Property investors who put their money into real estate being sold by Spanish developer Aifos have just four weeks left to register their claims against the company that has gone into administration.
The deadline is the end of September, according to Antonio Guillen, a Spanish lawyer with Manchester based legal firm DWF which is advising British buyers who have paid money towards unfinished properties.
Aifos, which had two offices in the UK was well known for its ambitious projects and aggressive marketing campaigns but it collapsed due to the crisis in the Spanish property market and it is estimated that around 4,000 properties, many of them in Andalucia, have been left unfinished.
It also owned a number of hotels such as the Guadalpín Marbella and the Hotel Byblos in Mjias, which is now in the process of being bought by British entrepreneur Sir Alan Sugar. It is reported that he is paying a bargain €2.5 million for the property which is worth €35 million.
Guillen said it is estimated that Aifos has debts of over €1,000 million 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,’ he said.
‘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,’ he added.
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,’ said Guillen.