Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Dear readers, clients and friends,

We hope you are all well. A few months ago, we posted an article on Facebook and several other social networks, regarding the abusive FLOOR CLAUSE and how Banks have been forced to repay to their clients all earnings charged in excess from “abusive” mortgages. On May 9, 2013, the Supreme Court analyzed in its ruling No. 241/2013, (in the context of a class action brought by a consumer association against several banks), the abusive character of the floor clause, declaring it null and void. However, the declaration of nullity would not affect those cases already decided by the Courts before 9 May 2013. In other words, the Supreme Court (wrongly) declared the non-retroactivity of its decision, because it would basically cause a “serious disruption to the public economic order” (in other words it was a ruling made to protect the Spanish banking sector). This erratic interpretation of the EU Law was further confirmed by another Supreme Court’s judgment of March 25, 2015.

In a nutshell, what the Supreme Court said in their two mentioned obscure Judgments was that in those cases where the existence of a floor clause had been confirmed by the Court, the Banks would be obliged to refund any interest charged in excess ONLY FROM 9 May 2013, but not retroactively to the year in which the banks began to apply floor clauses.

Luckily, a number of Spanish courts challenged before the Court of Justice of the European Union again the interpretation of the EU law made by the Supreme Court, and finally, on 21 December 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union has recently handed down a landmark ruling (Cases C-154/15, C-307/15 and C-308/15), confirming that the Spanish Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to limit refunds to the period from May 2013 on, “failed to provide complete protection” to consumers” and subsequently, The ECJ has ordered Spain’s banks to repay all earnings from “abusive” mortgages from the year in which the banks began to apply those illegal floor clauses.

As a consequence of this recent ECJ DECISION, last 20th January 2017, the Spanish Government has finally approved a Royal Decree 1/2017, basically giving banks three months to reach agreements with customers who were offered mortgages with an abusive floor interest rate clause. As a result, the Royal Decree 1/2017 has approved several measures aimed at reaching possible out of court settlements, thereby preventing thousands of new litigants from reaching the already overloaded courts.

Subsequently, once the bank has received a letter before claim from the client’s Solicitor, it will have three months to make an offer. If an agreement is not reached within this deadline, the negotiation process will be understood to have concluded, and the client will be then able to sue the bank in Court.

However, according to the provisions of the Royal Decree-Law 1/2017, if the customer might reject the offer made by the bank and later on, he might decide to sue the bank, costs will be imposed on the bank, only if the compensation finally granted by the Court might be higher than the initial offer received from the bank.

Therefore, as litigators Solicitors, we are always mindful of alternative ways of settling disputes if possible, as it will be in our client’s best interests to pursue a satisfactory out of court settlement without litigation if possible. However, if despite all efforts, legal proceedings might have to be finally issued as a step of last resort, (if for instance the bank is intransigently opposed, we would continue to bear in mind the benefits of reaching a satisfactory out of court settlement before trial).

Our honest opinion is that the new law is very lenient with the banks. We believe that stronger penalties should be imposed on those banks that might intransigently be opposed to reach settlements. ( i.e double costs).

On the other hand, in addition to the Floor clause, we would like- if we may- to take this opportunity to inform you that the Supreme Court in its Ruling 705/2015 (dated 23th December 2015) has also declared abusive those clauses which impose on the borrower the payment of all fees, taxes and commissions associated with the mortgage loan.

Subsequently, if you are currently paying a mortgage in Spain or even if you have already paid it off up to four years ago, you may be entitled to claim, among others, a refund of the following concepts related to the Mortgage (not to the purchase of the property):

NOTARY AND LAND REGISTRY FEES, PROPERTY VALUATION COSTS, ABUSIVE COMMISSIONS, AS WELL AS THE STAMP DUTY TAX. (In total, perhaps around 2.500 Euros or more). However, bear in mind that time is of the essence, as the limitation period on order to claim these costs will expire on December 24th 2019.

In conclusion, remember if you have a mortgage and you have the suspicion that you might have serious abusive clauses in your mortgage contract, please follow the following instructions:

The first step would be to send us by e-mail your mortgage Deed as well as your latest mortgage’s monthly receipt, which will show the amount of pending capital as well as the current interest rate applied to your mortgage.

The best way to illustrate this is by giving you an example. Please see the attached photograph of a real receipt issued on-line by the bank. (Due to confidential reasons, we have obviously removed the bank’s name and our client’s personal details). However, you can clearly see highlighted in yellow, how our client has been charged last month with an outrageously high interest rate of 4,25%. Considering that the Euribor now is -0,070 %, the impact of this abusive floor clause in our client’s case is VERY SIGNIFICANT. The other attached document is an extract of a real mortgage Deed, containing a very abusive ceiling-floor clause.

In the second place, should you be affected by any of these above mentioned abusive clauses in your mortgage, – as a prior step, – we always recommend entering into correspondence or friendly negotiation with the bank. The negotiation process will aim to reach a satisfactory out of court settlement, saving the time and costs involved in protracted litigation. However, it is important that you DO NOT ACCEPT ANY PRESSURE FROM THE BANK. All banks are losing the court cases, so it is in their best interest to reach an amicable agreement with you, offering the best possible financial terms and conditions. Likewise, remember NEVER TO NEGOTIATE WITH OUR BANK ON YOUR OWN AND DO NOT SIGN ANY AGREEMENT, unless an independent qualified Solicitor-like our Firm-has already verified very carefully the content as well as the legal and financial implications of the proposed agreement in the long term.

In conclusion, there is very little that is “standard” in these kinds of mortgage contracts and agreements signed with banks, making it especially important that you know exactly what you’re agreeing to. That’s why, in matters of such complexity and importance where a lot of money is at stake, it is vital that you seek the right professional, – only a qualified registered Lawyer, – in order to give you the most adequate professional advice.

“Ricor Abogados&Solicitors” has a strong legal team with proven extensive experience in all areas of law. We run an independent and cost effective Law Firm helping hundreds of clients across a range of legal services in Spain, from corporate and individual civil and criminal litigation, and we are proficient in dealing with banks with regards to the removal of abusive clauses from mortgage contracts.

Our high rate of success is subsequently explained by the fact that we continually provide complete and “home-made” tailored solutions to individuals and businesses alike. If you kindly check our testimonials section of our website www.ricorabogados.com, you will find plenty of testimonials from real clients who put their trust in our Firm and they are all now all extremely grateful to our Firm for the excellent work and legal protection offered, which fills us with a lot of professional pride.

Therefore, should be interested in receiving specific advice regarding this matter (or any other legal issue), please do not hesitate to send us an e-mail to: ricorsolicitors@yahoo.co.uk, and we will be most delighted to be of assistance to you. Alternatively, you can also know more about our services by logging to our website www.ricorabogados.com.

Thank you very much again for your attention and we look forward to giving you a personalized service and the benefit of a high quality and cost effective advice.

Kindest regards

Mr. Oscar Ricor Morales

“NON-PRACTISING ENGLISH SOLICITOR IN ENGLAND AND WALES”, under the “Solicitors Regulation Authority” (SRA) SRA number 519196 and practicing Spanish Solicitor.

example 2 floor clause 2-page-001

Dear readers, clients and friends,

We hope you are all well. A few months ago, we posted an article on Facebook and several other social networks, regarding the abusive FLOOR CLAUSE and how Banks have been forced to repay to their clients all earnings charged in excess from “abusive” mortgages. On May 9, 2013, the Supreme Court analyzed in its ruling No. 241/2013, (in the context of a class action brought by a consumer association against several banks), the abusive character of the floor clause, declaring it null and void. However, the declaration of nullity would not affect those cases already decided by the Courts before 9 May 2013. In other words, the Supreme Court (wrongly) declared the non-retroactivity of its decision, because it would basically cause a “serious disruption to the public economic order” (in other words it was a ruling made to protect the Spanish banking sector). This erratic interpretation of the EU Law was further confirmed by another Supreme Court’s judgment of March 25, 2015.

In a nutshell, what the Supreme Court said in their two mentioned obscure Judgments was that in those cases where the existence of a floor clause had been confirmed by the Court, the Banks would be obliged to refund any interest charged in excess ONLY FROM 9 May 2013, but not retroactively to the year in which the banks began to apply floor clauses.

Luckily, a number of Spanish courts challenged before the Court of Justice of the European Union again the interpretation of the EU law made by the Supreme Court, and finally, on 21 December 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union has recently handed down a landmark ruling (Cases C-154/15, C-307/15 and C-308/15), confirming that the Spanish Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to limit refunds to the period from May 2013 on, “failed to provide complete protection” to consumers” and subsequently, The ECJ has ordered Spain’s banks to repay all earnings from “abusive” mortgages from the year in which the banks began to apply those illegal floor clauses.

As a consequence of this recent ECJ DECISION, last 20th January 2017, the Spanish Government has finally approved a Royal Decree 1/2017, basically giving banks three months to reach agreements with customers who were offered mortgages with an abusive floor interest rate clause. As a result, the Royal Decree 1/2017 has approved several measures aimed at reaching possible out of court settlements, thereby preventing thousands of new litigants from reaching the already overloaded courts.

Subsequently, once the bank has received a letter before claim from the client’s Solicitor, it will have three months to make an offer. If an agreement is not reached within this deadline, the negotiation process will be understood to have concluded, and the client will be then able to sue the bank in Court.

However, according to the provisions of the Royal Decree-Law 1/2017, if the customer might reject the offer made by the bank and later on, he might decide to sue the bank, costs will be imposed on the bank, only if the compensation finally granted by the Court might be higher than the initial offer received from the bank.

Therefore, as litigators Solicitors, we are always mindful of alternative ways of settling disputes if possible, as it will be in our client’s best interests to pursue a satisfactory out of court settlement without litigation if possible. However, if despite all efforts, legal proceedings might have to be finally issued as a step of last resort, (if for instance the bank is intransigently opposed, we would continue to bear in mind the benefits of reaching a satisfactory out of court settlement before trial).

Our honest opinion is that the new law is very lenient with the banks. We believe that stronger penalties should be imposed on those banks that might intransigently be opposed to reach settlements. ( i.e double costs).

On the other hand, in addition to the Floor clause, we would like- if we may- to take this opportunity to inform you that the Supreme Court in its Ruling 705/2015 (dated 23th December 2015) has also declared abusive those clauses which impose on the borrower the payment of all fees, taxes and commissions associated with the mortgage loan.

Subsequently, if you are currently paying a mortgage in Spain or even if you have already paid it off up to four years ago, you may be entitled to claim, among others, a refund of the following concepts related to the Mortgage (not to the purchase of the property):

NOTARY AND LAND REGISTRY FEES, PROPERTY VALUATION COSTS, ABUSIVE COMMISSIONS, AS WELL AS THE STAMP DUTY TAX. (In total, perhaps around 2.500 Euros or more). However, bear in mind that time is of the essence, as the limitation period on order to claim these costs will expire on December 24th 2019.

In conclusion, remember if you have a mortgage and you have the suspicion that you might have serious abusive clauses in your mortgage contract, please follow the following instructions:

The first step would be to send us by e-mail your mortgage Deed as well as your latest mortgage’s monthly receipt, which will show the amount of pending capital as well as the current interest rate applied to your mortgage.

The best way to illustrate this is by giving you an example. Please see the attached photograph of a real receipt issued on-line by the bank. (Due to confidential reasons, we have obviously removed the bank’s name and our client’s personal details). However, you can clearly see highlighted in yellow, how our client has been charged last month with an outrageously high interest rate of 4,25%. Considering that the Euribor now is -0,070 %, the impact of this abusive floor clause in our client’s case is VERY SIGNIFICANT. The other attached document is an extract of a real mortgage Deed, containing a very abusive ceiling-floor clause.

In the second place, should you be affected by any of these above mentioned abusive clauses in your mortgage, – as a prior step, – we always recommend entering into correspondence or friendly negotiation with the bank. The negotiation process will aim to reach a satisfactory out of court settlement, saving the time and costs involved in protracted litigation. However, it is important that you DO NOT ACCEPT ANY PRESSURE FROM THE BANK. All banks are losing the court cases, so it is in their best interest to reach an amicable agreement with you, offering the best possible financial terms and conditions. Likewise, remember NEVER TO NEGOTIATE WITH OUR BANK ON YOUR OWN AND DO NOT SIGN ANY AGREEMENT, unless an independent qualified Solicitor-like our Firm-has already verified very carefully the content as well as the legal and financial implications of the proposed agreement in the long term.

In conclusion, there is very little that is “standard” in these kinds of mortgage contracts and agreements signed with banks, making it especially important that you know exactly what you’re agreeing to. That’s why, in matters of such complexity and importance where a lot of money is at stake, it is vital that you seek the right professional, – only a qualified registered Lawyer, – in order to give you the most adequate professional advice.

“Ricor Abogados&Solicitors” has a strong legal team with proven extensive experience in all areas of law. We run an independent and cost effective Law Firm helping hundreds of clients across a range of legal services in Spain, from corporate and individual civil and criminal litigation, and we are proficient in dealing with banks with regards to the removal of abusive clauses from mortgage contracts.

Our high rate of success is subsequently explained by the fact that we continually provide complete and “home-made” tailored solutions to individuals and businesses alike. If you kindly check our testimonials section of our website www.ricorabogados.com, you will find plenty of testimonials from real clients who put their trust in our Firm and they are all now all extremely grateful to our Firm for the excellent work and legal protection offered, which fills us with a lot of professional pride.

Therefore, should be interested in receiving specific advice regarding this matter (or any other legal issue), please do not hesitate to send us an e-mail to: ricorsolicitors@yahoo.co.uk, and we will be most delighted to be of assistance to you. Alternatively, you can also know more about our services by logging to our website www.ricorabogados.com.

Thank you very much again for your attention and we look forward to giving you a personalized service and the benefit of a high quality and cost effective advice.

Kindest regards

Mr. Oscar Ricor Morales

“NON-PRACTISING ENGLISH SOLICITOR IN ENGLAND AND WALES”, under the “Solicitors Regulation Authority” (SRA) SRA number 519196 and practicing Spanish Solicitor.

example 2 floor clause 2-page-001 example floor clause

 

 

Dear friends, clients and readers,

As the Holiday Season is upon us, and after a very busy year helping clients, I must say that one of the true privileges of working as a Solicitor, is to receive testimonials like the ones below, which fills me with a lot of professional pride and sincere gratitude. Subsequently, I would like-if we may- to take this opportunity once more to thank you and wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season and the very best for the new year. We sincerely look forward to keep helping you in the years to come. Warmest regards to all.

Mr. Oscar Ricor Morales.

“NON-PRACTISING ENGLISH SOLICITOR IN ENGLAND AND WALES”, under the “Solicitors Regulation Authority” (SRA) SRA number 519196 and practicing Spanish Solicitor under the “Colegio de Abogados de Orihuela”.

_______________________________________________________

Real testimonials received from three very good clients:

Testimonial 1:
“Thank you for explaining so eloquently and precise the process of purchasing Villa in Pilar de la Horadada, I really appreciated you protecting John and myself. I felt very happy that you have our interests at heart. I will most certainly recommend both yourself in the future, as I have some friends whom are looking to purchase a property in Spain. Once again thank you. Mary C. and John F.”.- (SEE PHOTOGRAPH BELOW)

Testimonial 2:
” I recently consulted Oscar Ricor regarding a lease to purchase contract I needed on a property in Murcia. I found his service to be knowledgeable, efficient and good value for money. He enabled the whole process to be carried out smoothly and within a tight timeframe and was readily available to offer advice and reassurance when necessary. I would certainly recommend Oscar Ricor to friends and other ex-pats as it was refreshing to find a solicitor with such a client cantered approach. I am certainly one very satisfied customer! David B”.

Testimonial 3:
“I have complete confidence in Oscar Ricor, who has now helped me to buy two properties in Orihuela Costa, Spain. The transactions have proceeded smoothly due to Oscar’s diligence and professionalism. The fact that he is fluent in English and holds an English legal qualification, alongside his Spanish ones, together with his extensive experience has given me ‘peace of mind’ throughout. Oscar has also assisted us to obtain our N.I.E. numbers, advised us with preparing our Spanish wills and submitting our annual tax declarations. Furthermore, he is able to offer very competitive insurance quotes. I therefore have no hesitation in recommending his services to everyone. Susan J. Chichester, UK. (SEE PHOTOGRAPH BELOW).

hanford2 hansford1 hansford-farrer-3 hansford-season-greetings-2017

Dear friends, clients and readers,

As the Holiday Season is upon us, and after a very busy year helping clients, I must say that one of the true privileges of working as a Solicitor, is to receive testimonials like the ones below, which fills me with a lot of professional pride and sincere gratitude. Subsequently, I would like-if we may- to take this opportunity once more to thank you and wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season and the very best for the new year. We sincerely look forward to keep helping you in the years to come. Warmest regards to all.

Mr. Oscar Ricor Morales.

“NON-PRACTISING ENGLISH SOLICITOR IN ENGLAND AND WALES”, under the “Solicitors Regulation Authority” (SRA) SRA number 519196 and practicing Spanish Solicitor under the “Colegio de Abogados de Orihuela“.

_______________________________________________________

Real testimonials received from three very good clients:

  • Testimonial 1:

“Thank you for explaining so eloquently and precise the process of purchasing Villa in Pilar de la Horadada, I really appreciated you protecting John and myself. I felt very happy that you have our interests at heart. I will most certainly recommend both yourself in the future, as I have some friends whom are looking to purchase a property in Spain. Once again thank you. Mary C. and John F.”.- (SEE PHOTOGRAPH BELOW)

  • Testimonial 2:

I recently consulted Oscar Ricor regarding a lease to purchase contract I needed on a property in Murcia. I found his service to be knowledgeable, efficient and good value for money. He enabled the whole process to be carried out smoothly and within a tight timeframe and was readily available to offer advice and reassurance when necessary.  I would certainly recommend Oscar Ricor to friends and other ex-pats as it was refreshing to find a solicitor with such a client cantered approach. I am certainly one very satisfied customer! David B.

  • Testimonial 3:

  “I have complete confidence in Oscar Ricor, who has now helped me to buy two properties in Orihuela Costa, Spain.  The transactions have proceeded smoothly due to Oscar’s diligence and professionalism. The fact that he is fluent in English and holds an English legal qualification, alongside his Spanish ones, together with his extensive experience has given me ‘peace of mind’ throughout. Oscar has also assisted us to obtain our N.I.E. numbers, advised us with preparing our Spanish wills and submitting our annual tax declarations. Furthermore, he is able to offer very competitive insurance quotes. I therefore have no hesitation in recommending his services to everyone. Susan J. Chichester, UK. (SEE PHOTOGRAPH BELOW).

hansford1hanford2hansford-farrer-3hansford-season-greetings-2017

Brexit: A few thoughts. What does it mean for future British buyers or expats already living in Spain?

Dear friends, clients and readers,

Following the aftermath of the recent UK’s decision to leave the European Union, we have been receiving hundred of enquiries from people who are becoming increasingly concerned and anxious about how their rights as British expats will be affected by The Brexit.
Consequently, this article aims to provide some useful advice to new private or business investors, as well as to the almost one million Expats Brits estimated to be living in Spain, who are now affected by this unexpected situation.

1) In the first place, what does the referendum in practice means?

Bear in mind that this referendum is advisory and non-binding, and British politicians will now enter a protracted period of negotiations over what to do next. Subsequently, it is not a foregone conclusion that Britain will completely leave, because there must first be primary legislation, and if it does, it is likely to take at least two years, and many more years to settle the resulting changes in trade agreements.
At the end of the day, I totally agree with the view expressed by 120 Barristers in the UK, who correctly consider that the referendum did not concern the negotiating position of the UK following the triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, nor the possibility that no agreement could be reached within the stipulated two year period for negotiation, nor the emerging reality that the Article 50, negotiations will concern only the manner of exit from the EU and not future economic relationships. In other words, all of these matters should need to be fully explored and understood prior to the Parliamentary vote.

I strongly recommend reading the full text of the Barrister’s opinion at the following link: http://thejusticegap.com/2016/07/barristers-call-parliamentary-vote-brexit/

2) What does the decline in The Pound involve?

I am of the opinion that it is still early to predict whether the fall in the value of the Pound will continue in the long run, but worst-case scenarios had the Pound falling by as much as 20-25%, it is likely that the Bank of England and European Central bank might intervene in order to prevent a worsening of the situation.
On the other hand, it is undeniable that Europe without the beneficial influence of the UK will be weakened, so it remains to be seen whether the situation might also affect negatively the Euro currency, since other European countries could also start considering the possibility to follow now the English example and leave the EU as well. (the so-called “domino effect”).
It is true that the fall in sterling together with the menace of an economic downturn in the UK plus uncertainty over British rights to live abroad might have a negative impact on Spain’s property market, in the short term, at least.

3) Will the property market be affected in general?

NOT LIKELY IN THE LONG TERM. British buyers are unlikely to feel the impact for some years. Perhaps by then, the Pound might be stronger than the Euro. Subsequently, as indicated before, I am convinced that at some point, new beneficial trade agreements between Spain and England will be reached that will reactivate the property market, allowing many Britons again to pursue their dreams of buying a property in Spain. In fact Britain will most likely become part of the European Economic Area (EEA) in a similar way to Norway and Switzerland. (Iceland wants UK to join Nordic alliance of non-EU countries).
At the moment, many Norwegians are buying properties in Spain.

4) Is it still possible and advisable to buy a property in Spain?

YES. You can buy a property as a non-resident, like any other European or Non European citizen. I firmly believe that Spain will remain the most popular destination for British second-home buyers in the foreseeable future, due to the high risk, geographical distance and culture barriers of investing in other countries like Turkey or Greece for example. Spanish property remains and will always excellent value basically due to its fantastic weather and geographical proximity to the UK.

As a matter of fact, we are currently helping new clients absolutely determined to pursue their dream of having a property in the Costa Blanca, as they wish to become fiscal residents as soon as possible, and so far, we are not encountering any difficulties at all with the Spanish authorities. Likewise, we are dealing with other two property conveyance cases where both the buyers and Sellers have agreed to pay the purchase price in Pounds instead of Euros,- which is totally legally accepted way of payment,- in order to avoid the fluctuation of the Pound.
Subsequently, according to our recent experience, we are able to confirm that buying a property in Spain, (either as an investment or second residence), still remains an attractive option for both non-residents and/or residents alike.

On the other hand, if we consider The Brexit from the aspect of fundamental rights of Brits already living and working in Spain, I am of the opinion that expats in Spain will retain their “acquired right” to live in Spain and own property here and not to have their work contract terminated. (Despite the fact that the application of art 70 of the Vienna Convention of 1969 is highly questionable and it has been rejected by some Lawyers and Jurists).
In any case, the Spanish Government has not made any pronouncement yet, with regards to other rights, such as healthcare, pension, fiscal rights or benefits. Subsequently, your EHIC card will still be valid, as The European Health Insurance Card provides reciprocal health cover for travellers in the EEA. Likewise, if you move to Spain now, you will get full healthcare, as reciprocal healthcare arrangements will remain in place for at least two years while Brexit negotiations are in motion.
In fact, European countries are keen to ensure that their citizens enjoy healthcare while travelling, so it’s entirely possible an EHIC agreement (or something similar) will remain in place even after Brexit.
Another important issue to consider will be a potential change in inheritance and tax laws. Nevertheless, the double-taxation treaties are NOT made in the EU. As a result, Brexit has no effect on the existing tax agreements between the UK and Spain, and Britons will continue to enjoy the benefits of European citizenship for some years, and can expect a broadly similar deal once Brexit is complete.

In short, what happens next? What would be the most recommended precautionary measures aimed to mitigate the negative financial effects of The Brexit?

First, the most visible effect will be exchange rate fluctuations at least in the short term. Nevertheless, buying in Pounds would be an excellent way to avoid this problem.
Second, it would be highly advisable that property owners might reduce the prices of their properties in around 15-20%. That measure would be an excellent counterbalance to the negative effects of a possible continuous fall of the Pound.
Therefore, if you wish to buy a property in Spain, negotiate hard the price.
Third, in order to keep attracting British investors, the Spanish Government should seriously consider reducing the stamp duty tax at least to 7-6% ( currently at 10% in the Valencian Region)
Fourth, if you already own a property and you live in Spain on a permanent basis, it might be beneficial for you to apply for Spanish residency or even Spanish nationality.

In conclusion, if you are an UK investor, be reassured that we’ll advice you about the best way to acquire a property in Spain, with the most favourable financial conditions.
Likewise, if you are already one of the thousands of expats living in Spain, who is worried about how the Brexit is going to impact your rights and finances, you might want to get in contact also with a reputable law Firm-like “Ricor Abogados&Solicitors”,- to discuss through the most suitable options available to you. Considering that this situation of uncertainty will likely continue in the weeks or months ahead, analysing all the options and seeking expert advice in advance, before making any major financial decisions may prove advantageous. We will be most delighted to advise you where you have the correct paperwork and where you stand on getting Spanish residency or nationality.

Finally, I firmly believe that the UK is one of the greatest countries of the world, not only in terms of its economy, but also from a legal and cultural point of view as well. The economy always fluctuates but we must never forget that despite this recent setback with the referendum, the UK is the country that probably best upholds the Rule of Law without parallel in any other European (or non European) country, so I am of the opinion that as long as the British insight and the vitality of its culture remain, I am convinced that things will work out okay in the end.

Thank you very much again for your attention and should you have any more specific question or enquiry about this important matter, (remember that this article is intended to give just a general overview of the situation and not specific advice), please do not hesitate to visit our website (www.ricorabogados.com) or contact us by E-mail to ricorsolicitors@yahoo.co.uk, and we will be glad to be of assistance to you.

We look forward to giving you a personalized service and the benefit of our “know how”, with a totally proficient and always cost effective advice.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Oscar Ricor Morales.
“NON-PRACTISING ENGLISH SOLICITOR IN ENGLAND AND WALES”, under the “Solicitors Regulation Authority” (SRA) SRA number 519196 and practicing Spanish SolicitorPostiguet-Beach-51116

Brexit: A few thoughts. What does it mean for future British buyers or expats already living in Spain?

Dear friends, clients and readers,

Following the aftermath of the recent UK’s decision to leave the European Union, we have been receiving hundred of enquiries from people who are becoming increasingly concerned and anxious about how their rights as British expats will be affected by The Brexit.
Consequently, this article aims to provide some useful advice to new private or business investors, as well as to the almost one million Expats Brits estimated to be living in Spain, who are now affected by this unexpected situation.

1) In the first place, what does the referendum in practice means?

Bear in mind that this referendum is advisory and non-binding, and British politicians will now enter a protracted period of negotiations over what to do next. Subsequently, it is not a foregone conclusion that Britain will completely leave, because there must first be primary legislation, and if it does, it is likely to take at least two years, and many more years to settle the resulting changes in trade agreements.
At the end of the day, I totally agree with the view expressed by 120 Barristers in the UK, who correctly consider that the referendum did not concern the negotiating position of the UK following the triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, nor the possibility that no agreement could be reached within the stipulated two year period for negotiation, nor the emerging reality that the Article 50, negotiations will concern only the manner of exit from the EU and not future economic relationships. In other words, all of these matters should need to be fully explored and understood prior to the Parliamentary vote.

I strongly recommend reading the full text of the Barrister’s opinion at the following link: http://thejusticegap.com/2016/07/barristers-call-parliamentary-vote-brexit/

2) What does the decline in The Pound involve?

I am of the opinion that it is still early to predict whether the fall in the value of the Pound will continue in the long run, but worst-case scenarios had the Pound falling by as much as 20-25%, it is likely that the Bank of England and European Central bank might intervene in order to prevent a worsening of the situation.
On the other hand, it is undeniable that Europe without the beneficial influence of the UK will be weakened, so it remains to be seen whether the situation might also affect negatively the Euro currency, since other European countries could also start considering the possibility to follow now the English example and leave the EU as well. (the so-called “domino effect”).
It is true that the fall in sterling together with the menace of an economic downturn in the UK plus uncertainty over British rights to live abroad might have a negative impact on Spain’s property market, in the short term, at least.

3) Will the property market be affected in general?

NOT LIKELY IN THE LONG TERM. British buyers are unlikely to feel the impact for some years. Perhaps by then, the Pound might be stronger than the Euro. Subsequently, as indicated before, I am convinced that at some point, new beneficial trade agreements between Spain and England will be reached that will reactivate the property market, allowing many Britons again to pursue their dreams of buying a property in Spain. In fact Britain will most likely become part of the European Economic Area (EEA) in a similar way to Norway and Switzerland. (Iceland wants UK to join Nordic alliance of non-EU countries).
At the moment, many Norwegians are buying properties in Spain.

4) Is it still possible and advisable to buy a property in Spain?

YES. You can buy a property as a non-resident, like any other European or Non European citizen. I firmly believe that Spain will remain the most popular destination for British second-home buyers in the foreseeable future, due to the high risk, geographical distance and culture barriers of investing in other countries like Turkey or Greece for example. Spanish property remains and will always excellent value basically due to its fantastic weather and geographical proximity to the UK.

As a matter of fact, we are currently helping new clients absolutely determined to pursue their dream of having a property in the Costa Blanca, as they wish to become fiscal residents as soon as possible, and so far, we are not encountering any difficulties at all with the Spanish authorities. Likewise, we are dealing with other two property conveyance cases where both the buyers and Sellers have agreed to pay the purchase price in Pounds instead of Euros,- which is totally legally accepted way of payment,- in order to avoid the fluctuation of the Pound.
Subsequently, according to our recent experience, we are able to confirm that buying a property in Spain, (either as an investment or second residence), still remains an attractive option for both non-residents and/or residents alike.

On the other hand, if we consider The Brexit from the aspect of fundamental rights of Brits already living and working in Spain, I am of the opinion that expats in Spain will retain their “acquired right” to live in Spain and own property here and not to have their work contract terminated. (Despite the fact that the application of art 70 of the Vienna Convention of 1969 is highly questionable and it has been rejected by some Lawyers and Jurists).
In any case, the Spanish Government has not made any pronouncement yet, with regards to other rights, such as healthcare, pension, fiscal rights or benefits. Subsequently, your EHIC card will still be valid, as The European Health Insurance Card provides reciprocal health cover for travellers in the EEA. Likewise, if you move to Spain now, you will get full healthcare, as reciprocal healthcare arrangements will remain in place for at least two years while Brexit negotiations are in motion.
In fact, European countries are keen to ensure that their citizens enjoy healthcare while travelling, so it’s entirely possible an EHIC agreement (or something similar) will remain in place even after Brexit.
Another important issue to consider will be a potential change in inheritance and tax laws. Nevertheless, the double-taxation treaties are NOT made in the EU. As a result, Brexit has no effect on the existing tax agreements between the UK and Spain, and Britons will continue to enjoy the benefits of European citizenship for some years, and can expect a broadly similar deal once Brexit is complete.

In short, what happens next? What would be the most recommended precautionary measures aimed to mitigate the negative financial effects of The Brexit?

First, the most visible effect will be exchange rate fluctuations at least in the short term. Nevertheless, buying in Pounds would be an excellent way to avoid this problem.
Second, it would be highly advisable that property owners might reduce the prices of their properties in around 15-20%. That measure would be an excellent counterbalance to the negative effects of a possible continuous fall of the Pound.
Therefore, if you wish to buy a property in Spain, negotiate hard the price.
Third, in order to keep attracting British investors, the Spanish Government should seriously consider reducing the stamp duty tax at least to 7-6% ( currently at 10% in the Valencian Region)
Fourth, if you already own a property and you live in Spain on a permanent basis, it might be beneficial for you to apply for Spanish residency or even Spanish nationality.

In conclusion, if you are an UK investor, be reassured that we’ll advice you about the best way to acquire a property in Spain, with the most favourable financial conditions.
Likewise, if you are already one of the thousands of expats living in Spain, who is worried about how the Brexit is going to impact your rights and finances, you might want to get in contact also with a reputable law Firm-like “Ricor Abogados&Solicitors”,- to discuss through the most suitable options available to you. Considering that this situation of uncertainty will likely continue in the weeks or months ahead, analysing all the options and seeking expert advice in advance, before making any major financial decisions may prove advantageous. We will be most delighted to advise you where you have the correct paperwork and where you stand on getting Spanish residency or nationality.

Finally, I firmly believe that the UK is one of the greatest countries of the world, not only in terms of its economy, but also from a legal and cultural point of view as well. The economy always fluctuates but we must never forget that despite this recent setback with the referendum, the UK is the country that probably best upholds the Rule of Law without parallel in any other European (or non European) country, so I am of the opinion that as long as the British insight and the vitality of its culture remain, I am convinced that things will work out okay in the end.

Thank you very much again for your attention and should you have any more specific question or enquiry about this important matter, (remember that this article is intended to give just a general overview of the situation and not specific advice), please do not hesitate to visit our website (www.ricorabogados.com) or contact us by E-mail to ricorsolicitors@yahoo.co.uk, and we will be glad to be of assistance to you.

We look forward to giving you a personalized service and the benefit of our “know how”, with a totally proficient and always cost effective advice.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Oscar Ricor Morales.
“NON-PRACTISING ENGLISH SOLICITOR IN ENGLAND AND WALES”, under the “Solicitors Regulation Authority” (SRA) SRA number 519196 and practicing Spanish SolicitorPostiguet-Beach-51116

Thank you so much for your kind words and for putting your trust in our Firm. It has been a real privilege working for you and we look forward to keep helping you in the future, not only as our client but also as our friend. Mr. Oscar Ricor. Solicitor
____________________________________________________________________
“Hi Oscar
Thank you for explaining so eloquently and precise the process of purchasing Villa in Pilar de la Horadada, I really appreciated you protecting John and myself. I felt very happy that you have our interests at heart.
I will most certainly recommend both yourself in the future, as I have some friends whom are looking to purchase a property in Spain.
Once again thank you.
Mary C. and John F.”

farrer2

Thank you so much for your kind words and for putting your trust in our Firm. It has been a real privilege working for you and we look forward to keep helping you in the future, not only as our client but also as our friend. Mr. Oscar Ricor. Solicitor
____________________________________________________________________
“Hi Oscar
Thank you for explaining so eloquently and precise the process of purchasing Villa in Pilar de la Horadada, I really appreciated you protecting John and myself. I felt very happy that you have our interests at heart.
I will most certainly recommend both yourself in the future, as I have some friends whom are looking to purchase a property in Spain.
Once again thank you.
Mary C. and John F.”
____________________________________________________________________
farrer2

Dear Readers, clients and friends,

Last month, we posted an article about the landmark Supreme Court’s decision that will force Spanish banks to return millions of Euros to EU Consumers.

Due to the significant number of enquiries received over the past few weeks from people who missed the opportunity to read this article, we are glad to post it again for those who didn’t have the opportunity to read it the first time.

In a landmark Judgment of December 21st 2015, (STS 5263/2015), the Spanish Supreme Court,- taking as a reference point the important 57/1968 Act,- has set a new legal precedent, by ordering banks to refund all the large deposits paid in advance mainly by UK Buyers to developers, in order to buy off-plan properties in Spain that were never built.

Until now, the usual procedure available for the victim in order to claim the deposit back was to sue the developer or Builder. However, in practice, the majority of Spanish Builders went into liquidation or filed for bankruptcy, which made an almost impossible task to recover any money back.

However, the Supreme Court’s decision judgment gives now a new hope to those thousand of off-plan property buyers who have failed to get their money back from the Builder.

The “ratio decidendi” of the Supreme Court’s Judgment can be summarized as follows:

Regarding Off-plan properties governed by the Act 57/1968, the Banks or credit institutions that might accept any income deposits paid by buyers into the Developer’s account, but without requiring for the establishment of a special separate account and the corresponding bank guarantee, will be liable to reimburse to the buyers, the full amount of the off-plan deposits paid.

The Court decision affirms that Off-plan deposits should be guaranteed in any event and regardless of private conventions agreed between developer and bank.

Likewise, the ruling confirms that it is abusive and contrary to the Act 57/68, to make conditional the validity of a “collective guarantee” granted to the builder, to the issuing of a specific individual bank guarantee certificate given to the Buyer.

Otherwise, the bank could easily deny liability at the event of payment’s default by the negligent builder.

In other words, Off-plan property buyers are bestowed with an “inalienable right” to have their off-plan deposit underwritten, and this right that cannot be waived by banks that failed to grant individual bank guarantee policies to buyers, under the pretense of having issued a collective insurance cover.

To sum up, the essential requirements in order to be able to claim against the bank would be the following:

1º) The lawsuit must be initiated against the bank that financed the construction building process and received the deposits paid by the buyers. It is irrelevant if the bank might have actually opened a separate account for the deposits paid or not. (see the Supreme Court decision, 16th January 2015. No Rec. 2336/2013)

2º) The bank must have failed its duty to request confirmation from the developer about the granting of the bank guarantee certificates to the buyers

3º) The buyer must prove that it has been impossible to claim the money back from the developer, due to the situation of insolvency of the developer (i.e. the builder has gone into liquidation).

4º) Lastly, the dwelling must NOT be physically or legally completed (i.e, no licence of first occupation). Those cases where the developer received the deposits and never built anything on the land, are the ones that stand a higher chance of success.

“Ricor Abogados&Solicitors” has a strong legal team with proven extensive experience in all areas of law. We run an independent and cost effective Law Firm helping clients across a range of legal services in Spain, from corporate and individual civil&criminal litigation, and we are proficient in conducting successful civil claims against developers and banks.

Our high rate of success is subsequently explained by the fact that we continually provide complete and “home-made” tailored solutions to individuals and businesses alike. If you kindly check our testimonials section of our website www.ricorbogados.com, you will find plenty of testimonials form real clients who put their trust in our Firm and they are all now all extremely grateful to our Firm for the excellent work and protection offered, which fills us with a lot of professional pride.

We hope that this information is useful for you.

Thank you very much again for your attention and should you be affected by this serious problem (or by any other legal need or problem in Spain), please do not hesitate to contact our Firm and we will be delighted to help you.

We look forward to giving you a personalized service and the benefit of a high quality and cost effective advice.

Yours sincerely,

failed projectMr. Oscar Ricor Morales.

“NON-PRACTISING ENGLISH SOLICITOR IN ENGLAND AND WALES”, under the “Solicitors Regulation Authority” (SRA) SRA number 519196 and practicing Spanish Solicitor under the “Colegio de Abogados de Orihuela”.

 

Please note the information provided in this article is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice. This article may be posted freely in websites or other social media so long as the author Mr Ricor is duly credited. Plagiarizing, whether in whole or in part, this article without crediting the author may result in legal action.

 

 

Dear Readers, clients and friends,

Last month, we posted an article about the landmark Supreme Court’s decision that will force Spanish banks to return millions of Euros to EU Consumers.

Due to the significant number of enquiries received over the past few weeks from people who missed the opportunity to read this article, we are glad to post it again for those who didn’t have the opportunity to read it the first time.

In a landmark Judgment of December 21st 2015, (STS 5263/2015), the Spanish Supreme Court,- taking as a reference point the important 57/1968 Act,- has set a new legal precedent, by ordering banks to refund all the large deposits paid in advance mainly by UK Buyers to developers, in order to buy off-plan properties in Spain that were never built.

Until now, the usual procedure available for the victim in order to claim the deposit back was to sue the developer or Builder. However, in practice, the majority of Spanish Builders went into liquidation or filed for bankruptcy, which made an almost impossible task to recover any money back.

However, the Supreme Court’s decision judgment gives now a new hope to those thousand of off-plan property buyers who have failed to get their money back from the Builder.

The “ratio decidendi” of the Supreme Court’s Judgment can be summarized as follows:

Regarding Off-plan properties governed by the Act 57/1968, the Banks or credit institutions that might accept any income deposits paid by buyers into the Developer’s account, but without requiring for the establishment of a special separate account and the corresponding bank guarantee, will be liable to reimburse to the buyers, the full amount of the off-plan deposits paid.

The Court decision affirms that Off-plan deposits should be guaranteed in any event and regardless of private conventions agreed between developer and bank.

Likewise, the ruling confirms that it is abusive and contrary to the Act 57/68, to make conditional the validity of a “collective guarantee” granted to the builder, to the issuing of a specific individual bank guarantee certificate given to the Buyer.

Otherwise, the bank could easily deny liability at the event of payment’s default by the negligent builder.

In other words, Off-plan property buyers are bestowed with an “inalienable right” to have their off-plan deposit underwritten, and this right that cannot be waived by banks that failed to grant individual bank guarantee policies to buyers, under the pretense of having issued a collective insurance cover.

To sum up, the essential requirements in order to be able to claim against the bank would be the following:

1º) The lawsuit must be initiated against the bank that financed the construction building process and received the deposits paid by the buyers. It is irrelevant if the bank might have actually opened a separate account for the deposits paid or not. (see the Supreme Court decision, 16th January 2015. No Rec. 2336/2013)

2º) The bank must have failed its duty to request confirmation from the developer about the granting of the bank guarantee certificates to the buyers

3º) The buyer must prove that it has been impossible to claim the money back from the developer, due to the situation of insolvency of the developer (i.e. the builder has gone into liquidation).

4º) Lastly, the dwelling must NOT be physically or legally completed (i.e, no licence of first occupation). Those cases where the developer received the deposits and never built anything on the land, are the ones that stand a higher chance of success.

“Ricor Abogados&Solicitors” has a strong legal team with proven extensive experience in all areas of law. We run an independent and cost effective Law Firm helping clients across a range of legal services in Spain, from corporate and individual civil&criminal litigation, and we are proficient in conducting successful civil claims against developers and banks.

Our high rate of success is subsequently explained by the fact that we continually provide complete and “home-made” tailored solutions to individuals and businesses alike. If you kindly check our testimonials section of our website www.ricorbogados.com, you will find plenty of testimonials form real clients who put their trust in our Firm and they are all now all extremely grateful to our Firm for the excellent work and protection offered, which fills us with a lot of professional pride.

We hope that this information is useful for you.

Thank you very much again for your attention and should you be affected by this serious problem (or by any other legal need or problem in Spain), please do not hesitate to contact our Firm and we will be delighted to help you.

We look forward to giving you a personalized service and the benefit of a high quality and cost effective advice.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Oscar Ricor Morales.

“NON-PRACTISING ENGLISH SOLICITOR IN ENGLAND AND WALES”, under the “Solicitors Regulation Authority” (SRA) SRA number 519196 and practicing Spanish Solicitor under the “Colegio de Abogados de Orihuela”.

 

Please note the information provided in this article is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice. This article may be posted freely in websites or other social media so long as the author Mr Ricor is duly credited. Plagiarizing, whether in whole or in part, this article without crediting the author may result in legal action.

failed project

 


Proud to be members of London Chamber of Commerce
MadBlackCat