Spanish Property Investors Find Non Existent Bank Guarantees

  • 14 years ago
  • Uncategorized

Despite being a legal requirement, has discovered that only half of the bank guarantees ‘issued’ in Spain actually exist. This shocking news will heap yet more misery onto those despairing investors who are without a second home, the deposit they shelled out to buy it and now no means of recovering their losses.

Designed to protect client monies in the event that the property was not constructed in line with the contract, bank guarantees were seen as the ultimate in security by Spanish property investors. However, in their endeavours to recover lost funds on the behalf of investors, has exposed many cases where the guarantee has been promised but not delivered. Who is ultimately responsible for this failure – the bank, lawyer, notary or the developer? It’s simply not that clear cut.

Director of, Daren Wallbank, explains, “Approximately 30% of enquiries received by relate to Spain and, for many, the existence of bank guarantees alongside a fair legal system means a strong chance of deposit recovery. However, when these guarantees simply do not exist, we’re finding it difficult to apportion blame. Fault, we are told, does not lie with the lawyer, the notary, the bank or even the developer although all would have been aware of both the legal requirement and the clauses in the buying contract relating to it.”

Daren continues, “Lawyers are absolving themselves by saying that their responsibility ends with checking that the contract states there is a bank guarantee. The fact that they could then oversee the sending thousands of pounds worth of client money into a non bank guarantee account seems to be irrelevant. Yet if there’s no money in the designated bank guarantee account and it’s all going into the developer’s trading account, the bank will not issue the security. People put faith in their lawyer and it’s unfortunate that they’ve not been vigilant throughout – a quick phone call to the bank would have told them which account their client’s deposit had gone into and timely alarm bells could have rung.”

“The bank must also be questioned,” continues Daren, “Should they not query why large amounts of client money were entering the developer’s trading account whilst the bank guarantee account remained empty? Their defence is that they cannot be held responsible for the actions of their customers, merely facility the accounts. As for the notary, they simply checked the legality of the documents, charged their percentage, wielded a stamp and didn’t delve too much further. In short – everyone blames the developer. The wronged client is now stuck between a rock and hard place as had the developer still been in business and the project complete, the subject of bank guarantees wouldn’t have cropped up in the first place.”

This bleak picture leaves clients with the knowledge that they are more likely to buy a holiday home on Mars than successfully sue a lawyer in Spain. However, is aiming for strength in numbers and hoping to take control of a quantity of cases on a ‘No Win No Fee’ basis. Spain’s fair legal system ups the chances of deposit recovery proving clients can conform to four simple criteria – have in their possession the original private purchase and reservation contracts, have the bank guarantee or insurance bond certificate, have proof of payments and finally a contract that has expired without the property reaching completion. will also investigate Spanish claims without bank guarantees on a ‘Low Fee’ basis.

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