Sur newspaper publishes today that Aifos´ CEO, alongside his wife, are being accused of missapropriation of approximately €72,571 of a client of theirs that paid a deposit on account of a property that was never built. The indictement and further accusation is the result of two premises:
- Having taken a deposit upfront without providing a bank guarantee to ensure repayment and
- Not using the deposit towards expenses arising directly from the proposed construction.
Many developers these are still believing that taking hundreds of thousands of deposits from punters, not guaranteeing them and using them to pay salaries, marketing, dividends (yes, even if no property has been delivered!) is something that, quite simply, is acceptable from a legal point of view.
Contrary to other businesses, property developers cannot incorporate downpayments received into their company normal business account and use for purposes different from the construction of the property, as such purpose would be deemed as unathorised, unless a bank guarantee is provided.
And as such, property buyers on off-plan property may not be deemed as regular creditors, but protected parties that pay deposits to a professional developer who assumes a fiduciary duty.