Problems with an off-plan purchase, can I still claim?

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If you signed a contract for the purchase of a property under construction before 1st January 2016, and you have not received the property and you have not yet claimed back your money, this article will be of interest to you.

The measures adopted to manage the situation relating to the health crisis caused by COVID-19 have led to an extension of the deadline for claiming the refund of deposits paid. This deadline, which originally was the 7th October 2020, has been extended to 28th December 2020.

The deadline for claiming for the refund of deposits has been a highly controversial issue. The Plenary of the Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court, in its Ruling of 5th June 2019, resolved this issue by concluding that, when we are dealing with a contract for the sale of a home entered into under Law 57/1968, i.e. before 1st January 2016, the limitation period for the action corresponding to the buyer to request the return of his money is the general limitation period for personal actions of 15 years as set out in article 1964 CC.

Law 42/2015 from 7th October 2015 modified the general limitation period for personal actions from 15 to 5 years. The consequence of this modification is that personal actions arising before the new five-year period came into force would be time-barred on 7th October 2020, even if the fifteen-year period expired later, because Law 42/2015 came into force on 7th October 2015.

Therefore, those who signed a purchase contract or joined a cooperative for the purchase of a home under construction and paid amounts on account of the price could make the appropriate claim until 7th October 2020. However, the publication of Royal Decree 463/2020, of 14th March, declaring a state of alarm for the management of the health crisis caused by COVID-19, establishes the suspension of the limitation periods for rights and actions.

The suspension of the statute of limitations was lifted on 4th June, so that the 82 calendar days that have been suspended must be added to the initial expiry of the statute of limitations, scheduled for 7th October, and extended until 28th December 2020.

This suspension of the statute of limitations means a new opportunity for all those who have paid money for a failed property and have not yet recovered their money.

At Bufete Salmerón we are specialists in these types of claims, having obtained countless judgments in favour of buyers, not only in those cases in which the developer issued a guarantee with a financial insurance company, but also in those cases in which said guarantee was not issued. In the latter case, the claim can be made against the financial institutions in which the sums were deposited, whose responsibility has been acknowledged by the Courts, for having admitted the deposits without requiring the developer to open a special account and take out insurance or guarantees.


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