Labrums Solicitors has had a phenomenal year – and next year is shaping up to be another big one.
With an office due to come online in Murcia next year, the Spanish Services department of the legal firm is due to take the firm international.
But that is not the only good news the firm has received in Spain… Labrums is now believed to be the first legal firm in the UK to help clients without bank guarantees recoup their deposits
– which each equate to around £50,000 – from property developments abandoned during the recession.
In the past four years Labrums has been working with a number of clients who lost sizeable deposits when the recession hit the overseas property market.
Michael Labrums, senior partner, said: “We are talking sums of between £30,000- £80,000.
“These people were customers who bought their homes “off plan”. After the recession the developers went bankrupt and the land was worthless.
“For a lot of people these properties were their retirement home or their pension investment. Once they lost that amount of money that dream was gone.
“In many cases, people had often put down a 30% deposit.
“When the market crashed some seven years ago we successfully got the deposits and some interest back for 8 clients who had Bank Guarantees which are intended to protect buyers in the event of problems.”
Michael said the next trench of cases involved those people who didn’t have bank’s guarantees.
The developers should have kept any deposits they received from buyers in a special bank account which protected the funds and the banks should have known that these funds were for the purchase of property.
It was up to the lawyers to prove that the money had been ring-fenced for the development.
Michael said: “The first case was heard a few weeks ago and the period for the Bank to appeal has now passed. Our claim was successful. We are able to get their deposit and the interest plus a little back for these clients.”
He explained that Spanish courts were not the same as courts in the UK. Each court stands alone and what is decided in one court is not necessarily followed by others.
“We had another five cases heard last week,” he said. “They were all successful which means we have been able to recover the deposits for clients even when they did not.
“This gives us confidence that we will be successful with other claims to recover deposits, even if they don’t have a bank guarantee for the deposit on the plot.
“It has however taken over three years to get to this point, but it is a big breakthrough.
“This has been a test case for Spanish developments. Some other solicitors in Spain have had their cases heard and decided upon, but i’m not aware of any others in the UK.”