What are our remedies in Spanish law if the developer defaults?
Antonio Flores Vila
25th of March 2001
I have signed a purchase contract with a big developer in Costa Blanca which I have got two problem with them.
- They are already 5 months late from the date of completion and still my villa is not ready although I have paid more than 2/3 of the money to them.
- They have made a mistake on the construction of the building as they had to raise the bulding because of the land slope. As the result the steps to the kitchen has to be extended and now they have ended to the neighbour wall. This has caused that I have no access to the front of the building and the only access would be through the kitchen. Originally, according to the plan, 1.20 meter clearance space should be between the neighbour's wall and my kitchen's steps. I have discussed this problem with them and asked them to compensate my neighbour to make him agree to extend my land by 1 meter so I have a space between the wall and kitchen's steps.
The developer seems to me ignoring and avoiding my request and saying if you do not like it you can get your money back. I do not want the money as the price of the properities have increased a lot and I have been waiting 18 months so far. I would be grateful if you kindly advise me how I can persuade the developer to take me seriousley and what is their responsibilities according the law.
A. You legal remedies for this type of breach are included in the Spanish
Civil Code. According to the legal test, the developer would be in
breach of contract and therefore you have the right to either rescing
the contract, that is, recoup your investment plus interest, or claim
damages, if any.
Otherwise, you can sue for performance of the deal in its original
inception and if not possible, claim damages. It may well occur that
in this case there is no possibility to rectify the building mistake,
and therefore there is the right to compensate for damages.
In order for the developer to take you seriously, I suggest you hire
the services of a lawyer, and that you let us know the name of the
developer and the address, as we have many clients in that area and it
could be of interest for you as I may well be representing some of