Years after the Spanish property crash, buyers who lost money on off-plan property purchases that never materialised now have a chance of regaining their deposits.
It is estimated that around 200,000 foreign buyers put down large deposits in order to secure off-plan property but, when the Spanish property market crashed, many developers immediately declared themselves bankrupt – leaving these potential buyers out of pocket.
However a court ruling in December 2015 meant that overseas buyers could claim their money back directly from the Spanish banks, and this method is proving successful for many Brits who are prepared to go through the legal process.
“Many people are so fed up they can’t face the idea of going to court again,” commented Luis Cuervo, CEO of Spanish Legal Reclaims, which is handling hundreds of cases.
“What they need to understand is that they now have a good chance of recovering the money. It’s not property developers we’re up against now, it’s banks – and they have the money to pay.”
Before the ruling, only people with bank guarantees (around 5% of buyers) could claim directly from the banks. But when the Supreme Court ruled that the banks had an obligation to safeguard buyers’ money regardless of whether they had guarantees, there was hope for the remainder of British buyers.
The average case takes 12-15 months to complete – so it is only now that the Spanish banks are starting to pay out and British buyers are beginning to see the results of what has been, for many, a long and drawn out legal fight.