RECOVERING DEPOSITS FOR OFF-PLAN PURCHASES

Housing project processIf you have bought a property off-plan, or are thinking of buying one, you need to be aware that the law in Spain changed in 2016 and this might affect you.

Building Regulation Law (Ley de Ordenación de la Edificación – LOE) came into force on 1 January 2016, and it introduced important changes for off-plan buyers.

Principally, it cuts the period within which those who have not yet taken possession of their property can reclaim their deposits from the promoters and banks which received them without providing the legally-required guarantees. Before 31 December 2015, Law 57/1968 of 27 July established a period of 15 years from the agreed delivery date for reclaiming a deposit for breach of contract (when the property was not handed over by the contracted date or when there was a significant delay in handing it over).

From 1 January 2016, this 15-year term to reclaim a deposit from the guarantor has been reduced to 2 years, and in certain cases, a new term of 5 years has been established, counting from 7 October 2015, to claim a deposit refund from a promoter-vendor and the bank holding the deposit, given the new wording of article 1964 of the Civil Code.
And so, for promotions where an application for the works licence was made after 1 January 2016, and where deposits were paid after that date, the window to reclaim will not be 15 or five years, but two years, reducing the protection consumers previously enjoyed.

All off-plan purchasers are therefore affected by this new legislation, and if you paid your deposit before 31 December 2015 and the developer failed to deliver the property or the works overran, and you have not been required to sign an escritura, you should consult a lawyer immediately. This is because the previous window of 15 years to reclaim deposits from developers and banks has now been reduced to 5 or even 2 years depending on the circumstances, and particularly for deposits being reclaimed from a guarantor or insurance company.

Anyone who does not start reclaim proceedings within this new time period will irrevocably lose the deposit, especially if the promoter has filed for bankruptcy or is in administration.

Those buying property in off-plan developments licensed after 1 January 2016 should be vigilant and reclaim their deposit in the event that a vendor fails to comply with the terms of the purchase contract. If they do not claim, they may lose their guarantees.
After numerous Supreme Court rulings requiring banks to return deposits to buyers after failing to meet their obligations to exercise vigilance over promoters, as required by the previous law 57/1968, Spanish legislation has finally imposed a deadline for these actions against banks, especially for those buyers who are not diligent in reclaiming and who miss the window in which they can reclaim an excess. It is therefore time to review your reclaim.

Spanish version

RECUPERACION DE DEPOSITOS EN COMPRAVENTA SOBRE PLANOS

Si comprastes una casa o vas a comprar casa sobre plano, ten en cuenta, la ley en España cambió en el año 2016 y te puede afectar.

El 1 de enero de 2016 entró en vigor la reforma de la Ley de Ordenación de la Edificación (LOE), que introduce en España importantes cambios para el comprador de vivienda sobre planos.

Lo primero que hay que tener en cuenta ante esta novedad legislativa es que, si no te entregaron la vivienda, a partir de la entrada en vigor de dicha ley, se han recortado los plazos para reclamar al promotor y a las entidades bancarias que recibieron tu depósito, sin entregar las garantías previstas en la ley.

Con anterioridad al 31 de Diciembre de 2015, al amparo de la Ley 57/1968 de 27 de Julio se disponía  un plazo de 15 años desde la fecha de entrega pactada, para reclamar las devolución del depósito por incumplimiento contractual (cuando no se entregase la vivienda en el plazo pactado o hubiera un retraso sustancial en la entrega)

A partir del 1 de Enero de 2016 este plazo de 15 años queda reducido a  2 años para reclamar al avalista y además se establece un nuevo plazo de 5 años, contados desde el 7 de Octubre de 2015, en determinados supuestos, para reclamar la devolución del depósito al  promotor-vendedor y al banco que recibió los depósitos, vista la nueva redacción del artículo 1964 del Código Civil.

Así pues, para las promociones en que la licencia de obra haya sido solicitada con posterioridad al 1 de enero de 2016 y depósitos abonados a partir de esa fecha, el plazo para reclamar no será ya de 15 o cinco años, sino de dos años, empeorándose la protección que se venía dando al consumidor.

Por tanto, todos los compradores sobre planos están afectados por esta nueva ley y si abonastes tu deposito antes del 31 de Diciembre de 2015 y no te entregaron la vivienda, la obra está retrasada y Además no te han requerido para firmar escritura… debes consultar inmediatamente con tu abogado, puesto que si bien antes tenías un plazo de 15 años para reclamar al vendedor y al banco, según la anterior legislación, este plazo se puede ahora haberse reducido a 5 años o incluso a 2 años, según el caso y especialmente, si tienes que reclamar al avalista o a la aseguradora.

En caso de no presentar demanda dentro de estos plazos, perderías definitivamente tu depósito, especialmente si el promotor es insolvente o esta en concurso de acreedores.

Los compradores sobre planos de viviendas cuya licencia de obras se obtuvo a partir del 1 de Enero de 2016, deben de estar vigilantes y frente a un incumplimiento del vendedor, siempre deben reclamar o pueden perder sus garantías.

Tras las numerosas sentencias del Tribunal Supremo condenado a entidades bancarias a devolver los depósitos de los compradores, por incumplimiento de su obligación de vigilancia de las promotoras, según la antigua ley 57/1968, finalmente el legislador Español ha puesto fecha de caducidad a estas acciones contra las entidades bancarias, especialmente para aquellos compradores que no son diligentes con sus reclamaciones y dejan transcurrir el tiempo para reclamar en exceso. Es por tanto tiempo de revisar tu reclamación.

Author: J. Escobedo

I am a member of the Tenerife Law Society since 1989 with a dedicated team for anyone who needs an immediate answer or long term solution to any practical or legal issues appertaining to any property or business investment in Spain. If you have decided to move to Spain to start a new life, whether that´s buying a property or a business, then you will definitely need the services of a good Spanish Lawyer who is fully conversant with Spanish protocol and who has a good command of the English language. I am based in the south of Tenerife and I am specialist in Property Law, Inheritance issues and taxes as well as Tenerife and Canarian law and a great deal more. ABOUT MY STAFF All my friendly and professional staff are fluent in English. We have been working for foreign clientes for over 25 years in Tenerife, providing legal advice and litigation services to all our clients investing throughout the whole of Spain and we pride ourselves on providing a high quality service to our clients in the form of clearer communication and advice.

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