British home buyers who fear they may lose out due to the insolvency of one of Spain’s best known developers have been given until the end of September to register their claim with the Spanish authorities.
Aifos Arquitectura y Promociones Inmobiliarias SA has gone into administration leaving 4,000 unfinished homes. Aifos was one of the first Spanish developers to open an office in the North West although the premises in John Dalton Street, Manchester closed around two years ago. The company also had offices in Trafalgar Square, London.
Aifos, which promoted itself as a ‘young and dynamic’ developer, was known for its ambitious schemes, luxury services and aggressive marketing campaigns. It was behind many projects in Andalucía and owned hotels such as the Guadalpín Marbella and the Hotel Byblos in Mjias.
The company reflected the glamorous side of Marbella’s construction industry but it also became synonymous with the darker side too when several of its directors were implicated by an anti-corruption campaign, Operation Malaya, the results of which shocked the country.
It is estimated that Aifos has debts of over 1,000 million Euros and more than 2,000 creditors. The company filed for voluntary administration which has now been accepted, and administrators are being appointed to supervise its affairs.
Anyone who has purchased a property off-plan from Aifos or owns a property that has not been fully finished needs to inform the administrators and the court before 30 September to ensure they are included in the final list of creditors. They will need to supply any documents that can help to prove the payments made, such as purchase contracts, payment orders and bank statements.
They should also check whether they have been supplied with a bank guarantee. A guarantee is compulsory under Spanish law, although not all developers comply, and will ensure that if the property is not finished, a guarantor, usually a bank, will refund the money they have paid plus interest. It could mean the difference between them losing all their money and getting a refund.
Ideally purchasers should contact a lawyer versed in Spanish insolvency law who can ensure they have all the right paperwork and are properly represented in the administration procedure, as well as contemplating alternative solutions such as enforcing the bank guarantee where this has been provided.