I am German but I intend to live in Spain.
Last year I made a downpayment on the purchase of an apartment under construction. On the day of delivery, to my horror, I discovered that the supposed 100m2 garden had been reduced to a patio and the double garage was barely big enough to park one car in.
After many arguments with the developer, he agreed to resolve the private contract and give me my money back.
However, three months later, I still do not have the property nor has my deposit been refunded.
What can I do? If I choose to take legal action, should I apply to the Spanish or German courts?
According to current relevant Spanish legislation, from what you say and assuming that there is a contract drawn up in the standard terms, you could demand that the vendor delivers the property according to contract, ie with the surface area, characteristics and materials agreed between the parties. If that were not possible, you could ask for a proportional reduction in the price.
In addition, if the price per square metre was not specifically stated in the contract, or if this was stated and the resulting area is at least ten per cent less than the total agreed area, you could demand the resolution of the contract and be entitled to a full refund of the deposit and interest.
If an out-of-court settlement with the developer is not reached, you could take legal action which, from our understanding of the circumstances, should be filed in Spain.
In order to do this, the first step would be to serve a formal summons at the registered address of the developer so that he would have legal notice of your intention to sue him. The most efficient means of doing this is by bureaufax sent by the post office or a letter delivered by notarial conduct.
If this does not result in the immediate resolution of the contract and payment of the refund, the case could be filed at the Spanish courts which would involve the professional assistance of a court procurator and lawyer.
Alternatively, if you consider that there are solid arguments to support the chances of reaching an amicable agreement with the developer, an act of conciliation could be filed whereby pressure to pay would be exerted and which could force the other party to relent, given the possibility of imminent legal procedures. The main advantage of this latter option is that if an agreement is reached, the time and costs involved in resolving the problem would be lower.