By Eloise Horsfield
A SCOTTISH couple is among 300 investors still waiting for their dream home in Morocco five years after parting with a hefty deposit.
Craig Menzies, 40, and wife Elaine, 42, handed over €35,000 in 2007 for an off-plan unit at Playa Vista, a large development on Morocco’s Mediterranean coast.
The couple was told the new complex in Cabo Negro – boasting ocean views, a secluded beach and marina – would be ready at the end of 2008, with the remaining balance of €44,800 due on completion.
However in November that year they received a notice saying a ‘stop work order’ had been issued by the Moroccan government.
“We understand this was due to the authorities being unhappy with the number of properties being built and pressures on water supply and other natural resources,” said Menzies, a software tester who lives in Alhaurin el Grande.
“They confirmed they were holding meetings with Moroccan officials and they hoped to reach an agreement with them to recommence construction,” he said.
But with still no sign of any movement almost five years after signing up, Menzies contacted the Olive Press.
Then, in May this year, Playa Vista announced it had some ‘good news’, and that a start date had been confirmed for July 30.
But Menzies, from West Lothian, remains sceptical: “This is not the first time we have had notices like this.
“We also received notification almost a month ago that we would receive individual packs outlining the details relating to our specific circumstance but so far it has failed to materialise.”
The Olive Press has since received similar testimonies from several investors in Spain, France and the UK, including 52-year-old Karen Cleary from Hampshire who has failed to get her €48,000 deposit back.
“I am of the opinion that this is a complete scam and that they should be arrested for keeping our money for so long,” she told the Olive Press.
“It’s all lies.”
Meanwhile other investors accused Playa Vista of avoiding returning deposits to investors by ‘hiding behind an open clause in the contract’ and moving the completion date forward.
When contacted by the Olive Press, Playa Vista said there would be options for clients who wished for their deposits to be returned and admitted it could be more ‘efficient and effective’ in its communications.