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What are our remedies if the developer Aifos is not willing to complete the sale of our apartment?

Property Law

Antonio Flores Vila

2nd of February 2005

Q. Dear Lawyer, My wife and I have been involved in the purchase of an off plan apartment from Aifos builders via Agents Palmera Properties for the last 3 years in Roquetas de Mar. We have paid deposits and taxes via promissory note. The building is now complete and has been inspected by us in the company of the builders representative. A date was set for signing and completion but the builder would not sign. 2 weeks later we receive a letter from a "Notario" in Malaga in Spanish, that apparently states we have breached the contract by not signing on the due date. We have followed every procedure and our agents have power of attorney as we are in the UK. Apparently Aifos are featured on Andalusia website for this sort of behaviour. I am not the only investor, there are at least 40 - 50 others. During the 3 years the Apartments have gone up in value and we suspect the builders want to cash in on this and not Honour the original investors. What steps do you advise we take and is there any time limitations?

    A. Unfortunately Aifos is seemingly known for this sort of behaviour, whether making clients sign numerous bills of exchange prior to owning the land, not obtaining building permits after having taking big deposits, shoddy construction standards etc.

    What Aifos has tried to do is not new among rogue developers, a few of which are based in our area, but I would have not suspected the Aifos, who is based in Malaga and works closely with Palmera Properties (with its main office based nearby) would have wanted to join the club. In addition to this, the fact that Palmera recommends two lawyers who are also Palmera in house lawyers does not help.

    My advice on this matter would follow the lines below:

    1. Send a registered letter to Aifos (so called burofax), stating that payments have been and thus completion has to take place at the earliest possible convenience. It is recommendable that a direct call is made to Genaro Briales, director of Aifos and responsible for most of its latest illegal moves, threatening with public exposure if they persist in their attitude.
    2. Should this not work, you would need to immediately seek an injunction on the property through the Courts in Roquetas in order to freeze the land registry entry and avoid sale. This move is particularly damaging to any developer as it provides adverse publicity and prevents these properties from being sold.

    Finally, note that Palmera Properties┬┤ behaviour can only be considered as unethical in that they sell properties which generally do not have bank guarantees to safeguard the interests of the clients (should you have a bank guarantee you have the guarantee that all funds plus legal interest are recoverable) and normally have total disregard for individual investors. Interestingly, a lawyer acting for Palmera Properties, once told me that even though they represent investors who buy through Palmera Properties they are still retained, as in house lawyers, for the latter agency.

    We are open to discussing possible legal representation in order to seek performance of the contract and delivery of the property.

    Note to buyers having problems with Aifos

    Currently the lawfirm Lawbird Legal Services is representing a large number of clients in different court cases against Aifos in order to claim the refund of deposits and possible compensations for properties that were never built. If you are in this same situation, or are experiencing any other problems with the developer Aifos, and you are considering taking legal action, please don't hesitate to submit a query through this site, or contact for further assistance.

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