If you’ve already bought an off-plan property and it’s not quite what you expected, or you’re thinking of buying one but have some worries, help is at hand. The Spanish authorities have learnt from the mistakes of years ago and have strict legal protections for buyers these days. Specialist lawyer JLCA & AS Lawyers explain how to protect yourself now and get redress for past problems.
Buying off-plan means buying a property that’s either not yet built or still in the process of being built, as opposed to an older property (known as a “resale”).
While buying off-plan comes with many benefits, some prospective buyers worry about the potential risks, particularly when it comes to construction defects. JLCA & AS Lawyers share their expertise on rectifying construction problems when buying off-plan in Spain.
If you’d like to hear more about JLCA’s services, see their webinar ‘How off-plan & new build buyers in Spain could be in for a payday’ at Your Overseas Home, on demand.
What can go wrong when buying off-plan in Spain?
While most off-plan properties and construction companies in Spain are problem-free, you don’t want to fall foul of a ‘bad apple’.
Often, you will be able to flag up certain construction defects before completion, such as mismatched or missing floor tiles, peeling paint or leaky taps. However, more serious problems may not become apparent until after the time of payment, at which point the promotor or construction company could be long gone.
Luckily, under Spanish law, you can still claim for these damages and hold the promotors or builders responsible.
Know your rights in Spain
Knowing and understanding your legal rights in Spain is crucial.
So, what exactly can you claim for?
- Construction damages
- The moral damages from the stress suffered
- The legal interests
- The legal fees
How to claim
JLCA & AS Lawyers will help you make your case against the promotor or construction company. We offer a ‘no win no fee’ option to help you claim back what is rightfully yours.
We suggest first hiring a trusted architect to assess the damage to your property. After you have a comprehensive list of the damages, there are several different ways you can claim.
The most common way to claim is under the Civil Code, in particular Articles 1101 and 1124. This states that the buyer of a home, as an integral part of a contract, is entitled to claim against the promoter for breach of contract. If you choose to go down this route and win, the promotor must fix all the defects at their expense.
If you have paid to fix the damages yourself, you can also claim back the amount paid for the repairs, as well as the corresponding legal interests, the moral damage and other expenses, such as legal fees.
Do note, however, that you must claim within five years of the delivery of the property, and the promotor must also still be solvent.
Building Act – Law 38/1999
Another way to claim is under Spain’s Building Act Law 38/1999. This law clearly defines, and holds responsible, all those involved during the construction of your property, including construction agents, architects and builders, as well as their respective insurance companies.
It also differs from the Civil Code in that you can only claim for construction material damages; you cannot claim for other damages such as moral damages for the inconvenience suffered.
You must report any defects in the first year of owning your property. After this, you will have up to 10 years to claim for certain damages caused by the defects.
The General Law for the Defence of Consumers and Users – Law 1/2007
Under this law, you can claim for construction defects against the marketing promotor that are caused during the correct use of the property and that are not compensable by a specific legal regime.
Similarly to the Building Act 38/1999, you must report any defects in the first year of owning your property and then you will have up to 10 years to claim for certain associated damages.