Solicitors

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slwright
Posts: 32
Joined: 30 Jan 2008 15:21

Solicitors

Post by slwright » 27 Feb 2008 14:43

Hi there,

As you know I am in the process of buying an 'off-plan' property in Paphos. My solicitor is not answering any of my correspondence, would it be sensible for me to instruct another solicitor on our behalf before we go much further with our plans to buy. We have already forked out £53,000 in staged payments and another is due in April 08. The lawyers fees have been paid. So far we have had no problems with the developer and the building seems to be on schedule but I have lost all trust in my solicitor. The simple due diligence questions I have asked are about searches on the developer, town planning, building permits, whether the developer is the registered owner and property searches, just plain simple questions which any lawyer worth his salt would have been able to answer within the first few months if they had done them. I have had no real correspondence from him, only the odd email from his English secretary.

It has taken 5 months to receive a building permit which I had asked for at the very beginning of the transaction (which incidentally I am as I speak having checked with a Cypriot Lawyer, who has just joined the firm, unfortunately my company does not specialise in Cypriot Law).

I just need a little advice on what I should do next.

Can anyone help me with this please I would be very grateful.

Sheila



Nigel Howarth
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Re: Solicitors

Post by Nigel Howarth » 27 Feb 2008 18:50

Hi Sheila,

I'm surprised that your lawyer didn't check out the developer, town planning & building permits and title before you signed the contract - these are amongst the very basic pieces of work he should have undertaken to ensure your interests were protected.

As you have already paid the lawyer his fees, I'm afraid there's little 'incentive' for him to do anything or reply! Hopefully he has been checking that the developer has completed the work before you handed over the stage payments?

It maybe worthwhile contacting another solicitor to get things checked out. But as you've already signed the contract, you may find it difficult to change it, particularly if your developer refuses to budge. There's an English lawyer in Limassol who it may be worthwhile speaking with - I've sent you an email with her contact details.

Regards,


Nigel Howarth
Independent information & advice for Cyprus property buyers
Contact Nigel Howarth
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slwright
Posts: 32
Joined: 30 Jan 2008 15:21

Re: Solicitors

Post by slwright » 28 Feb 2008 02:21

Thank you Nigel for your email today. We are very grateful to you for your recommendation. I intend to get in touch with her if and when it is necessary. I really don't want to rock the boat just yet until I know for certain that we are in trouble. The Greek/Cypriot lawyer we have here at work translated the Building Permit for us and he said that it looked Kosher that it was a permit for a block of 4 apartments to the developer that we are using. (Fortunately, we have a translator now). We have heard from the English secretary at our lawyer in Cyprus that the Contract was lodged at the Land Registry within the 2 months. As for the basic works before Contracts I still don't know if these had been done but I am hopeful that you are surprised at this, maybe my lawyer just didn't think it was necessary to let me know his findings. I do intend to keep at him though to get answers. He will be sick of the sight of my emails/telephone calls he'll do anything to get rid of me. :twisted: We are going to Cyprus in June to check up on things so I will be visiting him also, I don't think its necessary to let him know we are coming out either.

Thank you once again.
Kind regards
Sheila



Nigel Howarth
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Re: Solicitors

Post by Nigel Howarth » 28 Feb 2008 18:35

slwright wrote:maybe my lawyer just didn't think it was necessary to let me know his findings.
He should advise you in writing of his findings - it saves a lot of 'misunderstandings'.

I'm sure if you keep twisting his arm he'll reply eventually. It's often difficult trying to get replies to emails, letters, and phone calls - it's better to deal with people face-to-face.

REgards,


Nigel Howarth
Independent information & advice for Cyprus property buyers
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slwright
Posts: 32
Joined: 30 Jan 2008 15:21

Re: Solicitors

Post by slwright » 29 Feb 2008 15:59

Hi

Finally received an email saying that the solicitor would write to me "personally" within the next day or so answering all my queries and questions.

regards
Sheila



Nigel Howarth
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Re: Solicitors

Post by Nigel Howarth » 29 Feb 2008 18:28

Excellent!

No doubt he's been following your tale of woe on this forum :wink:


Nigel Howarth
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slwright
Posts: 32
Joined: 30 Jan 2008 15:21

Re: Solicitors

Post by slwright » 29 Feb 2008 19:58

I never thought of that maybe he has :lol:

In your book (the specimen contracts) it looked as though 50% of the final balance is held back for snagging. My contract does not specify this only that the balance is payable on 11 January 2009, the official delivery date. Should I be asking my solicitor to correspond with the developer in this regard (I have to say I really don't want to pay it all until I am completely satisfied). If it is the case that I should speak to my lawyer then I should do it now and then maybe 5 months down the line I will get a reply and then 5 months later get it sorted before the official hand over date. :lol:

All the best
Sheila



Nigel Howarth
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Re: Solicitors

Post by Nigel Howarth » 29 Feb 2008 21:07

Hi Sheila,

Unfortunately, I very much doubt that you'll be able to negotiate a snagging payment into a contract that you've already signed.

The way it works is that you hold back an agreed amount of each invoice issued by the developer - this is known as Retention - and it needs to be included in your contract of sale before you sign it.

So let's say your retention is 10% and your house is built in 4 stages at a total price of € 180,000:
  • At Stage 1 completion - the developer invoices you € 20,000 - you pay him € 18,000
    At Stage 2 completion - the developer invoices you € 50,000 - you pay him € 45,000
    At Stage 3 completion - the developer invoices you € 80,000 - you pay him € 72,000
    At Stage 4 completion - the developer invoices you € 30,000 - you pay him € 27,000
The developer has now completed the house and you've paid him € 162,000 - and you've retained € 18,000 (10% of the price).

You then inspect the property and make a snagging list.

The developer corrects the snags, you inspect again. Everything's OK and you accept delivery. At this point, you hand over 50% of the retention - € 9,000.

During the 'Maintenance Period', which typically lasts for 12 months after you've taken delivery, you notice a few items that need attention - maybe some paintwork needs doing again, a wall tile cracks and needs replacing, etc, etc. You make a list of all these things and hand it to the developer as the end of the Maintenance Period draws near - and discuss and agree what work needs to be done.

The developer completes the agreed work, you are happy with what he's done, so you hand over the remaining € 9,000 retention.

Regards,


Nigel Howarth
Independent information & advice for Cyprus property buyers
Contact Nigel Howarth
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slwright
Posts: 32
Joined: 30 Jan 2008 15:21

Re: Solicitors

Post by slwright » 03 Mar 2008 12:26

Didn't see that coming :oops: Once again we have just got to hope that we have chosen a really good developer and that they honour any snagging etc. Its amazing, I hope that anyone else looking at this forum, before they have bought anything, will be well armed to get their solicitor to work for them.
Thanks again Nigel,
Best wishes
Sheila



Nigel Howarth
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Re: Solicitors

Post by Nigel Howarth » 03 Mar 2008 12:33

You're welcome Sheila,

Hopefully your developer is one of the good ones and you will not have any problems.

Regards,


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

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