WHEN Diego Echevarria moved to Marbella from Madrid two decades ago he was attracted by the international mix of residents, the climate and, certainly, the golf courses.
A lawyer, with a first class training at the capital’s prestigious Complutense University, he landed a good job at a leading local firm, guiding mostly foreign clients through the maze of property buying.
But, after going it alone, in 2006, Diego, 45, began to notice a recurring problem affecting dozens of his clients, the majority of whom had simply no idea.
It mostly involved buyers who took out mortgages in the boom time between 2002 and 2009 and it was costing them thousands.
In short, they were unfairly set up with a floor clause (or clausula suelo) inserted in the smallprint, meaning repayments could not drop below a certain level.
“It meant so many people being conned out of tens of thousands of euros,” explains the personable father-of-two from his plush office in central Marbella.
“Most of my clients were British, who bought in the boom time and visited for two or three weeks a year. They simply had no idea.”
The floor clause – now deemed illegal under Spanish law – meant whatever happened to the rates, the bank managed to win and Diego explains that the worst offenders included household names such as Unicaja, Banco Santander, Sabadell and Banco Popular.
Diego estimates that as many as 3.5 million variable rate mortgages had this clause inserted over the last 20 years.
“And the average loss is about €25,000 with some well over €60,000,” explains bilingual Diego, who studied abroad for three years in Germany and Albany, in America.
His company, Fairway Lawyers, has taken on numerous cases since 2010 and so far won ‘over 50 payouts’ against the banks.
It has a 99% success rate with clients through the courts… and it is NO WIN, NO FEE with the company only taking 10% of the winnings if settled out of court and 20% if it goes to court.
And, as Diego points out, even if you’ve long sold your villa and paid off the mortgage you are still entitled for compensation plus interests.
Get in touch with the team at www.fairwaylawyers.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0034 952771150 or 0034 606307885
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