Leave my home alone!

LAST UPDATED: 2 May, 2013 @ 17:38
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Leave my home alone!

A RETIRED British businesswoman faces losing her UK property over a defunct Spanish property investment.

Pensioner Joan Deak has been threatened with an embargo on her  London home after a Costa del Sol-based buyer came after her UK assets.

The 61-year-old – who has diagnosed with cancer which she claims has been brought on from the stress of the 10 year case – has been forced to stump up thousands in legal fees to defend herself.

She is even being forced to fly to Spain to attend a crucial court hearing in Fuengirola next week or face the possibility of being found guilty in her absence.

The case is the latest to involve disgraced property firm Palmera Properties, which still has hundreds of clients trying to bring action against it.

The vast majority put down deposits on developments promoted by the firm owned by Ferrari-driving church-goer Jesus Gotardo, who lives in Fuengirola. Most of these homes were never built.

Deak’s nightmare began when she and a business partner invested in two unfinished apartments in Mirador de Torreblanca, near Fuengirola in 2004.

They put down a deposit of €69,000 on the two apartments, which were due to be finished later that year.

However, the following year, with progress moving increasingly slowly they decided to sell the option – at a loss – on one of the unfinished apartments.

“Palmera Properties found us a buyer, acted as agent and negotiated the deal for one of the properties that I had paid €32.000 for,” she told the Olive Press.

“I agreed on a reduced price of €25,000 with the new Spanish buyer deciding to cut my losses on this particular apartment”

However, little did she know that her nightmare was just beginning, when she began to receive letters from the disgruntled Spanish buyer now demanding his money back.

“But as far as I was concerned it was Palmera who he should have been going after… they were responsible for making sure the property was built.

“Ultimately we both lost money because Palmera did not comply with the original deal.”

However, her decision on taking legal advice to ignore the buyer has backfired.

Unknown to Joan, under Spanish Law, the buyer is able to come after her UKassets and force the sale of her UK residence, a four-bedroom property in Stanmore, in order to get his money back.

“It came as a massive shock when I was served papers on my doorstep in London.

“I certainly had not realied that my UK assets could ever be in danger” she continued. “I was resigned to biting the bullet and taking a loss, but I didn’t expect this. If I do not defend myself in court, Spanish law will find me guilty and liable to repay this deposit back to the new buyer, as well as all the court costs. I have had to engage a Spanish solicitor and also a barrister at great expense. It is costing me at least €50,000.”

Joan’s case meanwhile could have huge implications for many other UK residents who sold on options to third party buyers.

“If this case goes through and the plaintiff wins, it could open the floodgates to everyone who sold on an option to build… even, as in this case, the property was never built,” she warns

Ultimately her health has suffered as a result of the stress involved.

“This has all been a huge nightmare. It has stressed me and I’ve just had a second diagnosis for cancer. I don’t expect to see any money back from this in my lifetime. This has blighted my life for the past 10 years”

26 COMMENTS

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    • in the long distant past when trade was conducted in the local marketplace and buyer and seller knew each other on an equal footing and “caveat emptor” was a pragmatic business model. But modern marketing technology places consumers at a huge disadvantage and the law now protects people via various “consumer protection laws” which have now replaced the “caveat emptor” principle.
      This is the same throughout most civilized places – including the EU!

      If criminal conduct is involved this lady should inform the police.

    • in the long distant past when trade was conducted in the local marketplace and buyer and seller knew each other on an equal footing and “caveat emptor” was a pragmatic business model. But modern marketing technology places consumers at a huge disadvantage and the law now protects people via various “consumer protection laws” which have now replaced the “caveat emptor” principle.
      This is the same throughout most civilized places – including the EU!

      If criminal conduct is involved this lady should inform the police.

      We have lived in Spain for 20 years and during that time purchased and sold 17 properties.
      Never any problem!

  1. The problem is you have a 4 bed in Stanmore. I lived there over 25 years ago, the Lady’s house must be worth £500k to £1 million, maybe more and they know that, zoopla etc. Buying off plan when prices are rising 10% PA seems like a good investment but thousands of these off plan properties in Spain are never finished, some have no planning permission before or after and the infrastructure is not finished much of the time, even down to no running water. If you really have to buy in Spain and not the costwolds!! give yourself a chance and buy one that has already been built that has an escritura and do not use the solicitor recommended by the estate agent. If the estate agent is not happy with this then there is probably a good reason. There are alot of risks when buying in Spain, you don’t need to look far to find this out.

  2. very interesting case, we are in the same boat, bought an option from a lady for an apartment she bought off plan from Aifos Hippodromo. at that time, prices were going up 10% a year. so she pocketed €11,000 profit, and we started paying the installments for the 30% deposit.
    Aifos Hippodromo is in administration, the blocks has been built but never finished.
    Do we have a case against the lady we bought from?
    Just sent this article to our solicitors, will let you know.

  3. Buying anything in Spain – from a house to a hammock is fraught with danger.

    Why? Simply because it’s Spain and there is a totally different attitude towards honesty and truth – and the law courts are a joke.

    You may be lucky – but many are not!
    If you don’t like danger, stay in the UK!

  4. Maria Jones,
    I prefer France. You can buy into a lousy old house that will cost a fortune to rebuild but that’s down to plain stupidity by those who refuse to admit they know nothing about construction and are too mean to pay for someone to warn them off.

    However it is impossible to buy an illegally built house because any attempt at building without permits will result in a visit by the gendarmes to arrest you on day two.

    BTW I know all about Spanish law and how judgements can and are bought and paid for.

  5. stay in uk its safe! love it, there are more stabbings and robbery in uk than most of the rest of europe put together.
    its easy, to buy in spain you need to stick to buying exactly that, buying off plan is buying an idea, if the idea doesnt raise the funds to finish the project, the developers bale and move on to the next one.
    Buy a house finished or unfinished, then it is up to you to finish it or not but you own it outright.
    Use a decent local lawyer who knows what is going on in the area as that is also crucial to a safe buy, a remote lawyer will not know the area at all and so will be looking at the paperwork for the property without actually knowing anything about the surroundings or plans for airports or roads ect. they can also pop into the town hall and ask the town planner themselves, it will also be cheaper.
    if they mess up you can take your lawyer to court so they tend to be behave.
    stay away from over developed areas, higher maintenence fees for a start and a lot more change of them have been built semi legally.

  6. “if they mess up you can take your lawyer to court”

    t, what happene if YOU mess up? You give plenty of advice, together with some very spurious generalistions.

    So what happens if someones takes you seriously (unlkely I know), follows your advice to the letter, and it all goes pear-shaped?

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