In the year 2000 I signed a private agreement to sell my apartment in Estepona to a British person and we agreed that payment would be made in three instalments, the final one at the delivery of keys.
At the present time I have only received a third of the agreed price and have tried unsuccessfully to contact the purchaser.
I am now tired of this situation and would like to know if I could cancel the agreement and sell my property legally to a third party and what repercussions if any this could have for me.
Firstly, we assume that you have tried to locate the purchaser at the address indicated by him or that expressly stated in the contract for correspondence purposes.
Spanish law establishes the possibility of dissolving contracts when one of the parties does not comply with the obligations accepted therein.
In the case at hand as in all purchase-sale agreements involving property, there are obligations which are mutually binding on the parties. On the one hand the vendor is obliged to deliver the property when stipulated in the agreement and on the other, the purchaser is obliged to honour the payment schedule established.
Spanish law is very specific with regard to the observance of forms and therefore if the purchaser is in breach of contract it will be necessary to prove this circumstance. Our recommendation is to serve written notice to the purchaser in a way that it may be unequivocally demonstrated that the notice has been sent to his domicile indicated in the agreement, stating your intention to dissolve the contract and informing the purchaser that the deposit paid will be refunded in full or partially and the remainder forfeited as compensation for damages.
Subsequently after a prudential period and if no response is received our advice would be to file court proceedings and petition for the contract to be declared null and void before a Judge. In accordance with Spanish civil law the options available to you are as follows:
You could request the court to enforce the compliance by the purchaser of his contractual obligations and pay indemnity and interest for the time transpired. Alternatively you could apply for a court resolution acknowledging the breach of contract and ordering that you be awarded compensation and interest for damages caused and the inconvenience to you during all of this time.
However you should remember that in order to apply for and obtain compensation for damages it is necessary to demonstrate before the court the existence of said damages by means of the appropriate probatory measures.