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Ricor Abogados&Solicitors&Avocats
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GOOD NEWS! UPDATE: New law to settle mortgage floor disputes has recently been passed by the Spanish Government

Dear readers, clients and friends,

We hope you are all well. A few months ago, we posted an article on Facebook and several other social networks, regarding the abusive FLOOR CLAUSE and how Banks have been forced to repay to their clients all earnings charged in excess from “abusive” mortgages. On May 9, 2013, the Supreme Court analyzed in its ruling No. 241/2013, (in the context of a class action brought by a consumer association against several banks), the abusive character of the floor clause, declaring it null and void. However, the declaration of nullity would not affect those cases already decided by the Courts before 9 May 2013. In other words, the Supreme Court (wrongly) declared the non-retroactivity of its decision, because it would basically cause a “serious disruption to the public economic order” (in other words it was a ruling made to protect the Spanish banking sector). This erratic interpretation of the EU Law was further confirmed by another Supreme Court’s judgment of March 25, 2015.

In a nutshell, what the Supreme Court said in their two mentioned obscure Judgments was that in those cases where the existence of a floor clause had been confirmed by the Court, the Banks would be obliged to refund any interest charged in excess ONLY FROM 9 May 2013, but not retroactively to the year in which the banks began to apply floor clauses.

Luckily, a number of Spanish courts challenged before the Court of Justice of the European Union again the interpretation of the EU law made by the Supreme Court, and finally, on 21 December 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union has recently handed down a landmark ruling (Cases C-154/15, C-307/15 and C-308/15), confirming that the Spanish Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to limit refunds to the period from May 2013 on, “failed to provide complete protection” to consumers” and subsequently, The ECJ has ordered Spain’s banks to repay all earnings from “abusive” mortgages from the year in which the banks began to apply those illegal floor clauses.

As a consequence of this recent ECJ DECISION, last 20th January 2017, the Spanish Government has finally approved a Royal Decree 1/2017, basically giving banks three months to reach agreements with customers who were offered mortgages with an abusive floor interest rate clause. As a result, the Royal Decree 1/2017 has approved several measures aimed at reaching possible out of court settlements, thereby preventing thousands of new litigants from reaching the already overloaded courts.

Subsequently, once the bank has received a letter before claim from the client’s Solicitor, it will have three months to make an offer. If an agreement is not reached within this deadline, the negotiation process will be understood to have concluded, and the client will be then able to sue the bank in Court.
However, according to the provisions of the Royal Decree-Law 1/2017, if the customer might reject the offer made by the bank and later on, he might decide to sue the bank, costs will be imposed on the bank, only if the compensation finally granted by the Court might be higher than the initial offer received from the bank.

Therefore, as litigators Solicitors, we are always mindful of alternative ways of settling disputes if possible, as it will be in our client’s best interests to pursue a satisfactory out of court settlement without litigation if possible. However, if despite all efforts, legal proceedings might have to be finally issued as a step of last resort, (if for instance the bank is intransigently opposed, we would continue to bear in mind the benefits of reaching a satisfactory out of court settlement before trial).
Our honest opinion is that the new law is very lenient with the banks. We believe that stronger penalties should be imposed on those banks that might intransigently be opposed to reach settlements. ( i.e double costs).

On the other hand, in addition to the Floor clause, we would like- if we may- to take this opportunity to inform you that the Supreme Court in its Ruling 705/2015 (dated 23th December 2015) has also declared abusive those clauses which impose on the borrower the payment of all fees, taxes and commissions associated with the mortgage loan.
Subsequently, if you are currently paying a mortgage in Spain or even if you have already paid it off up to four years ago, you may be entitled to claim, among others, a refund of the following concepts related to the Mortgage (not to the purchase of the property):

NOTARY AND LAND REGISTRY FEES, PROPERTY VALUATION COSTS, ABUSIVE COMMISSIONS, AS WELL AS THE STAMP DUTY TAX. (In total, perhaps around 2.500 Euros or more). However, bear in mind that time is of the essence, as the limitation period on order to claim these costs will expire on December 24th 2019.

In conclusion, remember if you have a mortgage and you have the suspicion that you might have serious abusive clauses in your mortgage contract, please follow the following instructions:

The first step would be to send us by e-mail your mortgage Deed as well as your latest mortgage’s monthly receipt, which will show the amount of pending capital as well as the current interest rate applied to your mortgage.

The best way to illustrate this is by giving you an example. Please see the attached photograph of a real receipt issued on-line by the bank. (Due to confidential reasons, we have obviously removed the bank’s name and our client’s personal details). However, you can clearly see highlighted in yellow, how our client has been charged last month with an outrageously high interest rate of 4,25%. Considering that the Euribor now is -0,070 %, the impact of this abusive floor clause in our client’s case is VERY SIGNIFICANT. The other attached document is an extract of a real mortgage Deed, containing a very abusive ceiling-floor clause.

In the second place, should you be affected by any of these above mentioned abusive clauses in your mortgage, - as a prior step, - we always recommend entering into correspondence or friendly negotiation with the bank. The negotiation process will aim to reach a satisfactory out of court settlement, saving the time and costs involved in protracted litigation. However, it is important that you DO NOT ACCEPT ANY PRESSURE FROM THE BANK. All banks are losing the court cases, so it is in their best interest to reach an amicable agreement with you, offering the best possible financial terms and conditions. Likewise, remember NEVER TO NEGOTIATE WITH OUR BANK ON YOUR OWN AND DO NOT SIGN ANY AGREEMENT, unless an independent qualified Solicitor-like our Firm-has already verified very carefully the content as well as the legal and financial implications of the proposed agreement in the long term.

In conclusion, there is very little that is "standard" in these kinds of mortgage contracts and agreements signed with banks, making it especially important that you know exactly what you're agreeing to. That’s why, in matters of such complexity and importance where a lot of money is at stake, it is vital that you seek the right professional, - only a qualified registered Lawyer, - in order to give you the most adequate professional advice.

“Ricor Abogados&Solicitors” has a strong legal team with proven extensive experience in all areas of law. We run an independent and cost effective Law Firm helping hundreds of clients across a range of legal services in Spain, from corporate and individual civil and criminal litigation, and we are proficient in dealing with banks with regards to the removal of abusive clauses from mortgage contracts. 

Our high rate of success is subsequently explained by the fact that we continually provide complete and “home-made” tailored solutions to individuals and businesses alike. If you kindly check our testimonials section of our website www.ricorabogados.com, you will find plenty of testimonials from real clients who put their trust in our Firm and they are all now all extremely grateful to our Firm for the excellent work and legal protection offered, which fills us with a lot of professional pride.

Therefore, should be interested in receiving specific advice regarding this matter (or any other legal issue), please do not hesitate to send us an e-mail to: ricorsolicitors@yahoo.co.uk, and we will be most delighted to be of assistance to you. Alternatively, you can also know more about our services by logging to our website www.ricorabogados.com.
Thank you very much again for your attention and we look forward to giving you a personalized service and the benefit of a high quality and cost effective advice.
Kindest regards

Mr. Oscar Ricor Morales
“NON-PRACTISING ENGLISH SOLICITOR IN ENGLAND AND WALES”, under the “Solicitors Regulation Authority” (SRA) SRA number 519196 and practicing Spanish Solicitor.

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9/5/17
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Our best wishes for a prosperous New Year 2017! NEW TESTIMONIALS RECEIVED BY CLIENTS

Dear friends, clients and readers,

As the Holiday Season is upon us, and after a very busy year helping clients, I must say that one of the true privileges of working as a Solicitor, is to receive testimonials like the ones below, which fills me with a lot of professional pride and sincere gratitude. Subsequently, I would like-if we may- to take this opportunity once more to thank you and wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season and the very best for the new year. We sincerely look forward to keep helping you in the years to come. Warmest regards to all.

Mr. Oscar Ricor Morales.

“NON-PRACTISING ENGLISH SOLICITOR IN ENGLAND AND WALES”, under the “Solicitors Regulation Authority” (SRA) SRA number 519196 and practicing Spanish Solicitor under the "Colegio de Abogados de Orihuela".

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Real testimonials received from three very good clients:

Testimonial 1:
"Thank you for explaining so eloquently and precise the process of purchasing Villa in Pilar de la Horadada, I really appreciated you protecting John and myself. I felt very happy that you have our interests at heart. I will most certainly recommend both yourself in the future, as I have some friends whom are looking to purchase a property in Spain. Once again thank you. Mary C. and John F.".- (SEE PHOTOGRAPH BELOW)

Testimonial 2:
" I recently consulted Oscar Ricor regarding a lease to purchase contract I needed on a property in Murcia. I found his service to be knowledgeable, efficient and good value for money. He enabled the whole process to be carried out smoothly and within a tight timeframe and was readily available to offer advice and reassurance when necessary. I would certainly recommend Oscar Ricor to friends and other ex-pats as it was refreshing to find a solicitor with such a client cantered approach. I am certainly one very satisfied customer! David B".

Testimonial 3:
“I have complete confidence in Oscar Ricor, who has now helped me to buy two properties in Orihuela Costa, Spain. The transactions have proceeded smoothly due to Oscar's diligence and professionalism. The fact that he is fluent in English and holds an English legal qualification, alongside his Spanish ones, together with his extensive experience has given me 'peace of mind' throughout. Oscar has also assisted us to obtain our N.I.E. numbers, advised us with preparing our Spanish wills and submitting our annual tax declarations. Furthermore, he is able to offer very competitive insurance quotes. I therefore have no hesitation in recommending his services to everyone. Susan J. Chichester, UK. (SEE PHOTOGRAPH BELOW).

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4/1/17
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Case lab of the week; Problems with the Community of owners
Real consultation just received by a very good client;

“Dear Oscar;
The owner’s community has decided during the last AGM, to install an elevator in the building. Am I legally obliged to contribute to the installation’s cost, even though I am just the owner of a local for business and not the owner of any dwelling?”

Our response: YES, as the owner of a local for business located in a building of 10 apartments, you would be obliged to contribute to the payment in accordance to your ownership’s share. 
The Spanish Horizontal Property Law is very specific in its articles 10 and 11 and it can oblige community of owners to take (and to pay) for all the necessary Works required to make the common areas “accessible”, like lifts or other electromechanical devices, like wheelchairs lifts. Likewise, the maintenance and upgrade of these new installations will be subjected to the same rules that any other common area facility.
This view is reinforced by recent jurisprudence of the Supreme Court, which widens or extends the meaning of habitability and subsequently it widens the scope and application of the “Law 51/2003, of 2 December, on Equal Opportunities, Non-discrimination and Universal Accessibility for People with Disabilities” as well as articles 9.2, 10,14 and 49 of the Spanish Constitution    
Finally, we hope you find this information useful and remember, should you ever need a reliable, 100% independent, honest, cost effective and efficient English speaking Spanish solicitor, to help you with your property conveyance matters, (or with any other legal dispute problem), make sure you bookmark this page, visit our websites: www.ricorabogados.com and www.englishsolicitorinspain.com
or alternatively, please do not hesitate to contact us by e-mail at ricorsolicitors@yahoo.co.uk
Also, please don’t forget to also “like” the Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/ricorabogados
Remember that you can also follow us in Linkdin or by visiting our google business page:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/101699650134478147323/101699650134478147323/posts

Thank you very much for your kind attention and we look forward to helping you!
Mr Oscar Ricor
“NON-PRACTISING ENGLISH SOLICITOR IN ENGLAND AND WALES”, under the “Solicitors Regulation Authority” (SRA) SRA number 519196 and practicing Spanish Solicitor Nº1247

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THE EU COURT OF JUSTICE DECLARES ILLEGAL “THE SPANISH INHERITANCE AND GIFT DONATION TAX”

In Spain, the “Inheritance and gift tax” is a state tax applicable throughout the national territory (except in the Basque Country and Navarra who have their own completely different tax system), but is transferred to the several autonomous communities, (i.e, Murcia region, Valencian Community, etc), which can approve their own rules in order to supplement or replace the basic rules laid down by the central Government. 
However, this chaotic situation of delegated regional legislation, has in practice led to very high differences in treatment between expats and non residents depending on the specific location of the property or assets.
In simple words, the current Spanish law IS DISCRIMINATORY because it establishes unjustified differences in treatment between residents and non-residents in the 17 different autonomous communities of Spain.
Fortunately, the good news is that this situation is about to chance as the European Court of Justice (ECJ), has determined in a recent landmark ruling (C127/12), that the Spanish Succession and Donation tax fails to comply with the European rules, by not permitting non-residents to benefit from the tax advantages and deductions offered by regional administrations to resident and Spanish citizens. Moreover, the ECJ ruling declares that the design of the Spanish tribute is a blatant restriction on the free movement of capital within the EU territory, which is one of the fundamental principles of the European Union market, infringing the Treaty of Operation of the European Union.
According to the EU Commission, discrimination occurs when the deceased or donor, the heir or donee are not resident in Spanish territory and particularly in the case of donations, where the property being transferred is located abroad, regardless of the place of residence of the taxpayer. 
The EU Court states that it is contrary to the free movement of capital, because it discourages non-residents from making or holding investments in any EU country.
To be accepted, any possible difference in treatment must be justified by overriding reasons of general public interest. In the Spanish case, the ECJ considers that there is no difference whatsoever between the “objective” situation of a resident and a nonresident that may justify a different tax treatment. Subsequently, as indicated before, any difference in treatment concerning tax reductions will simply lead to discrimination and as a result it will be forbidden. 
In conclusion, This ECJ decision will force Spain to implement a "new state regulation". Likewise, it implies a perfect argument for those non resident people who might have paid excessive taxes on inheritance or donations, to bring legal action against the Government aimed to claim back the refund of those taxes paid in excess.
Therefore, should you ever need a reliable, 100% independent, honest, cost effective and efficient English speaking Spanish solicitor, to help you with your inheritance taxation matters, (or with any other legal problem), make sure you bookmark this page, visit our websites: www.ricorabogados.com and www.englishsolicitorinspain.com
or alternatively, please do not hesitate to contact us by e-mail at ricorsolicitors@yahoo.co.uk
Also, please don’t forget to also “like” the Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/ricorabogados
Remember that you can also follow us in Linkdin or by visiting our google business page:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/101699650134478147323/101699650134478147323/posts
Thank you very much for your kind attention and we look forward to helping you!
Mr Oscar Ricor
“NON-PRACTISING ENGLISH SOLICITOR IN ENGLAND AND WALES”, under the “Solicitors Regulation Authority” (SRA) SRA number 519196 and practicing Spanish Solicitor Nº1247

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Spanish Valencian regional Government closing in on undeclared illegal buildings: 

A significant number of Expats and even Spanish people are probably still unaware that last 20th August 2014, a new Law DOGV 5/2014 of July 25, of Planning, Urbanism and Landscape was implemented and published almost inadvertedly during the August break, by the Valencian Community.

This new Act has a direct impact on homeowners of illegal dwellings built on less than 10.000 M2 on rustic land, as well as on homeowners who made housing extensions to their properties that were never legalized. (i.e, swimming pools, garages, all kind of new buildings, etc)

In short, what you need to remember is that the new Act has dramatically changed for the worst the original deadlines related to the legalization of illegal buildings. 

For example, before the act, it existed a reasonable deadline of 4 years, which implied that homeowners were able to legalize their properties by submitting a “certificate of old age or certificado de antigüedad in Spanish”, issued by a regulated architect. Obviously, the payment of legalization’s licences would still be compulsory required, but at least the building work could become legal.

However, Article 236 of the new Act implements a new deadline of 15 years, which in practice means that the owner of a dwelling that might have been substantially enlarged without having planning permission, will have to wait now for a new period of 15 years in order to be able to legalize it!
Bear in mind that the 15 years will start counting from the date the illegal property was built and not from the 20th August 2014 (the Act implementation’s date).
In short, we do not personally believe that this new Act is going to improve in any way, the legal rights of expats homeowners when dealing with the local Authorities. On the contrary, it looks like the new Act has been specifically designed to grant a great length of time to the Regional and Local Government as to investigate possible infractions on planning permissions that took place many years ago. 
In fact, the real goal of this Act is not to facilitate an increase in the legal certainty, transparency and involvement from homeowners in the planning process, etc, but most likely is going to create more confusion on homeowners and foreign investors, who are at the mercy of these kind of outrageous, chaotic and frequently contradictory regional legislation, depending basically on the specific region of Spain, where the property is located. Moreover, this new Act will now make easier for these local and regional entities (which by the way are at the brink of bankruptcy), to collect money by imposing much more heavy fines on you. After so many years of widespread abuses and corruption from unscrupulous builders and local authorities, is this the correct path to restore public confidence especially on foreign investors willing to retire and live peacefully in Spain? I do not think so.

Therefore, should you ever need a reliable, 100% independent, honest, cost effective and efficient English speaking Spanish solicitor, to help you with your legalization matters, (or with any other problem), make sure you bookmark this page, visit our websites: www.ricorabogados.com and www.englishsolicitorinspain.com 

or alternatively, please do not hesitate to contact us by e-mail at ricorsolicitors@yahoo.co.uk

Also, please don’t forget to also “like” the Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/ricorabogados

Remember that you can also follow us in Linkdin or by visiting our google business page: 

https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/101699650134478147323/101699650134478147323/posts

Thank you very much for your kind attention and we look forward to helping you!

Mr Oscar Ricor
“NON-PRACTISING ENGLISH SOLICITOR IN ENGLAND AND WALES”, under the “Solicitors Regulation Authority” (SRA) SRA number 519196 and practicing Spanish Solicitor Nº1247
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LAWYERS AND TAX CONSULTANTS
AVOCATS ET FISCALISTES
RECHTSANWÄLTE UND STEUERBERATER

Ricor Abogados&Solicitors: Your best Lawyer’s choice in Spain.

First, we speak your language, we understand your needs and we will always fight for your interests. 
Second, we believe it is by providing added value that we have distinguished ourselves from the rest of the market. 
Third, we believe that “home-made” legal services, must always be provided with client care at the forefront and subsequently our long-term relationships with our clients and friends are crucial to our success.

Therefore, should you ever need a reliable, 100% independent, honest, cost effective and efficient English speaking Spanish solicitor, make sure you bookmark this page, visit our websites:
www.ricorabogados.com and www.englishsolicitorinspain.com 
or alternatively, please do not hesitate to contact us by e-mail at ricorsolicitors@yahoo.co.uk


Also, please don’t forget to also “like” the Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/ricorabogados

You can also follow us in Linkdin or by visiting our google business page: 

https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/101699650134478147323/101699650134478147323/posts

Thank you very much for your kind attention and we look forward to helping you!

 Mr Oscar Ricor
“NON-PRACTISING ENGLISH SOLICITOR IN ENGLAND AND WALES”, under the “Solicitors Regulation Authority” (SRA)
SRA number 519196 and practicing Spanish Solicitor Nº1247

REAL TESTIMONIAL FROM A VERY LOYAL CLIENT AND CLOSE FRIEND: “you are the best solicitor in spain would recommend you to every one x”. R. Nolan

I must say that kind comments like the one received this morning from a very loyal client of our Firm, fills me with professional proud, gratitude and satisfaction:

"Dear Oscar

I hope you and your family are well.

Just a quick note to say thank you, we received our first water bill, so I guess you spoke to them to arrange it for us.

Thanks again for the first class service you always provide.

Kindest regards,
Mark"

Thank you so much Mark for putting your permanent trust in our Firm. 
www.ricorabogados.com

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My mission statement: To fight for my clients's freedom and justice and to uphold the Rule of Law
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“CASE LAB” OF THE WEEK: A CAR FROM HELL!

Our client Mrs F.K contacted our firm for help recently. She was in great distress, because she bought a second hand car (VOLVO) in La Marina (Alicante), only to find out after the purchase that the car was in a terrible condition. She was desperate because since she bought the car, it’s been under permanent repairs in a workshop. The seller is not answering our client’s phone calls and e-mails. 

You need to be very careful when buying a resale car in Spain. Some unreliable sellers will use all sorts of “publicity tricks” to seduce you into buying a “fashion car”. To that end, they will promise an excellent product together with an outstanding customer service. Unfortunately that is far from the truth in many occasions. Be very careful because if you are careless, you might end up being ripped off and with a useless garbage car!
Therefore, please find below some useful tips that will greatly help you when buying a car in Spain:

1) Always make sure that the car has passed the ITV and preferably request the seller to bring the car to the workshop of your trust, for a preliminary thorough engine chek.
2) Request for a “presupuesto” (in Spanish) or quote, before paying any money
3) Always double check that everything is legal, take your time to review the paperwork, like the ITV, certificate from the “trafico office” stating who is the real owner of the car, latest tax receipt duly paid through the SUMA, etc
4) Sign a purchase contract or agreement and after paying the car, do not forget to ask for a formal invoice! (our client was never given any invoice, just a receipt). Remember that at the event of a problem, the invoice acts as your guarantee document as it will allow you to claim your legitimate rights as European Consumer against the seller.

Beware!! Many unreliable sellers import the cars and fraudulently will manipulate the speed meter or the engine. If you detect any serious problems, do not buy it! However, for minor problems, negotiating a better deal is always an option!.
Finally, Should the seller might refuse to give you the INVOICE or to honour the guarantee,- like in the case of Mrs F.K- or in case you might have any dispute with the seller or workshop, please do not hesitate to contact us, just make sure you bookmark this page, visit our website www.ricorabogados.com and like the Facebook link “https://www.facebook.com/ricorabogados”. 
Also, please do not hesitate to contact us by e-mail at ricorsolicitors@yahoo.co.uk
Thank you very much and we look forward to helping you!

Mr Oscar Ricor
“NON-PRACTISING ENGLISH SOLICITOR IN ENGLAND AND WALES”, under the “Solicitors Regulation Authority” (SRA) SRA number 519196 and practicing Spanish Solicitor&Abogado.
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