Buyer loses tens of thousands after buying unbuilt property through complex web of agents and a lawyer who wasn’t interested
A BRITISH man has spent a year trying to unravel an off-plan property scandal that has left him and others tens of thousands in debt.
William Bell and friends lost 30,000 euros investing in an off-plan scheme through Viva Estates in 2004.
Now they have been told that the development in Zahara de la Sierra, Cadiz, is not going ahead and Viva Estates has ‘gone into administration’.
“They tell me that if I sue them they will go bust and I will never get anything back. It is very unfair”
In a complicated chain of events it emerges that up to four different developers and estate agencies were involved in the scheme, which collapsed last year.
Despite not having planning permission for the El Azahar project, developers took a down payment of 30,000 euros, which has since disappeared.
It is understood they took large amounts of money from other buyers.
Now, after chasing the three companies involved, Bell has either received no reply or had veiled threats that he can’t take them to court.
“They tell me that if I sue them they will go bust and I will never get anything back. It is very unfair,” said Bell, who lives in the UK.
Bell, who desperately needs the money to help with his mortgage, has been chasing it since last summer.
“It is tantamount to robbery,” said Bell. “I was promised my deposit was protected. “Now I find it has mysteriously disappeared.”
Bell – along with his business partner and her parents – put down deposits for five houses in El Azahar.
He was assured by Viva that his deposit, paid to developer Anglo-Span, would be kept in a secure account and fully refundable if the project didn’t go ahead.
But four years later he discovered that the deposit had in fact been paid to a third company Espasierra.
Despite frequent calls and emails to representatives from all three companies he has never received a reply from Espasierra and has only received increasingly threatening emails from Viva and Anglo-Span.
In one, Anglo-Span representative Ray Allon wrote: “We are in a right mess with very little chance of recovering your deposits, although you are legally entitled to that.”
His legal firm, who were involved in the deal with Viva from the beginning, have also not responded to Bell’s increasingly desperate pleas for help.
“But because it’s fallen through and there is no money for them, they have lost interest.”