Rough justice yet again!

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12 Aug 2009 01:30 by MAGICMEG Star rating in Scotland. 546 posts Send private message

Smiley may I have the last word " bullshit "

I did all my homework for three years before purchasing ,chose an independent lawyer, did not come off the plane without my brain ,did not listen to the total crap any agent told me and in fact corrected what they told me on many occasions much to their disdain ,made sure I had a BG and that my money was protected  and I have still been ripped off .

You may have hit the mark when describing the few fools who did not do anything to help themselves but believe me you insult far more who did.

Corruption is corruption is corruption .Some times you can not protect yourself from thieves and if there is no recourse in Spanish law someone had better take notice .As much as you may like to think your little business bubble will continue, I think the Spanish property market is finished unless it changes real soon and real big  .If you disagree  it is you who is now the fool  !!!! Regards MM


This message was last edited by MAGICMEG on 12/08/2009.


  Nothing surprises me anymore  

     but I am willing to accept that sometimes (although not very often ) I can be  wrong !

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12 Aug 2009 01:58 by jamesaliern Star rating in all over. 13 posts Send private message

Invest in New York, Upper East Manhattan.

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12 Aug 2009 02:04 by MAGICMEG Star rating in Scotland. 546 posts Send private message

Que ?


  Nothing surprises me anymore  

     but I am willing to accept that sometimes (although not very often ) I can be  wrong !

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12 Aug 2009 09:01 by goodstich44 Star rating in northampton. 1636 posts Send private message


Smiley may I have the last word " bullshit "

sadly, that post of yours in reply to Smiley is the reality for me and I believe most people cheated. You and 'ads' have summed up the situation. A truly helpful warning for those new to the site looking for info.  People can do as much homework as they like, but it won't protect them against corruption at levels where integrity is vital and depended upon.

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12 Aug 2009 09:33 by ads Star rating. 2388 posts Send private message

Smiley, thanks for the clarification and yes folk on EOS perceive Maria (and presumably other good lawyers too)  as hopefully a route to success for return of monies where others might have failed (at a cost of course), but please recognise that this is exactly why I suggested that change should come from within, as from my understanding that is presumably what Maria, and I would have hoped, you,  would strive to achieve in the longer term. Just because you identify that Spain was/is corrupt doesn't mean it has to remain so, does it? For those honest purchasers who would love to invest in wonderful Spain, they will be reticent to do so, so long as this corrupt, inconsistent and injust system remains. That's all that I'm observing.

Please don't forget either that it appears to be only those with the monies available to do so (since monies are required upfront from the lawyers fighting these cases) that can fight the injustices through the likes of Maria. What about those poor genuine souls who for whatever reason cannot find the continuing monies to continue their long, expensive but just fight? No, the system requires change. End of.

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12 Aug 2009 10:11 by goodstich44 Star rating in northampton. 1636 posts Send private message


your last paragraph highlights a point often missed and one I find myself in. Despite knowing full well we have a case beyond doubt, because of the unreasonable court delay in which time the developer went bust , our embargo has now been lost. We can only join a creditor list and pay our lawyer to fight for the best position on that list. That is an agreed sum, but should that not be enough to be in a position to get any money back, then our 7 year fight for justice is over. We have no money to fight on with. I have to conclude this is not a mistake or purely court workload, but another form of corruption. If  a victims justice is delayed for long enough, or becomes to costly then they are forced to throw the towel in, and the justice system has one less problem to worry about!

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12 Aug 2009 11:19 by normansands Star rating in Kent. 1281 posts Send private message

Dear All,

great stuff, good debate, welcome the home truths, this is the freedom we fought for.

however it is somewhat chastening to be told by someone who is clearly so far up his own backs***** that you are not only an idiot, but you are senile as well.

how the devil he keeps managing to pat himself on the back from that position is a mystery.

whatever it is that you are charging these traders, Justin, it is not half enough.

Clearly the world's trade does not revolve around what can be seen and touched, goods and contracts must include a specification.

Maria tells us that everything promised in the deal must be provided otherwise the contract is not met and that includes the brochure.

Yet the only thing in the contract is that bit you will own and control yourself with no mention of the overall development you are expecting, just your tiny part.

so when signing this contract for you and parting with your money from his client account how does the lawyer protect your interest in the whole?

should he check the planning approval and the works specification, the plans themselves, the contractor, the site ownership, the finances in place etc. etc.????

if he just trusts the developer without checking is he negligent??

What is his duty of care?

Or should he just ask "Smokescreen Smiley" who knows it is all a "million miles away from what you are going to get".

Answers please.





N. Sands

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12 Aug 2009 12:02 by ads Star rating. 2388 posts Send private message

The more that people interested in purchasing in Spain become aware of these continuing injustices and their chances of unwittingly being embroiled in such a scenario, the more chance there is that they will restrain from purchasing in Spain, which hopefully will ultimately result in self correction of an injust system.  Pressure from increasing consumers' awareness to the realities (and its inevitable knock-on effect to the already stressed real estate sector), and perhaps pressure from the European Union to recognise and ensure consumer's rights are ultimately adhered to for those already caught up in this fiasco, is drastically needed. Let's hope for Spain's sake it happens sooner rather than later.

So long as developers can get away with legal delays of this magnitude whilst the credit crunch bites and/or  their non compliance of providing what was originally specified, the more the message BUYER BEWARE needs to be stressed. I still think it will only be when movement from within the legal system occurs (back to self correction) , that potential purchasers will ever regain confidence in the Spanish legal system. My worry is that it will turn off a tap to lawyer's incomes by the very nature of the fact that they will no longer have to fight all these cases of abuse, so where is their incentive to correct an injust system?! Please to goodness however sense will prevail as they observe the potential for self destruct if they do nothing and allow the status quo to continue.

Ironically, quest for justice requires all potential consumers to be educated to the sad realities of  the existing pitfalls of investing in Spain. No more cover ups or false optimism, face the facts head on.Make developers, lawyers, agents, banks, whoever, ultimately accountable for any mis deeds through a decent fair legal system and you will be half way to improving Spain's lot.



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12 Aug 2009 13:46 by Gillespie Star rating in Costa Calida Area. 608 posts Send private message

Gillespie´s avatar

Quote Magicmeg

"I think the Spanish property market is finished unless it changes real soon and real big "

As has been established here, the foreign element of Spanish property sales accounts for just 1.74% of the total Spanish property market. Of that 1.74%, - 35% is the UK buyers contribution.  That means that UK property buyers here in Spain comprise less than 1 third of 1%.

The Spanish property market is not finished as far as the 98.26% remaining Spanish buyers are concerned and never will be.

Something else which is very important to understand. Although using a lawyer to buy property is the norm in the UK. It is far from it in Spain.

The Spanish really do not use lawyers in their conveyancing system. Most don't use estate agents either.

If a Spaniard sees a property for sale, they simply take a copy of the title deeds to their notary who checks them out for embargo's etc. If all is OK the sale often goes ahead in a matter of days or weeks.

The British somehow invented the system of using lawyers for conveyancing, it isn't normal and the lawyers doing that work found it quite odd but a useful source of income never the less. So useful in fact that they began to advertise the fact, which had never really been done before the boom.

The Spanish purchase process is really very simple compared to the UK equivellent. No exchanging contracts behind closed doors at myterious times and then taking a day or two to inform the buyers. In Spain it all happens over the counter in the notaries office, title deed production, mortgages settled and taken out, everything happens right under your nose.

When it comes to purchasing new builds, there are no title deeds, only a purchase contract and receipt for your deposit. UK buyers either sign it at the developer or agents office or in a lawyers office.

Now, the Spanish system again is different. The Spanish buyer of a new build will give his/her purchase contract to the notary before signing it. Once cleared they will sign.

Why don't British buyers do what is the standard thing in Spain, because they don't understand the language. They don't know their local notary, so they lean on the agent, developers rep, lawyer etc.  Sometimes they all collude together to ensure the buyer signs the contract, otherwise nobody earns anything.

It's pretty easy to see why the Spanish don´t feel the need to change their system, to them it actually works fine. The system that needs to change is the one the British use here in Spain, the one they made up.


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12 Aug 2009 13:57 by MAGICMEG Star rating in Scotland. 546 posts Send private message

Not sure I see your point as many of the people I know caught up in the off plan property scam  are Spanish .I am sure they don't think the system works or that it  does not need to change.They have been robbed and cheated just the same as the Brits . 


  Nothing surprises me anymore  

     but I am willing to accept that sometimes (although not very often ) I can be  wrong !

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12 Aug 2009 14:08 by ads Star rating. 2388 posts Send private message

I take it then that the Spanish haven't been ripped off in the process then?

That's very illuminating, and goes some way to confirm why little change is occuring!

But it doesn't answer the question of the moral obligation as to how best to address those who have been treated unjustly given the present scenario, or how to ensure that foreign investors' rights can be adequately protected from abuse in the future, given their lack of language skills. There still need to be laws in place to protect foreign investors from the collusion that you have described. Or would you prefer that only Spaniards bought in Spain?

Spain appears to have received vast  amounts of monies from the EU and a statistic I saw recently implied that they have put the least into the pot, so with that in mind, should they not be accountable to foreign investors within their legal system? They certainly encouraged foreign investment when times were good so why should they abandon them when the opposite occurs?

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12 Aug 2009 14:30 by Gillespie Star rating in Costa Calida Area. 608 posts Send private message

Gillespie´s avatar

If/when a UK or Spanish buyer choses to sign their off plan purchase contract in front of the notary, then the notary will ensure the builder/developer brings along his "legal pack"

This legal pack will contain the history of the project to date, from the very first planning apps, through to the building license etc. The builder/developer will have to confirm to the notary that all his paperwork is correct, it is still a serious offence to lie in front of a notary.

If the builder/developer tries to fudge his licenses by saying it has been applied for but not yet administered, then the notary will send you all away until the building license is in place.

Should, as in some cases, the licences be revoked further down the line, then when it comes to claiming back your deposit, the Spanish legal system looks more favourably on case where the buyer used the notary before signing their purchase contract.

In cases where the signing was done at the developers/agents/lawyers offices, and was never notorised, the judicial system is less inclined to act as the usual protocol was not followed.

In the cases where the Sanish have fallen foul of the system, theyprobably chose not to incure the cost of the notary, much as was the case when my buyers were advised to do so.

The Spanish use the notary system for almost every type of transaction, from bank loans, finance on cars or televisions right through to Wills and conveyancing.  There is no excuse not to use them when signing a purchase contract for an off-plan property.


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12 Aug 2009 15:03 by Chimps Star rating. 117 posts Send private message


Its so easy communicating through email to misread what someone is trying to say.
Often they are trying to put a very valid point across that others may wish take on board when they have strong opinions
Naturally this is very emotive subject with many having suffered so badly, lives ruined both financially and mentally
When we have statements like Spain has always been corrupt as some thing we should have been aware as Smiley says is 100% true. As I suggest is most if not all of the other references. He/She clearly says it as it is though clearly not welcome by some. Its not meant personally I am sure of that.
 However this is not going to be received very well when someone has done everything possible in researching the market and make a decision to buy.
Now being the careful and responsible person they are and having heard of stories about properties being demolished because many didn’t use solicitors they do the right thing.
They employ Lawyer. Not from some Aboriginal outback but a Country within the European Union, that being the case anyone could reasonably expect receive nothing less than the law being upheld.
Laws were abused in many countries in the past that doesn’t make it right now.
 Anyway back to.....The case or the sale cannot go through at that point!!!
 By now the ex British time share/the dodgy agent/developer /mortgage broker are in the past.(if they were of course)
They have done their bit however well or in many cases badly. They have a buyer/sucker in some cases where they have information that they could give and stop the sale going through. It maybe that stopping the sale would cost them say 10,000 Euros. FACT OF LIFE MOST WILL NOT. Like someone selling a house that plasters over a crack and paints know there is an underling problem.
You then have a corrupt solicitor that can also stop the sale but he /she would destroy the gravy train being those used buy agents and developers. They have no recourse or any possibility in receiving any action against them either financially or legally, In other words they abuse the law and Spain allows it. THAT’S WRONG. THATS WRONG.WRONG They know the poor souls will be back because they were conned to maybe conned again fighting a hopeless case they know cant be won. That’s PLAIN SICK
I am not interested in hearing there good solicitors that uphold the law. FACT they all should.
If they are tarred with the same brush then tough. Do something about it
Do something about it with your government which takes from us with one hand in the European Union and steels from us with the other.

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12 Aug 2009 15:12 by goodstich44 Star rating in northampton. 1636 posts Send private message


I'm sure we would all prefer a simple system that can be relied on, but the current  system really is letting people down. Are you really saying the Spanish are happy with the corruption, overbuilds, and the general mess that is their property industry??

Lack of regulation = corruption, and the justice system is as good as useless to many victims of fraud, lies, and deception at all levels. You know that as well as the rest of us. Trying to defend the system and saying it doesn't need changing is downright insulting to the many who have been cheated by it, and those having to live in it, Spanish, English, or whereever.

It's interesting to read how the Spanish go about buying, but sad to see those depending on the system for a living, refusing to face facts that those cheated know only to well from personal experience.


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12 Aug 2009 15:17 by 1962 Star rating in Iznalloz. 182 posts Send private message

Hi Gillespie,

Very interesting,  why have you waited so long to impart this knowledge to everyone, I really can't believe that the British came along and changed the whole system of house purchase.  What about the French/German/Dutch/Finnish/Arabic etc. I am sure they had to buy in the same way as the British (if not then I apologise), and also if a Spanish or maybe Polish person bought property in Britain they would have to go through entirely the same process as a british buyer  the system that would be used for anybody regardless of nationality. ( And I am not talking Rachman type sellers here but recognised legal Agents)   So why when we all flocked to Spain to buy  were we led up the wrong path.   If  the Spanish just go to the notary why can't we do the same, surely there is more to it than that and if it really is that simple why don't the estate agents direct us in the right direction, it goes back to the Title "Rough Justice yet again" which should be renamed  "No Justice Yet again"   Obviously the lawers and agents saw easy money and instead of guiding people correctly they saw a way to fleece the buyer even more.  There must be a buyers guide for Spanish people to study before buying property, so why can't it be translated into other languages so we can all buy property safely.  Or is it that they don't want us to so that we are all bled dry and we have to give in and leave the country to it's own people.  I myself am wanting to get rid of Telefonica because of the cost, but on another thread you find out that you try to do it and they will still take money from your account, same with mapfre insurance, look at the thread tennants from hell it is unbelievable, and people like goodstitch who has been fighting for so long for what?  Within my community we have a couple who owe quite a lot of community fees, they both have jobs and a big expensive car unlike other unfortunates who have fell on hard times.  Needless to say they use all the facilities within the community knowing they Have been named and shamed and the community is in the process of going through the courts at the moment to try to recoup the payments. The point I am trying to make is that the law in this country appears to be on the side of the law breaker and these people know it that is why all these scams are continuing it is a paradise for rip off and scam merchants no other answer.  One more question before I end this rant do Spanish buyers use an estate agent or not, if they do then they don't just go to the notary do they?





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12 Aug 2009 16:31 by Gillespie Star rating in Costa Calida Area. 608 posts Send private message

Gillespie´s avatar

Goodstich wrote

Trying to defend the system and saying it doesn't need changing is downright insulting.

I think this is were many people here have gone wrong in their property purchases.

To begin, we are talking about 2 different things here.

1) The property buying process.

2) The Legal/justice system.

I have explained the way the Spanish buy a property (through the notary, they don't use lawyers)

I have also said the Spanish legal and justice system is "not fit for purpose" - But I apply that to the British seeking justice, it's quite accepteable for the Spanish compared to what they had under Franco.

I have also explained that by signing a purchase contract through the notary you stand a greatly increased chance of a quick return of your deposit.

However, in the early days of my business, I had no problems getting 100% of my clients to do this when buying new build property. But after a couple of years, the clients coming through had often already assigned a lawyer to act for them before they came to me, maybe they had been out several times before I don't know.

So when I suggested they use the notary instead, they looked at me as though I was trying to con them, they had read everywhere from TV to books to websites that you MUST use a lawyer. In the end, I went along with whatever they asked for as more often than not, I was banging my head against the wall.

That is why I highlighted in my previous posts that it is a conveyancing system brought about by theBritish buyers, they insisted on lawyers who had sprung up overnight and not me!

As I also said in my previous post, if you notarise the purchase contract, you get quicker access to justice, because you have followed the right course during your purchase, you have had the notary witness the terms and conditions of the Spanish version of the purchase contract. However the majority of British buyers have only read the English version of their contract, or used a lawyer and most of those do and did not have good enough English to translate accurately. Using an official notarys certificated interpreter is by far the best and most accurate translation.

My Spanish neighbour has just part purchased a new build property for his son and daughter in law, the notary is well known to him, as with most Sanish, they always use their family notary down the years, the deal was notarised and he has no worries at all. If I had suggested to him to use a lawyer he would have laughed in my face.

In effect lawyers are not to be used for conveyancing, it does`'t make sense to the Spanish to add another layer of beurocracy, they would say, "What the hell is the notary for??



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12 Aug 2009 16:42 by Gillespie Star rating in Costa Calida Area. 608 posts Send private message

Gillespie´s avatar

Very interesting,  why have you waited so long to impart this knowledge to everyone,

More worryingly 1962, why do foreign buyers not find out how the locals do it before they come out to buy? Where is all the real research they claim to have done?

Could you imagine a Spanish buyer in the UK chosing to do it the Spanish way? They would be introducing a notary to a system that doesn't work by such methods, they would be adding another level of beurocracy would they not?

The Spanish purchase process works very well in Spain, the British purchase process, using a lawyer does not. That is why many things have gone wrong.


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12 Aug 2009 16:53 by meggie Star rating in England. 114 posts Send private message

Sorry if this message is a bit behind the thread...I was interrupted a couple of times whilst writing...

We bought our Spanish property in Catalunya before looking at the Costa Blanca and the Costa del Sol.  As far as we could tell from our research, which was extensive, many Spaniards buy without using an estate agent and without using a lawyer.  Before the Brits moved into the area in which we bought, estate agents were few and far between.  An agency consisted of a small office where those that couldn't find a buyer amongst their friends, neighbours or family would instruct the agent to find one for them.  The details of each property or piece of land for sale were written (usually by hand) on a piece of paper (often rather scruffy) and stuck on the office window with tape or bluetack!!!  It was the Brits that introduced the element of sophistication into estate agencies.  Now that the Brits are not buying in the area...the two remaining (Spanish) estate agents have reverted to their old ways!

When we bought we were told NOT to use a lawyer because the Spanish don't and it is quicker and far less expensive to use a Notary.  We used a Notary and everything was fine.  The young British couple that bought our property from us three years later instructed their family lawyer because their parents were so worried that the pair might be ripped off in Spain.  As it turned out, we had to instruct this lawyer on more than one occassion as to how the sale should go through.  He had not delt with a Spanish property sale before! It took 3 months for the sale to go through even though there was absolutley nothing that should have held the sale up.  As has been mentioned...most of the property sales amongst the Spanish take a matter days to complete!

It had been our intention to buy another property in another 'Spanish' place (NOT one built specifically to attract the British market etc).  We have long understood that the 'concrete jungle' of properties in Spain have provided the perfect money-making opportunity for corrupt agents/developers/lawyers.  It is a well-known fact that most 'foreigners' like to live amongst each other in an environment where they don't HAVE to learn Spanish to get by.  This is perfectly understandable...particularly as many of these developments are used as holiday homes by people who don't need to learn more than a few Spanish phrases for the short time that they are there.  But it is far easier to rip off the unsuspecting foreign buyer who has little or no input from friendly (nosey!), Spanish neighbours...bless them!

However, we will not by buying another property in spain unless there is some sort of intervention that helps to lessen the corrupt element.  We love Spain and the Spanish people and we won't stop going there but we will rent for the forseeable future from British people that own properties in Spain.  If all of us who would have bought in Spain did the might give out the right message to those that have the powers to change things!



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12 Aug 2009 17:03 by Poppyseed Star rating. 892 posts Send private message

Gillespie said  "they had read everywhere from TV to books to websites that you MUST use a lawyer. " then he said  "why do foreigner buyers not find out how the locals do it" Well in my mind if you read books on the buying process and check internet sites etc it would be natural assume the information obtained is accurate. Perhaps someone could tell me how anyone in another country can find out how the 'locals' do it if they don't actually know a local.

Also when many of these cases started the information that we  have now wasn't out there, forums such as this didn't exist and there were no red flags about illegal builds, dodgy lawyers etc. People like Smiley obviously had a long connection with Spain and the property market, us lesser mortals didn't have that advantage.

Regards, Poppyseed



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12 Aug 2009 17:11 by Gillespie Star rating in Costa Calida Area. 608 posts Send private message

Gillespie´s avatar

"Perhaps someone could tell me how anyone in another country can find out how the 'locals' do it if they don't actually know a local."

That is very worrying indeed and pretty much sums up the debate


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