Bought off plan but big problems

Have you bought 'off-plan' and having problems?
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GaryS
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Joined: 10 Jun 2009 13:52

Bought off plan but big problems

#1 Post by GaryS » 10 Jun 2009 15:30

Hi
I am new to this forum and wish everyone well and hope that someone might be able to assist with my problem.

In Jan 04 I placed a £15,000 deposit on an off-plan property with the idea (as suggested by an English estate agent) to sell the contract on after a year and recoup my money with a bit of interest. Of course this never evolved and I still own the contract -unfortunately, because of ill health (I am now permanently disabled) I could not pay the 2nd installment, although having said that, the property was delayed by 4 years, and only completed last year in June 08.
I understand I have defaulted on the second installment and because of this am incurring interest at 8%. Likewise, the developer has incurred a penalty by their late completion, which negates the third and final payment. I am not in a position to find the £26,000 and have, through my solictor, asked if the developer would be in a position to cancel the contract and to repay some of the £15,000 after taking out his interest etc.
However, an email received from my (Cypriot) solicitor today, has said that the developer is happy to cancel the contract but, to use my solicitors words, "unfortunately he will not refund any money". I find this firstly, disgusting that the word "unfortunately" was used -we are talking £15,000 not £50! - and it seems my solicitor doesn't seem to be acting in my best interest. In fact, they have never contacted me with any useful information, it is me who has to do all the running and suggesting that they do this or that on my behalf. To add insult to injury, this particular Cypriot firm has even had had a street named after them close to the development where my property is located!

Any thoughts and comments would be greatly appreciated. Also, if anyone can give me the name of a UK based solicitor either in the London or South/SE area, I would very much appreciate it, as I do not have representation in the UK. I am fed up with being given the runaround by the Cypriot lawyer who is supposed to represent me and to help me come to some sort of mutually agreeable solution with the developers.



Nigel Howarth
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Re: Bought off plan but big problems

#2 Post by Nigel Howarth » 11 Jun 2009 09:26

Hello Gary and welcome to the forum,

I'm sorry to hear of your predicament. I receive many emails from people who can no longer afford to keep up their mortgage payments due to the Euro/Sterling exchange rate, ludicrously high mortgage interest rates here is Cyprus, and loss of employment. Although your problems have resulted as a consequence of your ill-health (and an English estate agent) your situation is very similar:

Basically, you need to get out of your contract with as little financial loss as possible.

The best solution for you would be to somehow find the remaining £26,000 and complete your purchase. You could then sell the property and recover your costs - and possibly make a small profit. But I have to admit in the current situation the property could be on the market for a couple of years before you found a buyer. There's an article in my magazine "Help - I can't pay the mortgage" some of which you may find useful.

I cannot recommend a UK solicitor to you, but the chances are that there's one locally to you that will be able to offer advice. You should ask him/her to look through your contract of sale to see precisely what your legal obligations are and whether there's any way you can make an early exit.

Appointing a UK lawyer to represent you may prove problematic. They would not be conversant with the laws of Cyprus and you may find yourself with large bills if they have to visit Cyprus to deal with your case.

The British High Commission in Nicosia publishes a list of English-speaking lawyers here in Cyprus who may be able to help (there are only eight on the list). If you want a copy, you can download it by clicking here. But a lawyer in Cyprus will not be able to act on your behalf until you have discharged your present lawyer.

Your present lawyer may have already negotiated a settlement with the developer on your behalf (the developers of other people who have contacted me are finding that their developers are insisting that they complete the purchase or face the consequences).

Regards,


Nigel Howarth
Independent information & advice for Cyprus property buyers
Contact Nigel Howarth
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GaryS
Posts: 5
Joined: 10 Jun 2009 13:52

Re: Bought off plan but big problems

#3 Post by GaryS » 11 Jun 2009 11:41

Nigel Howarth wrote:Hello Gary and welcome to the forum,

Your present lawyer may have already negotiated a settlement with the developer on your behalf (the developers of other people who have contacted me are finding that their developers are insisting that they complete the purchase or face the consequences).

Regards,
This is my dilemma, I do feel the lawyers are not acting in my best interest. The developer has said in a previous letter he is going to cancel the contract but I inderstand he cannot do this. Taken from an email from my solicitor:
"If you do require us to take legal action against the developer then please confirm back to me and I will instruct the litigation team and find out how much this will cost from our accounts department." This is due to the late delivery of the property and I do know of other people on this development that have instructed litigation to recoup their money. Maybe this is the next step??
Thanks for your reply.
Gary



Nigel Howarth
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Re: Bought off plan but big problems

#4 Post by Nigel Howarth » 11 Jun 2009 13:17

Hi Gary,

Your developer cannot cancel the contract without your permission - similarly you can't cancel it without his permission.

You could go down the litigation route - but you should get legal opinion on the matter before agreeing to this (I'm sure a local solicitor could read through you contract and give you some idea of your chances). If there is any way you can get a copy of your contract to me I can give you my (non-legal) opinion.

And if you'd like to send me a PM with your lawyers name & contact details, I can let you know if I've had any negative reports.

The legal system here is painfully slow and in my opinion, unfit for purpose. Even if you were to win a litigation case, you could face problems of getting the decision of the court enforced if the developer fails to cough up.

Interestingly, you could take the developer to court in the UK and win a judgement against him there. And having done that apply to the Cypriot court to get the judgement enforced here. It would certainly be much quicker to do this, but I have no idea of what would be involved.

Regards,


Nigel Howarth
Independent information & advice for Cyprus property buyers
Contact Nigel Howarth
Read the latest Cyprus property news

GaryS
Posts: 5
Joined: 10 Jun 2009 13:52

Re: Bought off plan but big problems

#5 Post by GaryS » 21 Jun 2011 15:03

Nigel Howarth wrote:Hi Gary,

Your developer cannot cancel the contract without your permission - similarly you can't cancel it without his permission.

You could go down the litigation route - but you should get legal opinion on the matter before agreeing to this (I'm sure a local solicitor could read through you contract and give you some idea of your chances). If there is any way you can get a copy of your contract to me I can give you my (non-legal) opinion.

And if you'd like to send me a PM with your lawyers name & contact details, I can let you know if I've had any negative reports.

The legal system here is painfully slow and in my opinion, unfit for purpose. Even if you were to win a litigation case, you could face problems of getting the decision of the court enforced if the developer fails to cough up.

Interestingly, you could take the developer to court in the UK and win a judgement against him there. And having done that apply to the Cypriot court to get the judgement enforced here. It would certainly be much quicker to do this, but I have no idea of what would be involved.

Regards,
Update +++++++++++

Apparantly the developer has put my case before the Court and I no longer own the property,

'Please note that I had carry out a search at the land registry office and it seems that that your contract of sale is been withdraw by the developer under the power of the judgment since the 23rd of February 2010.

Unfortunately because of this the developer is not showing any interest to refund you any money anymore'.

This is the reply I have had from my so-called solicitor who is supposed to be acting on my behalf. Can anyone tell me if this is possibe.
Thanks.



Nigel Howarth
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Re: Bought off plan but big problems

#6 Post by Nigel Howarth » 21 Jun 2011 15:18

Gary,

Unfortunately the developer has obtained a court order enabling him to withdraw your contract from the Land Registry.

I am certain that the developer's lawyer would have advised your lawyer that action was being brought against you.

I see that we last discussed this more than 2 years ago. Has there been any correspondence between yourself and your lawyer in that time. Previously you mentioned litigation to recover your money - did you do anything about this?

Regards,


Nigel Howarth
Independent information & advice for Cyprus property buyers
Contact Nigel Howarth
Read the latest Cyprus property news

GaryS
Posts: 5
Joined: 10 Jun 2009 13:52

Re: Bought off plan but big problems

#7 Post by GaryS » 21 Jun 2011 15:51

Nigel Howarth wrote:Gary,

Unfortunately the developer has obtained a court order enabling him to withdraw your contract from the Land Registry.

I am certain that the developer's lawyer would have advised your lawyer that action was being brought against you.

I see that we last discussed this more than 2 years ago. Has there been any correspondence between yourself and your lawyer in that time. Previously you mentioned litigation to recover your money - did you do anything about this?

Regards,
Hi Nigel and thanks for your reply. I had a letter in 2009 saying that he wanted to have the property returned and I contacted the solictor and was told that this was unacceptable and I asked for costs to be calculated so I could consider the option of litigation and there it stopped! Partly my fault I never chased it up but the solictor never came back with any costings. I decided recently to bring this matter to an end and was close to receiving £4.000 and the developer to keep the property when the court action came to light and therefore the developer wont pay me any money! I did not even know it had gone to court!



Nigel Howarth
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Joined: 24 Oct 2007 14:38
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Re: Bought off plan but big problems

#8 Post by Nigel Howarth » 23 Jun 2011 18:59

Gary,

I believe that your lawyer has let you down big time! If a case was brought against you by the developer, then I'm certain that either you or your developer would have been notified so that you could defend the action.

I think your only option now would be to get another lawyer to look into what has happened to see if anything can be salvaged from the situation.

Regards,


Nigel Howarth
Independent information & advice for Cyprus property buyers
Contact Nigel Howarth
Read the latest Cyprus property news

GaryS
Posts: 5
Joined: 10 Jun 2009 13:52

Re: Bought off plan but big problems

#9 Post by GaryS » 23 Jun 2011 19:31

Thank you Nigel, I think that is the only thing I can do - I have had nothing from my lawyer at all and I definitely haven't had a chance to defend myself!



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