Monthly Archives: February 2008

Story by Marina Polonio | Diario Sur

The files on one of the most prominent developers of the province occupy stacks at Malaga’s law courts. According to information accessed by this newspaper, Malaga’s law courts are handling well over 200 law suits against developer AIFOS for breach in the delivery date of the properties which are the object of the purchase contracts. Many Spanish and foreigners have purchased property of this developer whose developments dot the coastline.

The rulings to which this newspaper has had access to have condemned the developer to refund the stage payments to it’s clients, plus the legal interests accrued on said amounts, reaching even in some cases the staggering figure of ˆ329,000. Albeit the First Ruling Courts number 1 and 2 have actually gone further and have ruled that the developer must award the plaintiffs with moral damages as well. Magistrates have understood the “anguish and impotence” of all those people who have fallen foul of the developers malpractice, as it appears in the judge’s ruling.

Deadlines

Rulings from 2006 through to 2007 indicate that the “dwellings have not been delivered”, when in the contracts it specifically stipulates that the works and construction are to be finished in a deadline no longer than 20 months as from the time “the arquitect signs the acta de replanteo”. This is what it is specified in a ruling dated from December 2007 by the First Ruling Court number 2 , which condemned AIFOS Arquitectura y Promociones Inmobiliarias S.A. to pay to the plaintiff the amount of ˆ329,508 euros as principal as well as legal interests.

In other occasions, “not even the License of First Occupation has been obtained”. And so it is indicated in another ruling from the First Ruling Court number 9, of last year, that highlights that the client purchased “trusting that in approximately two and a half years as from the signing of the private purchase contract, he would have his home delivered”. The judge is conscious that the developer “cannot possibly sell a property and make use of the stage payments handed over by the purchaser without establishing some minimum guarantees as to the delivery deadline of the dwelling which is being purchased”. In this ruling the magistrate ordered the developer to pay ˆ92,742 euros to the plaintiff.

However, as is highlighted in another ruling of a judge of a First Ruling Court in relation to an appeal made by AIFOS lawyers, the developer “must undertake the responsibility not only of this erroneous and misleading information provided, but also of the content of the contractual clauses that the developer itself worded…”. The ruling of the judge overruled AIFOS lawyer’s appeal and confirmed the prior ruling which established the obligation of AIFOS to pay 3.900 euros to the plaintiff.

The law firm CYC Asesores defends many purchasers affected by AIFOS dealings, especially in Fuengirola, Málaga and Rincón de la Victoria. One of their lawyers has assured that AIFOS has a substantial portfolio of assets and that the developer had compelled its clients to complete on dwellings “when they had been declared illegal”. Moreover, he has confirmed the same data provided by an AIFOS spokesperson which has been queried by this newspaper and assured that ”many of these problems are now being solved by offering clients to swap over to otherAIFOS developments”.

Uncertainty

Judges are taking increasingly into account the rulings which award moral damages to all those affected. By way of moral damages magistrates have awarded compensations of up to ˆ14,000, ˆ25,000 and ˆ35,500, alleging that “the plaintiffs had to endure sufferment and uncertainty”. In other occasions it has been awarded “so as to help to withstand the pain and anguish inflicted by those fallen foul of an unjust, abusive and illegal way of acting carried out by another”.

Moreover, First Ruling Courts have also proceeded to freeze assets and rights of the developer. Witness of such is the law firm Lawbird Legal Services, which confirms having frozen “plenty of assets”, and thus has secured that his clients obtain their refund. This law firm defends purchasers which have had problems with AIFOS, mainly by dwellings which have not been constructed yet.

This newspaper has confirmed that out-of-court-settlements have been reached after some purchasers sued following a criminal procedure.