Cash back: Bank ordered to return couple’s off-plan deposit

VISTA GOLF: The council refused to issue first occupation licences.

A British couple who put down a deposit of €108,000 towards the purchase of a home in Marbella Vista Golf are to get their money back after a series of court battles lasting more than 10 years.

The judgement is the second in a month from a Malaga City court to find in favour of the purchasers.

It has now ordered Banco Popular to return the couple’s deposit with interest.

Papers presented to the court show a large deposit was paid into an account at the bank in the name of Marbella Vista Golf SL.

This was a down payment on an off-plan home, then valued at €361,000 in 2003. The contract stated the keys would be handed over on July 1, 2005, but the developers failed to meet their deadline. 

The problem, the buyers discovered, was that the council was refusing to issue first occupation licences.

It claimed building licences issued while GIL political party was in power in Marbella failed to meet planning regulations and were therefore illegal.

The would-be purchasers decided to sue the developer for breach of contract.

But these attempts have met with varying success depending on the courts they applied to who often applied different criteria when reaching their decisions.

Eventually, in June 2013, the High Court found in favour of the buyers but by that time the developer had gone bust. 

Although they asked for their money back from Banco Popular, who were in possession of guarantees for the deposited funds, the fourth largest banking group in Spain refused.

This led a number of people to embark on lengthy court battles in a bid to get their money back.

Only now, after years and years before the courts, are they seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

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