Almanzora Country Club, Vera, Alicante
This project was advertised as an off-plan complex with many onsite facilities.
In May 2004 I paid a deposit on a small bungalow, and a further payment totalling nearly €50,000. The remaining money was to be paid at the time of completion of the bungalow when papers and keys were to be handed over.
I agreed to use the local Spanish solicitor recommended by the agents (in Spain). The contract included the date for completion (1 December 2005) and a clause giving a 6-month extension in case of “unforeseen circumstances”. Final date was therefore 1 June 2006.
Contact with the agents during the following months revealed that there was no progress in building and finally it was admitted that the project was not legal!
By May 06 there was no change and I cancelled the contract. The Spanish solicitor finally achieved reimbursement having had to use a litigation solicitor. Luckily, the contract included a bank guarantee and I received a cheque for the full amount in August 06.
I was asked to pay €1,381 for both the solicitors’ fees which I have not done as the initial solicitor should have known that the project was not legal in the first place. By Spanish law I should have been compensated with 6% interest on the money already given. I learned this from elsewhere.
Also, I incurred costs for a UK Spanish notary, power of attorney papers countersigned by the Foreign Office in London which were reqested by the litigation solicitor. My additional costs were £137.
Almanzora Country Club is still unbuilt although agents in the UK say the papers will be issued sometime this year (!)
I consider I was fortunate to escape with little financial damage (due to the bank guarantee). However, there are other off-plan projects which have no such guarantee.