Victory for Expats in Finca Parcs ruling

A COURT in Hellin (Albacete) found in favour of 47 buyers who make up the Finca Parcs Action Group (FPAG).

The court convicted jointly and severally both defendants, the developer Cleyton GES SL and Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo (CAM), to return the off-plan deposits paid by group members totalling almost €1.5 million  for houses that were never built.

The houses were supposed to be built at the abandoned Las Higuericas, Finca Parcs development close to Agramón, Albacete.

The Judge declared the 55 sales contracts terminated due to “serious breaches” by the developer, in particular, “the long and indefinite delay in delivery of the properties, the failure to obtain the First Occupation Licences and the lack of Bank Guarantees for deposits paid by the buyers”.

The Judge also stated that CAM Bank “failed in its legal obligations to control the use of off-plan deposits paid in advance for this development”.

This was revealed in a press release issued by FPAG which also said the judgment orders the payment of interest and costs.

In the sentence the Judge states that, “this is not just a simple delay in the delivery of the housing but in this case it can be considered as an excessive delay that has obstructed the very purpose of the contract and broken mutual good faith”.

The Judge quotes the testimony of the Action Group’s coordinator Keith Rule, who himself paid over € 53,000in off-plan deposits to CAM Bank, during which Mr Rule when questioned by Cleyton GES said that under no circumstances would the buyers now be willing to accept a property from the 50 completed, but unlicensed houses on Phase 1, as the delay for the buyers already amounted to between 5 and 7 years from the signing of each individual contract and completion cannot be left to the discretion of the developer indefinitely.

The Judgment states expressly that “the lack of the First Occupation Licence is attributable exclusively to the developer” and that the lack of Bank Guarantees is also “cause for termination of the contract, since it is an obligation of legal and mandatory character”.

Jaime de Castro, the lawyer for the Finca Parcs Action Group said he was pleased with the ruling yesterday, and stressed that:

“It is technically flawless; it analyzes all the points, leaving no gaps and has forceful arguments that make it difficult to challenge.  So I think that ultimately my clients will receive their refund in this case”

As in any First Instance Court decision the defendants have the right of appeal.

Keith Rule said the group members were elated, but commented that “it has been a very stressful process and we have endured many years of struggle and effort to defend our rights”

“For us this is a great judgment.  It is a credit to the work and determination of all those involved.  This is an important judgment as none of the buyers received the Bank Guarantees as required by Spanish Law, LEY 57/1968.  The wider significance of this judgment should not be underestimated.”

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