BANCO SABADELL must return almost 300,000 Euros including interest & costs to a British couple for a failed off-plan property development in La Campaneta, Orihuela.
This was ordered on 9th January 2018 by the First Instance Court Number 2 in Orihuela, Alicante, Spain.
The responsibility derives from the legal obligations of the Bank according to Spanish Law, LEY 57/1968. Banco CAM (now Banco SABADELL) accepted the buyers off-plan deposits into accounts opened by the developer, but failed to issue or verify the existence of the corresponding Guarantee.
This is an excellent start to 2018 for the CostaLuz Lawyers/DeCastro legal teams following on from a successful 2017 in which they won 44 separate cases for more than 80 individual clients using the Keith Rule strategy against off-plan property developer’s banks. In total, since winning the landmark Finca Parcs case in 2012 they have now won more than 275 similar cases.
In this case the claimants requested the return of their off-plan deposits, amounting to almost 200,000 Euros, plus legal interest from date of the payments in 2003 & 2004. The reason for the claim was the lack of construction of the house at La Campaneta in Orihuela that, according to the purchase contract, should have been completed at the end of 2004. The developer finally obtained the First Occupation Licence in 2011, almost 7 years after the scheduled completion date.
During 2007 their conveyancing Lawyer had written to the developer attempting to cancel the purchase contract and obtain a refund due to late delivery of the property, however the money was not recovered.
In 2009 the buyers wrote to the Los Montesinos branch of CAM Bank requesting that they return the money paid for the house that was not completed. In a written reply the bank stated “Sorry, but we cannot do anything for you”. In 2012 they then referred the matter to the CAM Bank Head Office inAlicante; however the reply from the Bank was again negative.
The turning point came in 2013, when after reading about the CostaLuz Lawyers victory in the landmark Finca Parcs Action Group case, they contacted CostaLuz Lawyers.
The case was particularly complex due to the relationship between the developer, Monserrate Camara Alberola and the agent Sky Houses SL, together with the fact that the off-plan payments were paid to various different current accounts opened by the developer at Banco CAM.
However, the Judge gained an excellent understanding of the situation and quoted extensively from Supreme Court and Provincial Appeal Court Case Law to support his Sentence.
Despite the fact that none of the developers bank accounts were ‘special accounts’ the Bank is convicted according to its obligations under LEY 57/1968 as the buyers cannot be harmed by the failure of the relationship between the developer and Bank.
The Judge was satisfied the buyers were not investors, that the property was completed almost 7 years after the agreed completion date and that the developer had eventually sold the property to a third party.
Thanks to the existence of this 1968 law and the diligent work of the CostaLuz Lawyers/DeCastro teams, the claimants have finally been able to see an end to their 15 year nightmare which began when they paid their off-plan deposit to the developer in 2003.
Regarding interest, the Judgment follows the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court, which establishes that interest applies from the date of payment of the deposits in the bank accounts of the developer, which in this case results in almost 100,000 Euros of interest at the legal rate, in addition to the principal amount of almost 200,000 Euros.
The Judge has also imposed costs of the legal action on the Bank.
Although case law is already well established, the Bank does have the right to submit an appeal to theProvincial Appeal Court.