation, new plant construction, substantial alterations (enclosure and surround) if there is an agreement of the 3/5 of all owners and share holders.

Both setting new quotas and the nature of the works in case of discrepancy  require agreement of  3/5 of all owners and share holders.

Vejer. By CostadelaLuz Videos at Facebook



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Legal tip 997. Limited Liability for Enterprenurs in Spain: home protection
29 July 2013

A new figure: Limited Liability Enterpreneur

This new figure allows the individual entrepreneur prevent, under certain conditions, liability for business or professional debts to affect his family home.

Requirements: 

1.  Home house cannot be linked to operations of the business

2. Value cannot be higher than 300,000 Euros

3. It needs to be communicated and  specified to Company Registry  when registering as and Entrepreneur

4. It needs to be registered in the Land Registry.

All this can be processed  through electronic means in less than 12 business hours. 

Liability restriction  does not covers:

1) Previous debts

2) Non professional or business obligations.

3) Public Law debts (Taxes or Social Security)

Public law claims just can affect homes if: 

No other assets can be enforced

- Two years have passed between initial notification of seizure and actual

"Casa en el numero 3 de la Plaza Aliatar", El Albayzin, Granada, Southeastern Spain, by Landahlauts, at flickr.com



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Legal tip 996. Costa de la Luz videos
29 July 2013

Great  FB site of  Costa de la Luz for your fun and delight!

https://www.facebook.com/costadelaluzvideos

"Casa abandonada", Andalucia, Southern Spain, by Maximo Lopez, at flickr.com

 



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Legal tip 995. Self Employed NEW support in Spain
28 July 2013

New amendments adopted  last Thursday, the 25th of July, on Entrepreneurs Act. A very important one:  expansion of Social Secirity ‘flat rate’ (50€) for all new entrepreneurs irrespectively of age.

New Social Security fees reduction for self-employed disabled people and higher deductions when hiring them.

10% Company tax reductions if benefits are reinvested on the company also for companies with business volume over 10 million Euros.

Cooperatives and Work Societies are included as Special in the Company Tax regime andTechnology Innovation is supported with I+D (Investment and development) benefits.

Individual people lending money to  new created companies will enjoy a 20% reduction on IRPF (Annual Income taxes) with a minimum of 50.000€ so private capitals are directed to new companies.

New measures have also been taken on Sport Clubs and Entities.

 Tarifa and its beach "Los Lances", Tarifa, Cadiz, Southwestern Spain



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Legal tip 994. Information for Foreigners in Spain
26 July 2013

 
 
Information for Foreigners
This section provides detailed information necessary for foreigners who want to visit Spain.
 
 
  • Entry Requirements
    This section describes the different requirements currently in force for entering Spanish territory.
     
  • Airport Transit Visa
    This visa entitles its holder to go through the international transit area of Spanish airports.
     
  • Uniform Schengen Visa
    Procedures and conditions for issuing these visas can be found in Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a Community Code on Visas.
     
  • Long-Term Visas
    These visas entitle their holders to reside, work, study or research in Spain.
     
  • Foreigners' Identity Number (N.I.E.)
    Foreigners having an economic, professional or social connection with Spain may apply personally for an N.I.E.
     
  • Formalities after Entry into Spain
    Once a visa has been issued, there are certain formalities which must necessarily be carried out in Spain.
     
  • Nationality
    This section describes the different ways in which Spanish nationality may be acquired.
     
  • Legalisations
    Legalisation is an administrative act whereby a foreign public document is validated, by verifying the authenticity of the signature on the document, and the capacity in which the signatory of the document has acted.
     
  • Tourism in Spain
    Spain is the world's leading destination for holiday tourism, and the second most visited country in the world.
     
  • Working in Spain
    Here are some guidelines for people who want to work in Spain.
     
  • Studying in Spain
    This section includes some basic considerations and a series of links to further information.
     
  • Residing in Spain
    Foreigners wishing to reside in Spain must have prior authorization to do so. Once said authorization has been obtained, it shall be necessary to obtain the corresponding visa allowing entry into Spain.
     
Print
 
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Twitter

 
 
  • 26 Jul @MAECgob *¡Recuerda inscribirte en nuestro Registro de Viajeros si te vas al extranjero estas vacaciones!https://t.co/8xQABoDeMt
  • 26 Jul @MAECgob *¡Abierto el plazo de inscripción para prácticas profesionales en 2014 en las Instituciones de la UE!http://t.co/PAYDGuS6HY
  • 26 Jul @MAECgob * Ya se encuentra operativo el espacio "trabajar en la UE" en la nueva página web de la REPER. Descúbrelo!http://t.co/Yt7dWf0fO1
 

Featured

 
 
  • Inscríbete en el Registro de Viajeros
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Casa abandonada, Granada, Southeastern Spain, by Maximo Lopez, at flickr.com
 
 

 



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Legal tip 993. Investing in Spain
26 July 2013

Today´s conversation with a client:

1. Client to us:

Hi Maria

(…)

Good to see you have had success with Finca Parcs. I think you will be busy with cases like this for several more years yet!

Best regards

Sean

2.- Us to client:

Dear Sean:

Thanks for your email.

(…)

Yes, we are receiving massive number of clients requesting our assistance for similar cases. Keith Rule is now a member of the team and that is being a tremendous help. He is so efficient and knows the matter so well.

You know what? I know that we will be involved for years in this type of cases but…. I would cetainly like not to be. Why? Because my real desire from the beginning has been to have people coming and settling in Spain. For the good of the economy. We need many foreign investors and foreign buyers returning. That´s why I have Keith Rule now in charge of all the Actions against Bank cases as I will be developing a new venture for attracting foreign people and money. I will tell you more on this soon!

Kindest regards,

Maria L. de Castro

Casa en Calle Plegadero alto esquina con Placeta Cristo de los Favores, Granada, Southeastern Spain, by Landahlauts, at flickr.com

 

 



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Legal tip 992. Humble pie and authority
22 July 2013

 A great article posted on IESE Newsletter

Want to Show Authority? Try a Bit of Humble Pie

Argandoña Rámiz, Antonio

 

 

Original document: Reputación y humildad en la dirección de empresas

Year: 2013

Language: Spanish

 

 
The moral dimension of the financial crisis has led to renewed interest in the ethics of executives, governments and regulatory bodies.

Of all the virtues expected of an executive or government official, humility is especially important, and yet it has been largely overlooked in the realm of economics.

This is probably due to an incomplete or misguided notion of what it means to be humble, why it's important, and how being modest contributes to the success and reputation of the organization as well as the leader.

IESE Prof. Antonio Argandoña aims to set the record straight, offering ideas for reflection on this essential virtue.

Greater Moral Authority
People often think that humility is incompatible with showing the authority necessary for being a leader.

That couldn't be farther from the truth: A leader who is truly humble, and is perceived as being so by others, will ultimately have far more authority than an arrogant leader.

Self-knowledge is the first and foremost expression of humility. People who are humble neither overestimate their virtues nor disparage themselves. Having high self-esteem does not make them pretentious. They constantly evaluate themselves and realize they are not infallible.

This self-awareness includes recognizing what they owe to others: Humble individuals do not take credit for all of their strengths and achievements; instead, they value and appreciate the help they receive from others.

Another quality associated with humility is a sense of transcendence, the tendency to act according to an ambitious ideal. That is why being humble also entails being demanding of oneself.

Humility often goes hand in hand with other virtues, such as objectivity, simplicity, the desire to learn and patience with others.

Traits of Humble Leaders
Humble leaders won't boast about their strengths, but they won't deny or conceal them either. Nor will they hide their shortcomings, deficiencies and mistakes.

As such, they do not seek praise from others or feel hurt by criticism. They are grateful to discover how others perceive them, since it can raise their self-awareness.

When it comes to evaluating others, humble individuals are aware that everyone else is probably better than they are in some way, so they tend to judge others less strictly than they would judge themselves.

Humble leaders also tend to avoid comparing their qualities, merits, knowledge and achievements with those of others. If forced to do so, they try not to rate themselves as superior. They pass judgment if necessary, but look for the silver lining whenever possible.

This openness gives way to additional virtues associated with humility, such as generosity, respect and a spirit of service. In particular, they will acknowledge the merits of their peers. They will request, accept and acknowledge their ideas, suggestions and tips. They will never be envious of the successes and qualities of others.

Successful Leadership Qualities
Why should a humble leader be put at the helm of an organization?
  • They tend to make fewer mistakes. Their natural inclination for introspection and their willingness to accept outside criticism generally give them a good idea of what their limitations and capabilities are.
  • Their interpersonal relationships tend to be more genuine and simple, since they do not crave flattery.
  • They tend to be sincere in both their criticism and praise, highlighting the positive aspects of the other person's behavior, without skipping over the negative ones, which can help them improve.
  • They tend to seek collaboration, to offset their shortcomings and capitalize on the standout qualities of fellow team members.
  • They will likely pay more attention to the common good of the organization than to their own self-interests.
  • Acknowledging their limitations drives them toward the active pursuit of excellence.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Playa de Conil" ("Beach of Conil"), Conil de la Frontera, Cadiz, South western Spain, by Landahlauts, at flickr.com


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Legal tip 991. What Keith Rule victory means
22 July 2013

Back in 2008, when Keith Rule contacted us to fight against Banks using Law 57/68 there were just one Court Decission which could back our battle and some lawyerslaughing at our attempts

Along the following years Keith started the Finca Parcs website as well as the Bank Guarantees in Spain petition. We started to study cases and Law doctrine on a continued basis and write articles and posts on this. Continued daily efforts since September 2008 when he first contacted us, mainly promoted by him and his wish to make justice for him and other victims of same problem.

From 2008 to 2013, Case Law backing his perspective started to proliferate, possibly in part due to Keith constant fight and exposure of the problem before authorities and victims and our legal writtings in English and Spanish. Many lawyers started to see and understand the angle which has been unused in the past.

Of course Keith Rule did not discover Law 57/68  but he certainly promoted a new way to use it and the application of provision 1.2 which had been non existent to the date. Both Hellin and Albacete used these new arguments to give victory to our clients. Keith insisted on liabilities when no Bank Guarantees were issued as the frank boy in the Emperor´s new cloth. Law was there but no one has applied it before as he suggested us to do.

Keith has received congrats from many lawyers in Spain as well as that of his Government and Ambassador in Spain, just one lawyer is still questionnig the sincerity and the value of his actions: that´s just life.

Keith has now joined our team and we are full steam to work for other people in similar situations.

A huge thanks and admiration again for his work

Maria

"Flores en la fuente de cordoba", Córdoba, Southern Spain, by jose angel, at flickr.com

 



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Legal tip 990. Keith Rule and a congrats to Spain
16 July 2013

He tells that persistence and sense of justice are not easy tasks but they  bring you to success, joy and plenitude at the end. More than a matter of recovering money ( which is also important for many families), it has been a matter of challenging the system. Enhancing people´s protection before Banks.

He also tells on how collaboration work makes the difference. His work has been enormous and essential for the work of lawyers and barristers in charge. This has achieved a full change of the way Banks will behave in the future in Spain when dealing with Off plan deposits.

It is so good my country legislation has been able to give the right floor to him! And so good there are wonderful, people-oriented judges in Spain.

Congratulations to Keith and his group members, to our team and De Castro team, to Judges, to Banks which are now understanding and settling for clients out of Court in some cases...

Congratulations to Spain and Spanish Law too.

"Zahara de los Atunes 8". Houses on the Beach of the Bunker, Atlanterra, Zahara, Cádiz, Southwestern Spain, by Asier Llaguno, at flickr.com



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Legal tip 989. Finca Parcs Victory in Daily Mail
16 July 2013

 

ARTICLE IN DAILY MAIL – 11 JULY 2013

Hope for thousands of Britons who lost fortunes in Spanish property ventures after ex-pats win legal battle with bank to return £1.3million

  • Keith Rule spent hours trawling the Internet for help after a bank refused to return his £45,983 deposit on a villa which was never built
  • He took on bank bosses after discovering a 45-year-old property law
  • Not only has he got his money but he has helped win back nearly £1.3million for 46 other buyers
  • The 46-year-old impressed lawyers so much he has been asked to work with them on a part-time basis

By Gerard Couzens

PUBLISHED:UPDATED:

A laundry owner who feared losing life savings in a Spanish property scandal is celebrating after helping lawyers win a landmark legal case which has given hope to thousands of wronged Brits.

Father-of-two Keith Rule, 46, spent hours trawling the Internet with the help of Google translator after a bank refused to return his £45,983 deposit on an off-plan villa never built because of the economic crisis.

He took on bank bosses after discovering a 45-year-old property law making them jointly responsible with promoters for returning guaranteed deposits on failed developments.

Now the businessman has not only got his money back - but helped win back nearly £1.3 million for 46 mostly British buyers whose dreams of villas on the same development in south east Spain were scuppered.

Mr Rule, from Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, impressed the Costa lawyers he instructed to take their case on so much, they asked him to work for them on a part-time basis.

He now combines the day-to-day running of his firm on an industrial estate in his home town with his new job preparing case files for other Brits engulfed in the drama that swept him up when Spanish savings bank CAM washed its hands of buyers after an initial promise of a bank guarantee seven years ago.

Last night Mr Rule, described as a 'dog with a bone' by one of the lawyers who agreed to fight his case through the 1968 law he found on the Internet, urged others in the same situation not to give up.

 The 47 buyers involved in the landmark trial at a court in Albacete province nearMurcia, south east Spain, have just received all the money back they put down.

Only some of the 617 three and four-bed homes with pools on the luxury Finca Parcs development in Hellin on the Albacete-Murcia border were ever partially finished.

The group are now also applying to the court for case costs and interest on their deposits to be paid.

Only some of the 617 three and four-bed homes with pools on the luxury Finca Parcs development in Hellin on the Albacete-Murcia border were ever partially finished

Mr Rule, who handed over deposits on two villas in November 2006, said: 'At the start of this fight people called me crazy but they don’t now and I’m delighted to have given hope to other Brits.

'There was no concept five years ago in Spain banks could be liable in these sorts of situations.

'We’ve created case law here. 

'I haven’t got a magic wand I can wave for everything but my message to people in the situation I was in is "Don’t give up."

'I’m living proof you can take on powerful institutions and beat them when they’re wrong and you’re right.'

A Spanish judge ruled CAM - now taken over by Sabadell - was guilty of malpractice for failing to ensure deposits were spent only on building the villas and never collecting an equivalent cash safeguard from the promoters.

The holiday home buyers won an initial trial against the bank and Spanish promoters Cleyton Ges in May 2012 - and an appeal in March this year.

A Spanish judge ruled CAM - now taken over by Sabadell - was guilty of malpractice

A second lawsuit on behalf of 13 more Finca Parcs buyers has already been filed - and Mr Rule is working on a third lawsuit with Algeciras, Cadiz-based lawyer Maria de Castro and her brother Jaime who took the first case to court.

Theirs and other Spanish legal firms around Spain are also winning cases based on law 57/1968 - the law Keith uncovered on Google which has spared Brits the nightmare scenario of exhausting court battles against promoters with no money.

He said last night: 'I bet the CAM executives I demanded my money back from five years ago wished they had given me a cheque that day.

'The court case set a legal precedent and is being used by other law firms aroundSpain.'

Jamie de Castro, of Javier de Castro lawyers, added: 'It’s amazing that a non-Spaniard who didn’t even speak Spanish and was using Google translator helped get us this far.

'I have no problem in admitting I wasn’t confident at the start this would work and feared Keith might be wasting time and money.

'But he insisted and insisted and began to make us believe it could.

'My sister described him once as a dog with a bone which I hope he takes now as a compliment.'

Pensioner Reg Matthews, a friend of Mr Rule's who has had his £22,980 deposit returned, added: 'It’s a great relief to have my money back although I was keen on having a place in the sun like thousands of other Brits.

'Without Keith’s help I and many others would have lost everything.'

 

"Zahara de los Atunes 16".Beach of Zahara de los Atunes, Cádiz, Southwestern Spain, by Asier Llaguno, at flickr.com



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Legal tip 988. Finca Parcs Victory in The Times
16 July 2013

 Article in THE TIMES - WEDNESDAY 10 JULY 2013


 

Spanish bank forced to pay back €1.5m deposit

Graham Keeley – Madrid – 10 July 2013

A British businessman has won a landmark legal victory against a Spanish bank that was refusing to return €1.5 million in deposits that he and other buyers had paid for 47 villas.

Keith Rule, 46, led a group of British and Irish people who had invested off plan in a luxury development near Murcia, southeastern Spain, marketed as the “real Spain”.

They paid their deposits in 2006 but when the property bubble burst in 2008 the developer collapsed, and the Spanish bank, Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo, refused to return their money.

Faced with losing €53,000 (£46,000) of his own money, Mr Rule researched a 1968 property law and used Google translator and a basic knowledge of Spanish to fight back. Spanish lawyers told him that he was unwise to take on a bank and would lose but he convinced one lawyer to take up his case.

When the case came to court, the bank demanded that all 47 buyers attend. Mr Rule organised their journey.

A judge sitting in Albacete ruled against the bank and ordered it to pay back €1.5 million in deposits to Mr Rule and the 46 other buyers.

The judge ruled that the bank was guilty of malpractice by failing to safeguard deposits. The same court dismissed an appeal by the bank, which must also pay costs and interest.

“This could have implications for many more British people who have bought properties in Spain but have lost out,” Mr Rule, who runs a laundry in Milton Keynes, said. “It proves that if you persevere then you can get justice in Spain but it is a bit of a lottery depending on whether you get the right judge.”

Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo, which was later taken over by Banco Sabadell, claimed that Mr Rule and other buyers were not entitled to their money back because they had no bank guarantees. It said the developer, Cleyton Ges SL, should have guaranteed the deposit money, not the bank. However, Mr Rule argued that the bank had a duty to guarantee deposits in case the developer went bust.

The case revolved around Finca Parcs, a luxury development of 617 villas. Today, seven years after hundreds of Britons were lured into spending millions on the home of their dreams, the development is a ghost town. Mr Rule has become a part-time adviser on the issue to a Spanish law firm. Another 53 buyers are still out of pocket and thousands more British expatriates in Spain face similar battles after the collapse of the property market.

Giles Paxman, the British Ambassador in Madrid, wrote to Mr Rule to congratulate him on his victory. A spokesman for the bank said that it would not appeal.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/article3812399.ece?CMP=OTH-gnws-standard-2013_07_09

"Zahara de los Atunes 6".Beach of Atlanterra, Zahara de los Atunes, Cádiz, Southern Spain, by Asier Llaguno, at flickr.com




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Legal tip 987. Finca Parcs Victory in El Pais in English
16 July 2013

Financial Justice

http://elpais.com/elpais/2013/07/09/inenglish/1373371128_743177.html

The British buyers fight back

Foreign property investors are battling to recover money lost in deals gone bad

Rafael Méndez – El País English Edition - 9 JUL 2013 - 14:20 CET 

Keith Rule says that he first thought about buying a house in Spain after a friend told him about an advertisement he had seen in an easyJet in-flight magazine for a property development in Hellín, called Finca Parcs-Las Higuericas, in Albacete province. The year was 2006, the height of the country's property boom.

"It was being sold as 'the real Spain'," says Rule. The development was not on the coast, but inland, in a lovely place," explains Rule on the phone from the UK.

Finca Parcs-Las Higuericas was going to consist of 617 chalets with their own swimming pools. Few of the 300 or so British or Irish investors who put down a deposit knew the area, but the layout plans and artist's impressions looked good, the price was right... what could go wrong?


Spain's property market collapsed in early 2008, taking with it hopes that Finca Parcs-Las Higuericas would ever materialize. The company behind the project, Cleyton Ges, went bankrupt, and Keith Rule began to worry that he would never get back the 53,434 euros he had put down, much less get his Spanish vacation home. The bank that had acted as intermediary in the promotion, CAM, was in serious financial difficulties of its own: it was unable to finance the operation, and would not return the money it had taken. He contacted a lawyer, who told him to sue Cleyton Ges. "But I knew that this wouldn't get me my money back. I looked on the internet and using the little Spanish I have, discovered that there was a law from 1968 stating that the bank was also responsible."


Using my Spanish, I found a 1968 law saying that the bank was responsible"


The little-known legislation that Rule uncovered details procedures in the case of deposits put down on the construction and sale of dwellings, and outlines in clear terms the guarantees that a home buyer is entitled to. The preamble states that the law was passed in response to "the justified alarm among the public caused by repeated abuses, which on the one hand, are a threat to social stability, and on the other, are clear breaches of the law."


The law was designed to avoid the repetition of cases such as Nueva Esperanza, a property developer that took money from more than 10,000 savers without ever building a single home. "The measures we are taking are meant to resolve an indignant problem, because people that had spent a lifetime saving to buy an apartment saw their money disappear overnight, and were left with no home," said the then-housing minister, according to the newspaper Abc . The law not only required the property developer to return buyers' money, but required the bank to guarantee that any amounts it received were spent on construction. The bank would, from now on, have to supervise the money and provide a guarantee "under its own responsibility." In other words, if a bank takes your money as a deposit on a property, if that property is not built, it is responsible for returning your money.


When the property market collapsed, lawyer Javier Domínguez Romero was contacted by people who, like Keith Rule, were in danger of losing their deposits, and who had also looked at the 1968 law. "The law had been forgotten about for years during the economic boom. Few lawyers even knew about it," says Domínguez, who later published a book on the subject.


Around the same time, Keith Rule had begun looking for a Spanish lawyer who would handle his lawsuit, as well as those of 46 other would-be home owners. Eventually he met with Jaime de Castro, a Gibraltar-based lawyer used to representing British clients within the Spanish legal system. The trial was held in May 2012. CAM tried delaying tactics by saying that all those bringing charges must appear in person in court. All 47 made the trip to Albacete provincial court, although none of them were questioned by CAM's legal team. CAM's argument was simple. It had no "legal relationship" with the 47, and said they would have to pursue their case against the property developer. The bank did not have guarantees for each depositor, as it was required to do so by law, should there be any problem with the construction.


The judge hearing the case agreed that CAM was indeed responsible and ordered it to return the 1.5 million euros that the British had paid to the developer: "CAM knew that the deposits placed in accounts in its branches were from the buyers of a property development and completely abandoned its responsibilities to them under the 1968 legislation, and as such committed bad banking practices." The sentence has since been ratified, and the British investors are getting their money back, with interest and costs. CAM, which has been taken over by Banco Sabadell, has not appealed against the ruling. The bank says that it inherited the problem. The British embassy says that it will use the ruling for future cases.


Rule, who is now working with the legal team that won the case, says that the ruling should give hope to anybody who has lost money to a property developer. "This law, after 45 years, is more necessary than ever," he says. He has set a precedent that in general terms provides much greater protection to consumers, because the bank has to pay, even if there is no guarantee.


Similar cases have emerged in recent months of foreign investors getting their money back from bankrupt property developers. Alec Edwards works for the Liverpool fire brigade. In 2009, he put down 150,000 euros as a deposit on a property in Trampolin Hills, in Murcia. "We could see that there was no building work, so we asked the bank to execute the guarantee, which it refused to do." Two months ago, after bringing legal action, he got all of his money back. His lawyer, Guadalupe Sánchez, says that British people are more inclined to take legal action. "Spaniards do not like taking on the banks, but the British seem to have no fear," she explains. Antonio Flores, a Malaga-based lawyer who specializes in construction disputes involving non-Spaniards, agrees: "These people really put their foot down, and demanded a response from the system."


Spanish judges are at last beginning to do something to improve the country's poor reputation inEurope. In March, the Supreme Court demanded that foreigners buying here be given special protection. Rule says that he is happy, not just for himself: "Spain has shown that it is a serious country, and that if you insist, the justice system works."


_______________________
 

"Zahara de los Atunes 32". The village center; Zahara, Cádiz, Southernwest Spian, by Asier Llaguno, at flickr.com

 

 



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Legal tip 986. Finca Parcs Victory in BBC
16 July 2013

 
 

FINCA PARCS - BBC RADIO INTERVIEWS

BBC Radio 4 Interview with Keith Rule (Finca Parcs Action Group) & Jaime de Castro (Costa Luz/De Castro) first broadcast on 27 May 2013 after the Sentence against Banco CAM was definitive and final:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01b1tft


BBC Radio 4 Interview with Keith Rule (Finca Parcs Action Group) & Gerard M Vazquez (Lawyer from VAZQUEZ ESTUDIO JURIDICO) first broadcast 11 July 2012 following the victory in the First Instance Court – June 2012:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00vymv3


 
 
"Zahara de los Atunes 1". Atlanterra from the Hotel Meliá, Zahara de los Atunes, Cadiz, Southernwest Spain, by Asier Llaguno, at flickr.com
 
 
 
 

 



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Legal tip 985. Finca Parcs Victory in El Pais
16 July 2013

 
 

ARTICLE IN EL PAÍS - SUNDAY 7 JULY 2013

http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2013/07/05/actualidad/1373051752_595536.html
 

Compradores de promociones fantasma recuperan el dinero por una ley de 1968

Los jueces culpan a la banca de incumplir la normativa, que les hace también responsables

El banco debe garantizar que las cantidades que recibe el promotor van a la construcción

 

Rafael Méndez – El País - Madrid - 7 JUL 2013 - 00:00 CET

 

Keith Rule recuerda que un amigo le pasó un anuncio que había visto en una revista de Easyjet sobre unas casas en Hellín (Albacete). Era 2006 y no había posibilidad de equivocarse al comprar casa en España. “Lo vendían como ‘la verdadera España’. No era un resort en la costa, sino en el interior, en Albacete, en un sitio muy bonito”, recuerda hoy por teléfono desde Londres. “Finca Parcs-Las Higuericas” se llamaba la promoción. Iban a ser 617 chalés con piscina en el campo. No era el destino habitual y a pesar de eso atrajo a unos 300 británicos e irlandeses que dieron un anticipo por la vivienda. Compraron sobre plano, cuando aún no había nada. Keith, que tiene una lavandería, pensaba pasar temporadas en España.

 

Pero pronto vio que algo se había torcido. De arriba abajo, la explosión de la burbuja inmobiliaria llegó inexorable a Hellín. Y la promotora, Cleyton Ges, se quedó sin dinero para las cinco fases. Era 2008 y Keith vio que los 53.434 euros que había dado como anticipo estaban en serio riesgo. Ni la CAM, la caja que había recogido todos los ingresos, podía financiar la obra ni devolvía el dinero. Keith comenzó a consultar a abogados. “Me decían que demandara al promotor, pero sabía que así no recuperaría mi dinero. Busqué en Internet con el poco español que sabía y vi que había una ley de 1968. La traduje con Google y leí que el banco también era responsable”.

 

La ley es la 57/1968 “sobre percibo de cantidades anticipadas en la construcción y venta de viviendas”. Se trata de una concisa norma, dos folios y siete artículos, que da todo tipo de garantías al comprador de viviendas. La ley explica que surge por “la justificada alarma que en la opinión pública ha producido la reiterada comisión de abusos, que, de una parte, constituyen grave alteración de la convivencia social y, de otra, evidentes hechos delictivos”.

 

La norma pretendía evitar casos como el de la sociedad Nueva Esperanza, que en los años sesenta se llevó el dinero de más de 10.000 ahorradores sin levantar los pisos prometidos. “Las medidas tomadas vienen a resolver un problema indignante, ya que gente que estaba ahorrando toda su vida para hacerse con un piso se veía de la noche a la mañana con el dinero perdido y sin vivienda”, declaró entonces un portavoz del Ministerio de Vivienda, según recogió el diario Abc. La ley no solo exige al promotor la devolución del dinero, sino que dice que el banco debe garantizar que las cantidades que este recibe deben ir a la construcción. El banco debe fiscalizar el destino del dinero y exigir un aval “bajo su responsabilidad”. Esos derechos, según la norma, son “irrenunciables”.

 

Con el desplome de la burbuja, el abogado Javier Domínguez Romero comenzó a recibir consultas de gente que se había quedado pillada en promociones a medias y se estudió la ley de 1968. “La norma había dormido el sueño de los justos durante los tiempos de bonanza económica. Los abogados apenas recurríamos a ella”. Publicó un libro sobre la ley y desde entonces ha perdido la cuenta del número de ejecuciones de avales que ha llevado.

 

Por esa época, Keith Rule comienza su lucha. Quiere ir más allá. Recuperar el dinero aunque el promotor ni había depositado los avales para 100 de los compradores. No llega a encontrar a Domínguez. De hecho, le costó dar con un abogado dispuesto a ir contra la CAM —“me llamaban loco”—, hasta que con 46 compradores convenció a Jaime de Castro, de un bufete de Algeciras especializado en clientes británicos. El juicio se celebró en mayo de 2012 y fue un espectáculo. La CAM pidió que fueran todos los demandantes, con lo que 47 familias británicas e irlandesas se desplazaron hasta Hellín, aunque luego su representante no les hizo preguntas. El argumento de la caja era que no tenía “ninguna relación jurídica” con los británicos, que estos debían reclamar al promotor, que no tenía los avales a los que le obligaba la ley por si no finalizaba las casas. Sin embargo, la juez consideró que el banco también era responsable. Hace un año, les dio la razón y ordenó a la CAM que devolviera 1.494.710 euros que los británicos habían dado a la inmobiliaria. Argumentó que “la CAM conocía que los anticipos ingresados en cuentas abiertas en sus sucursales se trataban de ingresos a cuenta de compradores de una promoción inmobiliaria e hicieron dejación absoluta de sus obligaciones que como entidad financiera le impone la ley 57/68 incurriendo su conducta en una mala praxis bancaria”.

 

La Audiencia Provincial ratificó la sentencia hace un mes y los británicos ya están cobrando, y con intereses y costas, lo pagado. La CAM, hoy parte del Sabadell, ni recurrió al Supremo, como confirma un portavoz. El banco considera este caso uno más de la herencia envenenada que dejó la caja. La Embajada británica afirma en una carta que lo usará como guía para casos similares. Keith, que ahora colabora con el bufete que llevó el caso, sostiene que su sentencia da una nueva esperanza a quienes han enterrado dinero en la burbuja inmobiliaria: “Esta ley es, 45 años después, más necesaria que nunca”. Domínguez sienta un precedente que, de generalizarse, daría mucha más protección al consumidor, ya que el banco paga incluso si no hay aval. Y podría abrir otra vía de agua en el sistema bancario.

 

Aunque los detalles cambian, hay muchos más clientes que, contra pronóstico, están recuperando el dinero que dieron para promociones fantasma. Alec John Edwards es un técnico del servicio de bomberos de Liverpool que en 2009 dio 150.000 euros como anticipo por una casa en el Trampolin Hills, en un diminuto pueblo de Murcia: “Como vimos que no se construía pedimos ejecutar el aval, pero el banco se negaba”. Hace dos meses, tras un pleito, recobró los 150.000 euros, y aún no da crédito. Su abogada, Guadalupe Sánchez, opina que los británicos tienen más costumbre de pleitear: “A los españoles les cuesta más ir contra la banca. Los anglosajones lo tienen más interiorizado”. Antonio Flores, abogado de Málaga especializado en atender a clientes extranjeros en temas inmobiliarios, coincide: “Estos insistieron mucho más y exigieron una respuesta del sistema”.

 

Los jueces empiezan a paliar la mala fama del urbanismo español en Europa. El Supremo exigió en marzo pasado especial protección para los extranjeros que compren una vivienda. Keith resume: “España ha demostrado ser un país serio, en el que si perseveras, la justicia funciona”.

"Zahara de los Atunes10". Beach of the Bunker, Atlanterra, Zahara, Cadiz, Southernwest Spain, by Asier Llaguno, at flickr.com

 

 

 


 



Like 0        Published at 11:48   Comments (0)


Legal tip 984. British winner Keith Rule praises Spain
10 July 2013

 Financial Justice


http://elpais.com/elpais/2013/07/09/inenglish/1373371128_743177.html

The British buyers fight back

Foreign property investors are battling to recover money lost in deals gone bad

Rafael Méndez – El País English Edition - 9 JUL 2013 - 14:20 CET 

Keith Rule says that he first thought about buying a house in Spain after a friend told him about an advertisement he had seen in an easyJet in-flight magazine for a property development in Hellín, called Finca Parcs-Las Higuericas, in Albacete province. The year was 2006, the height of the country's property boom.

"It was being sold as 'the real Spain'," says Rule. The development was not on the coast, but inland, in a lovely place," explains Rule on the phone from the UK.

Finca Parcs-Las Higuericas was going to consist of 617 chalets with their own swimming pools. Few of the 300 or so British or Irish investors who put down a deposit knew the area, but the layout plans and artist's impressions looked good, the price was right... what could go wrong?


Spain's property market collapsed in early 2008, taking with it hopes that Finca Parcs-Las Higuericas would ever materialize. The company behind the project, Cleyton Ges, went bankrupt, and Keith Rule began to worry that he would never get back the 53,434 euros he had put down, much less get his Spanish vacation home. The bank that had acted as intermediary in the promotion, CAM, was in serious financial difficulties of its own: it was unable to finance the operation, and would not return the money it had taken. He contacted a lawyer, who told him to sue Cleyton Ges. "But I knew that this wouldn't get me my money back. I looked on the internet and using the little Spanish I have, discovered that there was a law from 1968 stating that the bank was also responsible."


Using my Spanish, I found a 1968 law saying that the bank was responsible"


The little-known legislation that Rule uncovered details procedures in the case of deposits put down on the construction and sale of dwellings, and outlines in clear terms the guarantees that a home buyer is entitled to. The preamble states that the law was passed in response to "the justified alarm among the public caused by repeated abuses, which on the one hand, are a threat to social stability, and on the other, are clear breaches of the law."


The law was designed to avoid the repetition of cases such as Nueva Esperanza, a property developer that took money from more than 10,000 savers without ever building a single home. "The measures we are taking are meant to resolve an indignant problem, because people that had spent a lifetime saving to buy an apartment saw their money disappear overnight, and were left with no home," said the then-housing minister, according to the newspaper Abc . The law not only required the property developer to return buyers' money, but required the bank to guarantee that any amounts it received were spent on construction. The bank would, from now on, have to supervise the money and provide a guarantee "under its own responsibility." In other words, if a bank takes your money as a deposit on a property, if that property is not built, it is responsible for returning your money.


When the property market collapsed, lawyer Javier Domínguez Romero was contacted by people who, like Keith Rule, were in danger of losing their deposits, and who had also looked at the 1968 law. "The law had been forgotten about for years during the economic boom. Few lawyers even knew about it," says Domínguez, who later published a book on the subject.


Around the same time, Keith Rule had begun looking for a Spanish lawyer who would handle his lawsuit, as well as those of 46 other would-be home owners. Eventually he met with Jaime de Castro, a Gibraltar-based lawyer used to representing British clients within the Spanish legal system. The trial was held in May 2012. CAM tried delaying tactics by saying that all those bringing charges must appear in person in court. All 47 made the trip to Albacete provincial court, although none of them were questioned by CAM's legal team. CAM's argument was simple. It had no "legal relationship" with the 47, and said they would have to pursue their case against the property developer. The bank did not have guarantees for each depositor, as it was required to do so by law, should there be any problem with the construction.


The judge hearing the case agreed that CAM was indeed responsible and ordered it to return the 1.5 million euros that the British had paid to the developer: "CAM knew that the deposits placed in accounts in its branches were from the buyers of a property development and completely abandoned its responsibilities to them under the 1968 legislation, and as such committed bad banking practices." The sentence has since been ratified, and the British investors are getting their money back, with interest and costs. CAM, which has been taken over by Banco Sabadell, has not appealed against the ruling. The bank says that it inherited the problem. The British embassy says that it will use the ruling for future cases.


Rule, who is now working with the legal team that won the case, says that the ruling should give hope to anybody who has lost money to a property developer. "This law, after 45 years, is more necessary than ever," he says. He has set a precedent that in general terms provides much greater protection to consumers, because the bank has to pay, even if there is no guarantee.


Similar cases have emerged in recent months of foreign investors getting their money back from bankrupt property developers. Alec Edwards works for the Liverpool fire brigade. In 2009, he put down 150,000 euros as a deposit on a property in Trampolin Hills, in Murcia. "We could see that there was no building work, so we asked the bank to execute the guarantee, which it refused to do." Two months ago, after bringing legal action, he got all of his money back. His lawyer, Guadalupe Sánchez, says that British people are more inclined to take legal action. "Spaniards do not like taking on the banks, but the British seem to have no fear," she explains. Antonio Flores, a Malaga-based lawyer who specializes in construction disputes involving non-Spaniards, agrees: "These people really put their foot down, and demanded a response from the system."


Spanish judges are at last beginning to do something to improve the country's poor reputation inEurope. In March, the Supreme Court demanded that foreigners buying here be given special protection. Rule says that he is happy, not just for himself: "Spain has shown that it is a serious country, and that if you insist, the justice system works."

 


_______________________

LEY 57/1968
CLICK HERE FOR THE BANK GUARANTEES IN SPAIN WEBSITE

        
       

fpag@btinternet.com

"Zahara de los Atunes 13", Beach of "El Bunker" (the bunker is on the left side out of the picture), Atlanterra, Zahara de los Atunes, Southernwest of Spain, by Asier Llaguno, at flickr.com

 



Like 0        Published at 12:28   Comments (1)


Legal tip 983. Keith Rule´s Laundry for Banks correction
10 July 2013

Victory of our client Keith Rule at the Finca Parcs case.

Today´s article today at THE TIMES.

 

Spanish bank forced to pay back €1.5m deposit

Graham Keeley – Madrid – 10 July 2013

A British businessman has won a landmark legal victory against a Spanish bank that was refusing to return €1.5 million in deposits that he and other buyers had paid for 47 villas.

Keith Rule, 46, led a group of British and Irish people who had invested off plan in a luxury development near Murcia, southeastern Spain, marketed as the “real Spain”.

They paid their deposits in 2006 but when the property bubble burst in 2008 the developer collapsed, and the Spanish bank, Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo, refused to return their money.

Faced with losing €53,000 (£46,000) of his own money, Mr Rule researched a 1968 property law and used Google translator and a basic knowledge of Spanish to fight back. Spanish lawyers told him that he was unwise to take on a bank and would lose but he convinced one lawyer to take up his case.

When the case came to court, the bank demanded that all 47 buyers attend. Mr Rule organised their journey.

A judge sitting in Albacete ruled against the bank and ordered it to pay back €1.5 million in deposits to Mr Rule and the 46 other buyers.

The judge ruled that the bank was guilty of malpractice by failing to safeguard deposits. The same court dismissed an appeal by the bank, which must also pay costs and interest.

“This could have implications for many more British people who have bought properties in Spain but have lost out,” Mr Rule, who runs a laundry in Milton Keynes, said. “It proves that if you persevere then you can get justice in Spain but it is a bit of a lottery depending on whether you get the right judge.”

Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo, which was later taken over by Banco Sabadell, claimed that Mr Rule and other buyers were not entitled to their money back because they had no bank guarantees. It said the developer, Cleyton Ges SL, should have guaranteed the deposit money, not the bank. However, Mr Rule argued that the bank had a duty to guarantee deposits in case the developer went bust.

The case revolved around Finca Parcs, a luxury development of 617 villas. Today, seven years after hundreds of Britons were lured into spending millions on the home of their dreams, the development is a ghost town. Mr Rule has become a part-time adviser on the issue to a Spanish law firm. Another 53 buyers are still out of pocket and thousands more British expatriates in Spain face similar battles after the collapse of the property market.

Giles Paxman, the British Ambassador in Madrid, wrote to Mr Rule to congratulate him on his victory. A spokesman for the bank said that it would not appeal.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/article3812399.ece?CMP=OTH-gnws-standard-2013_07_09

 


_______________________

LEY 57/1968
CLICK HERE FOR THE BANK GUARANTEES IN SPAIN WEBSITE

        
       

fpag@btinternet.com

"006344 - Zahara de los Atunes", Beaches of Atlanterra and Zahara, Zahara de los Atunes, Cádiz, Southwestern Spain, by M.Peinado, at flickr.com

 

 

 



Like 0        Published at 12:20   Comments (0)


Legal tip 982. Summer legal post- Zahara
05 July 2013

Sending you an email from this hotel in Zahara de los Atunes:  http://www.el-varadero.com/, where I come to do some easy work every other day!

You need to come to Costa de la Luz. It is a very unexploited area, best of Europe.

Maria 

Hotel Varadero, Atlanterra (belonging Tarifa), 5 kilometers from Zahara de los Atunes, Cádiz, Southern Spain, by Asier Llaguno, at flickr.com

 



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