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Spanish Off-Plan Property - Bank Guarantees - LEY 57/68

This blog is for all those Off-Plan property purchasers in Spain who have not received Bank Guarantees for their deposit funds as required by Spanish Law, in particular LEY 57/68 Article 1.1 and 1.2 and are now at risk of losing their money.

In addition many purchasers who did receive Bank Guarantees are now finding that the Spanish Banks are refusing to honour them without legal action being taken by the purchaser.

SPANISH GOVERNMENT PROPERTY ROAD SHOW 2011
19 April 2011

Sr. José Blanco the Spanish Development Minister (El Ministro de Fomento) has announced that the Spanish Government Official Property 'Road Show' will commence in London on 4 May 2011.

In the official press release issued on 14 April 2011 in Madrid by the Ministerio de Fomento Sr. Blanco said:

"The Road Show will highlight the strengths of our economy, transparency and legal certainty of our planning legislation.

It is a good time to carry out this pioneering initiative because the markets that have the potential to invest in second homes are recovering and we must revive the holiday housing market ‘to speed up the digestion of stock’

In selecting the countries to be visited in this first round of Road Shows we have taken into account variables such as the volume of house purchases in Spain that its citizens have made in recent years, its investment in general in our country, the situation of their respective economies and the potential for increased investment in our second homes market.

The United Kingdom is the first international destination for this first round of Road Shows because, according to the latest data available, its citizens and investors in 2009 accounted for 31.5% of foreign buyers of property in Spain.

In subsequent weeks we will also visit France, Germany, Holland and Sweden.  In addition we will visit also Russia.

The Road Show is designed in two phases: in the first phase the Ministry of Development will transmit confidence to large investors and brokers, offering all the information regarding our market, ongoing policy reforms and greater transparency regarding the evolution of prices and stock.Subsequently we will develop a second phase, open to private sector participation, with a selection of real estate products that meet minimum standards of legality, planning and quality through an evaluation process in which agents and companies interested in participating in this round may voluntarily submit their properties and products”.



Speaking to Onda Cero radio station Sr Blanco defended the need for the Road Show by stating that "The fact is that there is a 'stock' of residential housing and it is necessary to speed up sales because it is weighing heavily on the sector financially".

He said "It seems that I have become a real estate agent but my role is to ensure greater legal certainty to potential investors following many campaigns against the Spanish property sector"

In February 2011, when previewing the upcoming Road Shows the Spanish Housing Minister, Sra. Beatriz Corredor said: “Come here calmly and trust in the system that we have and the transparency we provide”

Sr. Blanco and Sra. Corredor need to understand that for thousands of victims of the Spanish Property Sector there was and still is no ‘transparency or legal certainty’.

Despite many empty words by Spanish Government officials there still remains little evidence of any ‘ongoing policy reforms’.

Lawyers and Banks have been negligent, the court system is overloaded, judges are inconsistent and real justice is still an expensive dream for many victims.

There remains a basic lack of understanding of LEY 57/68 and in many cases the law is not applied properly.

The Supervisor of the Spanish Banking System – the Banco de España is totally ineffective and has no real power.  The result is that the Banks have been allowed to ignore their obligations according to LEY 57/68 and work together with the corrupt developers to blatantly steal purchaser’s off-plan deposit funds.

It is a serious mess and Sr. Blanco and the Spanish Government have NOTHING to put on a show about.  Before making more empty promises and embarking on a Road Show designed to entice other unsuspecting ‘victims’ into the shambles that is the Spanish Property Sector Sr. Blanco must, together with his government colleagues, rectify the serious injustices that have taken place over the past decade in their country.



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Cláusula Suelo - Minimum Interest Rate on Spanish Mortgages
07 April 2011

CLÁUSULA SUELO

This is not connected with the Bank Guarantee issue, however it is another example of the Spanish Banks and Savings Banks acting in an abusive manner and totally against the consumer.

'Cláusula Suelo' is a clause that is included in many variable rate Spanish mortgages.  This clause includes a floor limit level of interest below which the rate cannot fall irrespective of the rate of the Euribor / Libor to which the mortgage may be linked.

Here's how it works:

For this example let us imagine the mortgage is a variable rate mortgage linked to the Euribor and was taken out in 2006 when the Euribor was around 3.5%.  The bank would offer you the mortgage at a 'variable tracker' rate of say Euribor + 1%.  So that would mean that initially you would pay interest of 4.5%. (3.5% + 1%)

The 'Cláusula Suelo' included a floor limit or minimum rate of interest that could be charged of say 4.25% and an upper limit of say 11%.  Bear in mind at this point that the long term historical average rate of the Euribor is around 3% and the highest rate the Euribor has ever been is around 5.5% and you will see that the 11% (or higher in some cases) upper limit is totally unrealistic and would probably never come into effect during the term of the mortgage.

During 2009 and 2010 the Euribor fell to around 1.5%.  So you would think on the example we are looking at which is at the rate of Euribor + 1% you would then pay interest of 2.5%.  But no - because when the Euribor went lower than 3.25% which was in early 2009 the floor limit or 'Cláusula Suelo' kicked in and your interest rate would be a minimum of 4.25%.

So you would never have the benefit of the low rate of the Euribor.

So this clause was very much in favour of the Banks and they have been reaping the benefits over the past 2 or 3 years.  At the time of taking out the mortgage most Banks failed to explain this clause as they knew the rates set in the clause were totally in favour of the bank and very much against the consumer.  It was just hidden in the small print.

Many people probably do not realise they have this clause in their Spanish mortgage.  It is worth checking.

You can use the template letter below to send to your bank to advise them to remove the 'Cláusula Suelo', recalculate the interest charged and credit you with the amount owed.

Maybe ask somebody who understands a little Spanish to help you and fill in the relevant parts of the letter below with your Banks name and the interest rate details etc.  You need to put the address of the Bank and the managers name at the top, fill in the date, enter the minimum rate of interest in the first paragraph where the red dots are, enter the name of your Bank in the 5th paragraph where it is marked in red, put your name and NIE number at the bottom, sign the letter and post it to your bank together with a copy of your latest mortgage statement (for ease of reference).

If your Bank fails to respond within the 30 days then instruct your Lawyer to send them a letter by Burofax.  If they still do not remove the clause and recalculate the interest you can consider taking legal action against them.

Good luck and please let us know how you get on.

There is a thread on the main forum regarding this topic:

http://www.eyeonspain.com/forums/posts-long-13065.aspx

Kind regards

Keith

CARTA TIPO PARA SOLICITAR LA ELIMINACIÓN DE LA CLÁUSULA DE LÍMITE MÍNIMO DEL TIPO DE INTERÉS Y EL REINTEGRO DE LAS CANTIDADES INDEBIDAMENTE COBRADAS COMO CONSECUENCIA DE LA APLICACIÓN DE LA MISMA.

Banco/ Caja.............

Oficina.............

A/Att.

Sr. Director

                                                                                                           En..................., a........ de........... de 2011

 

Distinguido Sr. Director:

Me dirijo a usted como titular del préstamo/crédito en cuyo contrato la entidad ha incorporado una cláusula de límite mínimo a la variación del tipo de interés aplicable, estableciendo un interés nominal anual mínimo del .... por ciento. A efectos de facilitarles una completa y más rápida identificación, acompaño fotocopia de un recibo de dicho préstamo/crédito.

A este respecto, indicarles que la mencionada cláusula, coloquialmente conocida como “cláusula suelo”, comporta un desequilibrio contractual importante que desvirtúa la esencia misma del contrato de préstamo a interés variable suscrito, que no es otra que el tipo de interés varíe en función de las fluctuaciones del mercado conforme al índice pactado. Con la incorporación de esta cláusula a mi contrato, la variabilidad del tipo de interés pretendida desaparece para convertir al préstamo en la práctica en una operación a interés fijo y que, en todo caso, se utiliza para lograr un incremento artificial del tipo de interés ante las tendencias bajistas del mercado hipotecario, en perjuicio de mis intereses como consumidor y correlativa ganancia de esa entidad como prestamista.

Estas consideraciones, han sido recogidas por la reciente Sentencia del Juzgado de lo Mercantil Número Dos de Sevilla, declarando estas claúsulas suelo abusivas por aplicación del artículo 82 y siguientes del Texto Refundido de la Ley General para la Defensa de los Consumidores y Usuarios, aprobado por Real Decreto Legislativo 1/2007, de 16 de noviembre, y por tanto han sido sancionadas con la nulidad de pleno derecho, debiendo tenerse por no puestas en el contrato.

Los demandantes en dicha acción, representantes de Ausbanc, han solicitado al  Banco de España,  Confederación Española de Cajas de Ahorros (CECA) y  Asociación Española de Banca (AEB) que asuman la Sentencia y obliguen a las entidades financieras a abstenerse de incluir estas prácticas para evitar la presentación de más demandas.

Con anterioridad, el Pleno del Senado aprobó por unanimidad, en fecha 23 septiembre de 2009, una moción del Grupo Parlamentario Popular en la que se reclama al Gobierno la puesta en marcha de medidas que eviten el abuso de algunas entidades bancarias por la aplicación de estas cláusulas, habiéndose iniciado los mecanismos necesarios para ello. Por todo lo expuesto, y dado que lamentablemente el Banco/Caja.......... decidió incorporar en mi contrato de préstamo esta cláusula de límite mínimo de tipo de interés, por medio del presente escrito, LES REQUIERO:

PRIMERO.- La inmediata inaplicación de la cláusula de limitación mínima de la variación del tipo de interés de mi contrato de préstamo/crédito (cláusula suelo), al objeto de que la próxima cuota a satisfacer se calcule conforme al índice de referencia pactado, vigente a la fecha pactada, y con el margen diferencial pactado.

SEGUNDO.- El recálculo de las cuotas satisfechas en el préstamo, desde la fecha de la primera revisión hasta la última cuota abonada, aplicando el tipo de interés de referencia pactado en cada momento y el diferencial pactado. Acto seguido, procedan a abonar en mi cuenta (la misma en la que está domiciliado el abono del préstamo) el importe resultante de la diferencia entre la cantidad abonada por mí conforme a esa cláusula de límite mínimo de tipo de interés y la que realmente hubiera debido abonar sin esa barrera.

TERCERO.- Si pasados 30 días desde la recepción de la presente no obtengo respuesta en contrario por escrito suficientemente razonada, se entenderá que han aceptado la propuesta de inaplicación de la cláusula de suelo, lo que deberá reflejarse en el importe de la próxima cuota, y la devolución de las cantidades indebidamente cobradas que deberán hacerse efectivas sin demora en mi cuenta. En caso de denegarme la legítima petición que formulo a través del presente escrito, me reservo expresamente el ejercicio de las acciones extrajudiciales o judiciales que me correspondan, bien individualmente bien a través de las acciones colectivas que en su caso se ejerciten, y que conllevarán además la solicitud de una indemnización por los daños y perjuicios causados.

Sin otro particular, y a la espera de una respuesta por su parte que confío sea favorable a las pretensiones formuladas -en aras a resolver este contencioso por la vía amistosa, sin acudir a otras vías-, reciba un cordial saludo,

Nombre y domicilio                                                                       Recibido y conforme (sello de la entidad)

NIE  y firma

 

ANEXO:. Se deberá acompañar de fotocopia de un recibo del préstamo.





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