Off-plan buyers, who bought unrepresented, see their new Spanish home repossessed

Raymundo LarraĆ­n Nesbitt, May, 21. 2021

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By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Lawyer - Abogado
21st of May 2021

As a press clip reports, the buyers were smug and did not find it necessary to instruct a Spanish lawyer on their property purchase. They overconfidently set out to do everything by themselves, unrepresented, and paid the price.

They completed at a notary, they were handed the keys, and proceeded to occupy their new home. However, months after, they received at their home a nasty letter by recorded delivery from the local court warning them that legal repossession was imminent and that they had to vacate the property by a certain date. They thought it was some clerical error and proceeded to ignore and bin it.

A month later the police, bailiffs, and a locksmith showed up to physically remove them from their new home and left them destitute with their life's belongings piled up on the street.

Later on, it transpired their developer owed a substantial amount of money to its lender, bank Santander. Unbeknownst to the buyers, they had failed to follow the legal registration procedure of their new property. Meaning the property was still registered under the developer's name, as an asset, at the time the lender executed the defaulted loan seizing the collateral.

As a result, the law court ruled that their new home belonged to the developer's lender, crushing the dreams and hopes of the couple. They are not entitled to any compensation.

What can be gleaned from this horror story, is that buyers should always instruct a lawyer to represent them on buying property in Spain to avoid any legal issues. The fees that a lawyer charges are in fact 100% tax-deductible on selling the property as we often report in all our taxation articles. It makes zero sense for a buyer to ‘save’ themselves paying lawyer’s fees only to see their life savings jeopardized, or worse.

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