Property Disputes

A legal services company based in Hertfordshire, providing advice for property problems abroad
We provide a comprehensive service that will cover every aspect of your case, from initial consultation through to conclusion - and appeal should that prove necessary.
 

Conveyancing

A legal services company based in Hertfordshire, providing advice about buying a property in Spain, France and Portugal
One of the most common misconceptions people tend to have when buying a property abroad is a belief that things will follow a similar path as buying a property at home.

Mortgage Problems

Overseas property lawyers based in Hertfordshire, providing advice related to investments in property and land overseas
Whatever the circumstances many people now find that they are struggling to pay their mortgages on a month to month basis and may even be in arrears.
 

Foreign Wills 

A legal services company based in Hertfordshire, providing advice related to investments in property and land overseas
By making a foreign Will you can ensure that the right people inherit from you and do so in the most tax advantageous way.  If you don’t leave a foreign Will then the law sets out who inherits from you

Timeshare

A legal services company based in Hertfordshire, providing advice related to investments in property and land overseas
Timeshare is concept that has been around for many decades. The principle is quite simple – instead of buying a whole property abroad you simply buy a share in that property 

Other Services

A legal services company based in Hertfordshire, providing advice related to investments in property and land overseas
Under our Legal Services, you can find further information about our other services. These include timeshare, wills, inheritance, starting a business abroad and obtaining a visa

Latest News

Swiss Franc Mortgages in Cyprus: The Success Stories 17.01.2017

“The Swiss Franc mortgage taken out to fund our investment in Cyprus some years ago has become a nightmare”. “It is an issue causing us huge distress and anxiety as it has become an imminent threat to our assets in the UK”. Does this sound familiar?

This picture is now changing and we would like to invite any concerned purchasers of immovable properties in Cyprus to a FREE seminar at St. Andrew’s Stadium – home of Birmingham City FC – on Sunday 05th February 2017 (times to be confirmed), to share our success stories and updates on the various options currently available for the effective handling of these issues in Cyprus.

The latter part of 2016 saw some interesting and important decisions being reached in Cyprus, both in the District Courts and via the CCPS (Cyprus Consumer Protection Service) in relation to the historical issues which have arisen linked to foreign currency loans. These loans mainly in the Swiss Franc denomination (CHF) were taken out to fund the purchase of immovable property in Cyprus.

The recent decisions in Cyprus firmly condemning the banks in Cyprus for the practices employed when lending in the foreign currency and the lack of any explanations as to the risks inherent in the loans; amongst other issues.

In addition to these welcome rulings in Cyprus, we have also been consistently reaching settlements with the banks in Cyprus for our clients and remain at the forefront of the various legal groups achieving these results. Such settlements include the restructuring of loans where the client wished to retain the property; albeit under much more favorable terms and of course a significant discount.

The video link below details one of our client’s challenging yet successful journey with us.

http://www.judicaregroup.com/cyprus-mortgage-problems-case-study

Other cases successfully settled by us have included examples where banks have taken completed properties in full and final settlement of debts with no further payment required from clients and also the out-of- court resolution of cases which had previously been the subject of litigation.

In some cases we continue to offer a No-Win-No-Fee structure.

In attendance once again will be our two lead Barristers from Cyprus and there will be the opportunity to listen to their experiences to date for the hundreds of instructed clients we act for and to pose any questions directly in an open Q&A session.

For more information on the seminar please contact us at admin@judicaregroup.com or via telephone at 01438 840258 to reserve your place.

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Signing documents without reading them or taking legal advice 05.01.2017
More often than not when buying a product or paying for a service we will be asked to enter into a contract of one sort or another or sign Terms and Conditions which then form part of a Contract. The reality is people enter into contracts quite often several times a day. For example, you will frequently have an App on your mobile phone or download some piece of new software for your computer which invariably will come with Terms and Conditions that you have to agree to before proceeding.
 
The terms of an App or a website can change all the time however generally very few of us ever pause to read the T&C’s, we just click to say that we have read them so we can obtain the information being offered. Similarly, we may buy a washing machine or a sofa or a car and these often come with terms and conditions in relation to warranties. Again most people simply accept these without paying any real attention to the content of those Terms and Conditions or the consequences of proceeding.
 
Unfortunately all of this means that people have rather become blasé about Terms and Conditions and signing them. Proceeding in this way has resulted in an increase in adverse legal situations where people should have read what they were presented with; but did not.
 
A classic example of this comes with Timeshare contracts. We regularly speak to people who have signed up to a Timeshare in Spain or Portugal for example but didn’t read the documentation in any detail and therefore didn’t really understand what they were signing up for.
 
As a result they find out after signing contracts, they are now required to pay an ever increasing maintenance fee for their resort every year. In the vast majority of these cases clients inform us that they didn’t read the paperwork before signing it and simply believed the salesman when they were told everything was just standard documentation. It is of course then sometimes difficult to raise an argument that an individual did not know what they were agreeing to if they have signed the documentation personally, documentation which clearly states the terms being signed up to. Timeshare salesmen in particular are aware of this and very often will do everything they can to rush you, distract you or play down the importance of the documentation so that you don’t read through everything before signing.
 
Fortunately in the case of Timeshare contracts, very often the contracts themselves fall foul of Spanish or Portuguese consumer legislation and so we are able to have the contracts cancelled and the legal obligations of the clients terminated.
 
Another recent example we have dealt with involved a client who had signed documents to open a bank account in Spain. These documents were in Spanish and as a result the clients did not fully understand them or the financial consequences of signing them. The bank in question did not go through the documentation with the client - as they should have - but equally the client simply signed them. The clients were then shocked to learn the bank had levied charges on their specific account which were much higher than they expected. In this case we were able to prove the failings of the bank to correctly inform the clients of the fee structures on the accounts in question. And after protracted exchanges with the bank the excessive fees charged to the clients were eventually reimbursed.
 
It is very tempting to ignore Terms and Conditions in this modern world where you are presented with so many of them. However, doing this can cause problems if the Terms and Conditions are not what you are expecting. Never assume that Terms and Conditions will be OK. Take a moment to read through them. If you can’t read them because they are in a language that you don’t understand then obtain a translation or insist upon somebody explaining them to you. If you still don’t understand, then seek legal advice, as by just signing without reading or understanding the consequences of what you are signing this could result in potential financial and/or legal problems and will probably negate any possibility of you complaining at a later date that the Terms are not what you expected.
 
If you have an international legal issue or contract that you need assistance with then you can contact our legal team
 
Disclaimer – International legal issues are a complex area of law and this information is no substitute for independent legal advice on an individual basis taking into consideration your personal circumstances and legal requirements. This information is provided to provide general information only and was correct at the time of publishing. The legal position in relation to international transactions can change frequently and this page may not have been updated following any changes in the law. You should therefore not rely on this information and should seek legal advice in relation to your personal circumstances.
 
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Why Timeshare maintenance fees increase 01.12.2016
Many years ago when Timeshare first appeared as a concept the attraction was quite simple – you owned/purchased a single week in an apartment (often called a “unit”) in a resort and this worked out significantly cheaper than the cost of buying that whole apartment. And one of the major selling points for Timeshare resorts and for prospective Timeshare purchasers was the manageable ongoing costs of Timeshare ownership. Maintenance costs would of course work out significantly cheaper for one week than the maintenance cost of the whole apartment as they would be shared out across the owners of all the weeks. As a result Timeshare was conceived and sold as the perfect low cost alternative to buying a whole property.
 
Unfortunately maintenance fees (sometimes called “management fees”) at Timeshare resorts have increased substantially for most people over the years of their ownership. The vast majority of owners who contact us were originally paying less than £100 per week for maintenance at the time of their purchase yet are now paying in excess of £500 per week for that same maintenance.
 
So, why have maintenance fees increased so much. There can be a number of different reasons depending on the resort;
 
  1. Maintenance fees were kept artificially low at the beginning of a new resort in order to encourage prospective Timeshare owners to sign up and buy. A new resort requires less maintenance than an established resort and therefore maintenance fees could be kept to an attractive level in order not to scare potential buyers. The Timeshare resort know these fees will have to gradually increase over time but believed by then the individual owners would have no choice but to pay.
     
  2. The resort is too slow in increasing the management fees over time. The resort requires constant updating and any unexpected or significant expense that hasn’t been planned for can create a large financial hole that needs to be filled.
     
  3. The resort simply gets its calculations wrong. Some resorts have vastly underestimated the ongoing costs of the resort or have not anticipated a particular problem that has cost much more than it should to remedy. When these costs are identified the individual owners are invariably targeted; and maintenance fees increase to meet this demand.
     
  4. The maintenance fees are not spent on maintenance at all and are payed out of the management company for the benefit of the owners of that company by way of large staff costs. And as a result the resort gradually declines in terms of maintenance.
     
  5. Owners themselves have inadvertently contributed to the increasing costs. As ongoing resort costs have increased and owners decide not to use their Timeshare, they are of course less inclined to pay the maintenance fees. As fewer people pay on time - or at all - the management company is forced to allocate money away from the upkeep of the resort and spends more on administration costs and legal fees pursuing the non-paying owners.
     
  6. In many cases however it is simply a case of the management company being greedy. Resorts have realised they can not only make a lot of money from selling the timeshare in the first place but can generate a steady and ever growing profit every year from providing the maintenance of the resort. In order to exercise this financial control the resort will normally “keep back” a certain number of weeks supposedly for its own use, and as such it can normally control the AGM (Annual General Meeting) thus voting in their own maintenance company to carry on with the contract. 
All of the reasons above – and many more – have left Timeshare owners facing potential hardship in meeting their financial obligations, and as a result these owners have increasingly found themselves the target of aggressive resort owners chasing annual fees.
Typically, the Timeshare resorts will employ the services of UK debt collection agencies to vigorously pursue the non-paying owners.
If you have been contacted by a debt collection agency regarding non –payment of fees or are encountering a problem with a Timeshare in Spain or Portugal and would like to speak to a UK based solicitor who has been dealing with timeshare for over 20 years then you can contact our timeshare team

Disclaimer – International legal issues are a complex area of law and this information is no substitute for independent legal advice on an individual basis taking into consideration your personal circumstances and legal requirements. This information is provided to provide general information only and was correct at the time of publishing. The legal position in relation to international transactions can change frequently and this page may not have been updated following any changes in the law. You should therefore not rely on this information and should seek legal advice in relation to your personal circumstances.
 
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