In a bizarre move, a court in Marbella has ordered four British investors to complete on their purchase of a property, despite the fact that the handover of the property has been delayed for almost 3 years. The delay has been due to the building licence being challenged and the property being seen as illegal by the Junta de Andalucia.
The court told the purchasers that they are not entitled to their deposit back, a sum in excess of 103,000 euros, and must continue with the completion of the purchase.
A local newspaper reports that the prospective owners of the property, located on the urbanisation ‘Santa María Green Hills in Elviria Sur, had signed the initial contracts with Marbella Vista Golf, SL in late 2004, with the handover being expected on or before January 1st, 2006.
The regional government in the meantime challenged the licence, considering it to be illegal, consequently leaving the property, its gardens and the planned golf course incomplete.
As a natural consequence, the group of four filed to the courts in an attempt to get their deposit back, with the Developer placing a counter-claim in conjunction with the same proceeding. It was then divulged that the court seeing over the claim, ruled the case in favour of the developer, stating that it was not the developer’s fault the completion date had seen unforeseeable delays. In addition to this, the court made mention of the fact it was also not the fault of the developer that irregularities were found in the licence that had been initially granted by the Town Hall.
To add insult to injury, the four purchasers are at a further financial loss as the court ruled they must now pay the full court costs for the proceeding, however, giving them the right to appeal to the provincial court.
The moral of the story is when making any sort of property investment, it is always wise to use an experienced, reputable and local lawyer to carry out a thorough due diligence check to avoid nasty surprises such as these along the way.