We are one of three couples (long time friends) who decided to purchase retirement homes near to each other in Spain.
Our friends found an ad placed by our promoter in The Times for properties situated in lemon and orange groves around Albox. Three other companies promoting properties in the area were selected via the Internet.
15th September 2001
Our friends took time off work and visited Albox where they met representatives of several companies offering to sell or construct villas. They visited our promoter and were given their promotional material and were shown 'amongst others' the plot described as ‘1 x 10000m” plot near the Albox tennis club, 7.5 million pts’. They were assured by a sales representative that ' building permission was automatic for plots over 2,500 m2' and that the promoter could offer a package of segregated plot and villa design on this site for all three couples.
Early October 2001
Members of the group visited Albox during the time of the annual fiesta in Plaza San Francisco. We were shown (by a sales representative for the promoter) a number of villas under development on similar sites throughout Albox and were again assured that building permission was automatic for plots over 2,500m2. He also stated that 4 villas could be built on a plot of this size.This group again reviewed the sales information provided.
The group selected this plot of land as the location for 3 villas to be constructed by the promoter. They were advised by the promoter that the purchase must take place prior to any division of land and that one person should purchase the land to keep things simple.
The promoter made the introduction to a local lawyer. The lawyer confirmed that building permission was automatic for plots of 2,500m2 or over. At no point in subsequent proceedings did he indicate that you could not build on this land.
The group made an agreement to purchase the plot jointly.
Everybody had permanent jobs and were permanently
resident in the UK. For that reason we had neither the capability
nor the desire to manage a development project and sought a ‘package’
solution to meet our needs.
The promoter made every effort to assure us that those needs would be met. ie. that we selected a building plot from their portfolio, chose the villa design and they did the rest. We wanted to use a local, established and reputable Spanish company who were capable of providing the full land and building package. The promoter appeared experienced and trustworthy so we decided to use them.
30 November 2001
One member of the group signed the contract to purchase the entire plot on behalf of the whole group. The purchase was funded using funds provided by everyone.
23rd May 2002
Having selected villa design number 36 from the
promoters brochure, we agreed specifications and modifications
with the promoters team and arrived at a construction estimate
of €157,550 + IVA. The details of this agreement are specified
in our first contract.
We would not, however, agree to proceed with the build and make the first stage payments until we had the escritura for our portion of the land.
18th October 2002
Due to protracted delays with splitting the land and obtaining individual escrituras, the promoter expressed the wish to re-negotiate the price for construction. We entered into the second contract on 18th October 2002.
5th June 2003
After much protracted discussion with the promoter regarding correct measurements of the plot and correct measurements of the agreed split, we were finally advised that the final document regarding the segregation of our plots was available and it was now up to our solicitor to transfer the plot into our name. The segregation licence was signed by the then mayor of Albox.
24th June 2003 - February 2004
Received Escritura for our Plot of land. Between June 2003 and February 2004 we made five stage payments on the property, and on the 19th June received a document titled ‘Certificate of works completed’ from the site Supervisor and assistant architect.
15th November 2004
We provided our agreed share of the cost of an electricity pylon and transformer based on a quote provided by the promoter.
Sometime after that date we provided a power of attorney to a person in the employ of the promoter to set up the contracts for electricity and water. According to our bank statements our first payment to Water company was made in January 2005, and our first payment to the electricity company was made in April 2005.
On completion of construction we failed to receive the necessary escritura and the licence of first occupation is not forthcoming. Our requests for an update to both our lawyer and promoter were not successful.
Around 31st January 2007
The Guardia Civil, SEPRONA section, called on our property and spoke to the person installing a burglar alarm, who provided our contact number in the UK. We subsequently received a phone call and were advised that our house was illegal.
We emailed the promoter asking them to clarify the situation but no response was forthcoming.
Prior to commencement of construction we were provided with architects drawings.