Thanks to the response from this Press Release, Pilar Alonso & A H Solicitors was featured in The Times twice over the last week.

A piece was written on the Press Release on the 11th April and you can read the full article here.

They also chose Pilar as their Lawyer of the Week in April 2018 and it was featured in both the print and online versions. You can read the full article here.

Lawyer of the week

During the property boom period that started in the 1990s, around 800,000 holiday homes were built in Spain each year.

Buyers (a large proportion of them British), ploughed cash into Spanish real estate, with many of them parting with significant deposits and stage payments for off-plan investments.

But many had dreams of long holidays in the sun, retirements spent relaxing on the beach and financial peace of mind shattered in 2008 when the property market in Spain, crashed.

This left builders and developers bankrupt, off-plan homes nowhere to be seen, and buyers with very little hope of recovering their money. Official figures showed unsold and incomplete homes totaled 617,000, although unofficial estimates double this number and thousands of British investors were dragged into this financial disaster.

The Centre for Business and Economic Research estimates British citizens in Spain lost a total bill of £5.3 billion. Couple this with the lost interest, which adds around 42% to the total, and the banks were looking at an eye-watering £7.5 billion.

Mr. and Mrs. Maby had always had the idyllic dream of spending the rest of their days in Spain attracted by the sun, it’s gastronomy and it’s way of living once their retirement came about. They finally found what they thought was going to be the home of their dreams in a spectacular location near the sea and close to the lively city of Alicante.

After spending their lives working and saving they could not think of anything more exciting.

So, they made the decision to follow their dreams and headed to Alicante on the Costa Blanca, southeast Spain. With more than 2,800 hours of sunshine per year and an annual temperature of 19.3 degrees, it seemed the perfect location to spend their retirement.

After visiting a few developments that, at the time, where just building sites they made the decision to purchase a property on the EL PINET RESORT. With only a brochure and the promises of the builder, SAN JOSE INVERSIONES Y PROYECTOS, they took a risk and purchased the property off plan, securing it with a 50,100 euros deposit. Mr. and Mrs. Maby signed the purchase contract on 28 October 2004 and after 13 years the property remains unfinished.

After waiting four years for the dream home to be completed, in 2008, the Maby’s were given the devastating news that SAN JOSE INVERSIONES had gone into bankruptcy and the company had been liquidated.

It is impossible to imagine the stress that Mr. and Mrs. Maby and the 965 other investors experienced following the collapse of San Jose Inversiones, but as almost 70% of them were British it must of felt like their future happiness was being taken from them and there was little that they could do about it.

Without knowledge of the Spanish Law and being far from the place where they had invested their money, the 965 were lost and forgotten and there seemed know where they could go for help?

Many of those affected by the collapse had invested their entire savings and so, although it seemed ridiculous to walk away from such a large investment, they could not afford the risk of financing legal actions, as failure would have been unthinkable.

Not only was Spanish property law completely different to Britain’s, there was no one to take action against as the builder had gone into bankruptcy. They were facing the stark realization that all their money was lost and it would be impossible to get it back.

During the years that followed the collapse of many real estate developers in Spain those that lost their savings faced confusion and uncertainty.

Mrs. Maby was distraught at the lack of support. “We had little or no assistance from lawyers, they were simple not prepared to fight our cases, despite the fact that the law that was supposed to protect us dated back to the year 1968.”

After years of back and forth the judges had not managed to dictate anywhere near enough judgments to clarify a solution to the conflict.

The clients, who had been represented previously by other law firms in Spain, felt disappointed and demoralized since no one was able to help them.

They did not trust the Spanish legal system and they had just lost the hope of recovering the money invested. They thought that their dreams had vanished forever.

In 2016 Pilar Alonso, a Spanish lawyer who lives and also has an office in in Bolton (Manchester) called ALONSO HARO SOLICITORS, approached Mr. and Mrs. Maby. She runs the law firm jointly with Carlos Meoro. She explained to the clients that there was still no reason to give up and the only way to recover her investment was to sue the bank where her investment was transferred.

Mrs. Alonso explained the clients that legal actions will be taken against the bank where their deposit was transferred as they had the obligation to guarantee the amounts deposited in their accounts individually. She told them that the chances of recovering their deposit were very high.

The fact that Mrs. Alonso was established in UK, was familiar with the aforementioned law and had previously helped almost 200 clients in the same situation helped Mr. and Mrs. Maby generate a deep trust in her and her team.

It is also important to mention that no fees were requested up front and only in in the event that the case was won she would receive her fees.

Court actions against the bank started in September 2016 and after one long sixteen-month period; Mr. and Mrs. Maby recovered their investment lost in January 2018.

“I would like to thank you and the team at Alonso & Haro Solicitors for all your excellent work and perseverance in recovering our investment in the El Pinet resort. It was an investment we had lost hope in recovering. I am very happy that you were able to diligently work through the challenges that prevailed and keep us informed of the progress, culminating in the return of our money from the banks. I would have no reluctance in recommending you to anyone else considering undertaking the recovery of funds from a property investment”, Mr and Mrs Maby says.

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