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-   -   Liability for Community's illegal build (https://britishexpats.com/forum/spain-75/liability-communitys-illegal-build-936083/)

vintner55 Dec 13th 2020 10:25 am

Liability for Community's illegal build
 
Hi everyone. Looking for some advice as to whether we have any redress. We bought our 3rd floor apartment in June 2018 using a local solicitor. Our community of residents has been taken to court by the neighbouring landowner where it was proved that the elevator shaft (a later addition to the building) was built on his land, knowingly without his permission, and in bad faith. This means that the elevator has to be demolished and the Community has to pay the cost of that plus the associated legal fees, Approximately 36,000 euros between 10 apartments.
We are completely innocent in all this but will now suffer from a large drop in the value of our apartment as well as the immediate financial costs. We did not own the property when the decision was taken to act illegaly, do we have any redress against the members of the Community that took that decision?
Additionaly the summons for the legal case by the neighbour was made to the court in January 2018. Shouldn't we have been made aware of this before we proceeded with the purchase?
Don't know where to go from here but if nothing else perhaps it is a cautionary tale for other prospective purchasers.

missile Dec 13th 2020 11:20 am

Re: Liability for Community's illegal build
 
Wow :-( a cautionary tale indeed. Where is your property?

Do not rely on Abogado. Check and double check any modifications and additions are legal. Careful examination of the escritura and a trip to the Ayuntamiento could save heartache.

vintner55 Dec 13th 2020 1:35 pm

Re: Liability for Community's illegal build
 
It's in Lo Pagan, San Pedro del Pinatar, Murcia. We thought we were being safe by buying an older property (1968) in the town rather than the countryside. We searched very carefully for a property that my 92 year old father could join us in on holidays. Ground floor or an elevator was essential as was being walking distance to the beach, cafes, supermarkets, bank etc. Kicking ourselves now as there was a nearby property on the first floor with no elevator that was in better condition than ours and better view. We didn't know that the elevator was a later addition either until we heard about the court case.

Chipmonk Dec 13th 2020 2:24 pm

Re: Liability for Community's illegal build
 

Originally Posted by vintner55 (Post 12945695)
It's in Lo Pagan, San Pedro del Pinatar, Murcia. We thought we were being safe by buying an older property (1968) in the town rather than the countryside. We searched very carefully for a property that my 92 year old father could join us in on holidays. Ground floor or an elevator was essential as was being walking distance to the beach, cafes, supermarkets, bank etc. Kicking ourselves now as there was a nearby property on the first floor with no elevator that was in better condition than ours and better view. We didn't know that the elevator was a later addition either until we heard about the court case.


TBH I think it's more bad luck than lack of investigation. Very often these things get settled without going the full distance. My community have been suing a neighbour for years and nothing happens apart from our lawyer getting paid. Try not to worry about it because I very much doubt your Spanish neighbours will

vintner55 Dec 13th 2020 2:27 pm

Re: Liability for Community's illegal build
 
Unfortunately it's gone the distance, been to court, we lost and the court has ordered that the elevator be demolished. We have offered to buy the land from the neighbour but he is not interested in selling at any price.

Chipmonk Dec 13th 2020 3:12 pm

Re: Liability for Community's illegal build
 
Oh dear. I am sorry to hear that. Do bear in mind that these things are more common than you might think and often can be resolved out of court even though a ruling has been made. You should no doubt get some notices from the community with suggestions and the Spanish are actually very good at sorting these things out through less official ways but they like to prove who is in the right first of all.

Dxf Dec 13th 2020 4:19 pm

Re: Liability for Community's illegal build
 
Hola

What you need is proper professional advice; we can give "tea and sympathy" but to have a case you need to know the precise laws that may protect you

Davexf

johnnyone Dec 13th 2020 6:02 pm

Re: Liability for Community's illegal build
 

Originally Posted by Dxf (Post 12945746)
Hola

What you need is proper professional advice; we can give "tea and sympathy" but to have a case you need to know the precise laws that may protect you

Davexf

I agree.
I would have thought that the seller and or your solicitor would have a duty of care towards you to disclose or carry out a search to ascertain if there were any problems. That would certainly be the case under UK law.
I would have thought that you may get an initial free consultation to establish any rights you have under Spanish law.
I would try googling for a UK based Spanish lawyer.

spainrico Dec 14th 2020 8:41 am

Re: Liability for Community's illegal build
 
As far as I know (maybe only Alicante) if there is any legal disputes/issues ongoing when you are buying these must be disclosed and this is part of your solicitor's due diligence so this should have been disclosed to you before completion. Otherwise, what is the point of having legal representation?

I suggest you take legal advice from Pellicer & Heredia who I personally know perform these checks and they might be able to represent you against your current legal advisers who I think have been very negligent.

https://www.pellicerheredia.com/

Contact Ignacio Pellicer (he speaks good English)

By coincidence Ignacio just contacted me on another matter - I mentioned this and he said -He agrees that the problem should have been raised when asking for any debts to the administrator and asking for the bylaws and minutes of the community and he thinks that he does not know what kind of conveyancing they did seems “soft” but you definitely make an appointment with a different lawyer to the first one.


vintner55 Dec 14th 2020 9:03 am

Re: Liability for Community's illegal build
 
Thank you very much for your responses. I have requested an initial consultation with Pellicer Heredia.

Moses2013 Dec 14th 2020 9:10 am

Re: Liability for Community's illegal build
 

Originally Posted by vintner55 (Post 12945894)
Thank you very much for your responses. I have requested an initial consultation with Pellicer Heredia.

Some good info here: https://www.spanishpropertyinsight.c...wyer-in-spain/

Filing a complaint against a Spanish lawyer

So, what do to if you need to complain against your lawyer for professional negligence, for example for not doing basic due diligence on your purchase and missing some obvious problems?

The first step is to verify the lawyer is registered (lawyers registered with the Bar Association will have mandatory Professional Indemnity Insurance which can be claimed upon for negligence or malpractice). All lawyers are assigned a practising number which is specific to one of Spain’s 83 Bar Associations / Law Societies.

The ‘Consejo General de la Abogacía Española’ (General Council of Lawyers) represents all 83 Law Societies in Spain. You can look up any registered lawyer at its website using a name and surname and see the lawyer’s practising number, regional Bar Association and general contact details.

“In the business of selling property to foreign buyers and legal service for foreign clients it is not hard to find unqualified imposters posing as lawyers when they are not registered to practise,” my lawyer friend tells me. “They label themselves with fancy names such as: “legal executive, jurista, paralegal, asesor legal, licenciado, legal advisor etc.”. As a general rule, anyone who does not clearly identify themselves using the word ‘abogado’ should be held suspect.


Steps to make a complaint against a lawyer in Spain

  • Find out before which specific Bar Association he/she is registered in. He/she could be registered in more than one.
  • Contact the provincial Bar Association and lodge a formal complaint. It is recommended a second lawyer represents you filing this formal complaint as specific Deontological rules should be quoted as having being breached.
  • The Bar Association normally contacts the lawyer to hear allegations and then rules if there has been some breach of conduct or not.
  • If the ruling is negative, it can be appealed (recurso de alzada) to a higher regional instance such as the Consejo Andaluz de Colegios de Abogados (with jurisdiction is exclusive to the region of Andalusia only).

vintner55 Dec 14th 2020 9:41 am

Re: Liability for Community's illegal build
 
Thank you for the link, I will look into that.


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