A SERIES of damning emails from a legal firm to its clients prove that its lawyers knew their house was illegal from the beginning.
Clients Jackie and Peter Chilvers told last issue how they were fined 23,000 euros for building a home in Tolox, which they only later discovered had a licence as ‘a toolshed’, or almacen.
They criticised their legal advisors, insisting that they had been working hand in hand with the developer and never explained the legal pitfalls.
“We were never told it was a warehouse or we couldn’t officially live there,” said Jackie Chilvers.
“We thought we were buying a proper home and we got a lawyer to do the paperwork.”
Yet, when the Olive Press confronted the large legal firm – which has offices around Andalucia and even in the UK – a senior partner insisted the company had warned the Chilvers all along that the property would never be legal. But despite promising to provide us with copies of the emails, nothing has been forthcoming.
Instead, a stream of emails supplied by the Chilvers seem to tell a different story.
These show that the lawyers were only too aware that the Chilvers were building an illegal house without a licence, but tried to smooth things over.
It was only once the house was nearly finished that they alluded to its illegality and the cost to have it legalised.
Sadly, this type of practice is all too common.
Excerpts of damning emails sent from the legal firm to the Chilvers in early 2004
“We will carry out all the necessary searches and investigations to ensure that the property you are purchasing is legally in order, and in the best conditions to purchase, so that you can be sure that your money is well invested.”
“We know that you have agreed with Grupo P3 to build a house on that plot. Therefore, once you become the legal owner of the plot it would be necessary to sign a construction work contract with the builders.”
“The builder has already applied for the building licence for the construction of the dwelling. The town hall is supposed to give the response next week.”
“We would like to take this opportunity to forward an estimate of the costs involved in the new building declaration in order to legalise your house once the construction is completely finished.”