A legal services company based in Hertfordshire, providing advice related to investments in property and land overseas Request a quick callback

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

Timeshare Cancellation Companies Warning 28.11.2017
The Timeshare world is a murky one. One thing can look like another and some companies spend quite a bit of time and effort hiding their true identity or objectives. This is true not only for the timeshare resorts and sales companies but also the huge industry that has arisen around timeshare cancellation. There are many scams and fraudsters that occupy the timeshare cancellation industry and unfortunately many people haven’t realised this yet.

One common scam is for a timeshare cancellation company to be a front for timeshare sales. The way that this works is that you think that you are dealing with a reputable timeshare cancellation company but in fact what they will do is persuade you to buy another timeshare or another product under the premise that this will somehow magically get you out of your Timeshare. We call this “The Upsell Scam” as the whole aim of the company is not to get your out of your timeshare but to sell you something else.
 
Another scam is to hide fees and make things look free when they aren’t. Timeshare cancellation companies are often very good at making their services look free or low cost when in fact they are nothing but. There are a couple of ways that they can do this. First of all they can keep their fees low or free but then add on a load of “costs” for things such as taxes, court fees and so on which are often completely fictitious. The second way that they can do this is that they set up a series of different companies and the public facing company is technically free but then they pass you over to their sister or affiliated company who then does charge. Often the two companies are owned by the same people and the setup is simply a front so that they can genuinely say that the first company doesn’t charge.
  
A major problem is that you often don’t know who you are dealing with. Timeshare cancellation companies often have a whole series of different companies set up. They may have one company who is used to capture new clients. Then they may have another that gives the initial advice and assesses the case. Then they may have another that actually does the apparent cancellation. You have to ask yourself why they need such a structure. Why is their set up so complicated? What are they hiding? What advantage is it to them to do this? Generally speaking if there is an overly complicated structure with a series of different companies the people behind this structure have something to hide and are trying to pull the wool over your eyes. The more companies you have the more complicated and costly it is to run such an enterprise so there has to be some benefit to doing so and normally this is to hide something.

Furthermore there are internet forums designed specifically to make it look like they are independent and run for the benefit of timeshare owners when in fact the whole purpose behind them is to funnel readers and contributors to a particular company so that they can capture you as a client.

So what can you do to avoid being caught by the less scrupulous timeshare cancellation companies? We think that there are a few things that you can do to protect yourself. Here is our top ten tips;
  1. Only deal with a registered and regulated law firm. In the UK solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). In other countries there is the equivalent of the SRA with Colleges of Law and Bar Associations. Being registered means that not only does the company have to follow a set of rules and a code of conduct and ethics and has to answer to their regulatory body if they do something wrong but also that they have to have certain minimum requirements such as indemnity insurance.
  2. Check who is behind the companies involved? In the UK you can check the names of the Directors for free at Companies House. You can then click on the names of each of the Directors to see what other companies they are involved in. Build up a picture of what the set-up is. It is surprising how often you see the same names coming up for companies that are supposed to be independent from each other. You can quickly identify whether one company is simply a front for another.
  3. What is the track record of the company? Do some research into the company before making contact with them.
  4. Never deal with a company that cold calls you. Genuine timeshare cancellation companies have no way of knowing that you have a timeshare let alone that you wish to cancel. If you are contacted out of the blue by somebody offering to cancel your timeshare do not use them no matter how genuine their excuse for having your details sounds.
  5. Have a look a how long the company has been established and how long their website has been running. If they have only just recently been set up could this be because they are a scam that regularly sets up a company, scams people, closes down the company and then starts again? Is a new company simply a front for something else?
  6. Are they trying to make themselves look more official than they really are? Do they try and look like a law firm when they aren’t? Do they have a name that makes it look like they are an official association, body or government organisation when in fact they are simply a private company with no official recognition at all? Look carefully at the wording of their website and then cross reference this with your research. Do not assume that a company is regulated, approved or official just because it has a name that makes it sounds like it is.
  7. Are there proper contact details on the website? Is the address, company number, telephone numbers etc on there? Many scams companies simply do not put their proper contact details on there and have just a telephone number and an email address but no details of exactly where they are based.
  8. Are they offering something that sounds too good to be true or are there strange suggestions being made. Comments such as “The service is free as it is paid by XYZ Ltd” or “There is No Cost as we have a sponsor or benefactor” or even the fact that one of the companies is described as being a “Not for profit company”.You should ask yourself why anybody would do this for the timeshare industry. The short answer is that this is often simply a front and a way of drawing you in with a view to charging fees later on. Those other companies, sponsors or benefactors are normally the same people who are running the original company and who also have a timeshare cancellation company that will charge fees. It is easy to check this. Charging fees is not a problem but not being honest and up front about the fees from the beginning is.
  9. If you are being recommended to use a company on a particular website or forum ask yourself who is behind either that website or. Timeshare forums and websites are often set up as a front to channel you in the direction of a particular company. You can look up who owns a website by using a “Who Is” service on the internet. This is free and easy to do. You can then see who actually owns the website or forum and carry out some research into them. It is possible to hide your details so that nobody knows that you own that website. If a company hides their identity then we suggest you don’t use them – after all, what have they got to hide and why don’t they want you to know who owns that website?
  10. If a contributor on a forum recommends a particular company go and have a look at their other posts to try and work out if there is a trend there as they may actually work for that company, particularly if they use an anonymous forum name. There are many people who infiltrate forums simply to try and drive traffic to their business. Some are more subtle than others. A quick look at the other posts that they have made on that forum can give you some indication as to their intentions. If they have only made a few posts and they all recommend the same company it is a fair bet that they work for that company. If, on the other hand, they have made many posts on a wide range of subjects and appear to make sense in all of them then they may be genuine. It is good forum etiquette to be honest about whether you have an affiliation with a company that you are recommending or endorsing.
If you would like to speak to a UK solicitor regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority that specialises in Timeshare issues then contact us

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.
 
Please contact us for more information on how we can help - get in touch
  Read more... Read more
Niche Law Firm of the Year 2017 24.10.2017
We were delighted to recently receive the award for Niche Law firm of the year 2017 at the gala dinner of the annual Symphony Legal conference in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Symphony Legal are one of the UK's leading legal membership and consultancy networks.
 
Demonstrating strategic vision, a clear focus and success within our specialized area of work it was fantastic to be recognized by the judges for this category of work.

The event was a great opportunity to discuss all aspects of the legal sector with other law firms and a great dinner to round off the two day conference.

We continue to lead the way in jurisdictions such as Cyprus where we are currently representing hundreds of clients and addressing the many issues related to the way in which Cyprus banks previously granted foreign currency loans to purchasers of immoveable property.

We also continue to provide comprehensive conveyance services to purchasers of foreign property in multiple jurisdictions including – but not limited to – Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and the United Arab Emirates.
Please contact us for more information on how we can help - get in touch
Read more... Read more
Force Majeure clauses in property contracts – what are they and when can they be invoked 18.09.2017
If you have bought a property abroad in the last 10 to 15 years in countries such as Cape Verde, Turkey, Morocco, Brazil or the UAE then the likelihood is that the property was still being built when you committed to buy. This is commonly known as buying a property “off plan” – i.e. you can’t view the completed property but can look at the future plans for the project and or property.
 
When you buy a property off plan the purchase contract should have a clause which provides a deadline for the completion of the unit; i.e. when the developer should deliver or “hand over” the property to the Buyer. This relevant clause should set out clearly what penalties will apply to the developer and what legal (and financial) redress a purchaser would be entitled to expect should the developer fail to deliver the property within those parameters. 
 
In addition, most purchase agreements will also include a supplemental clause setting out that in certain circumstances a developer can be excused from going past that proposed completion deadline without any penalty. This is commonly referred to as the “Force majeure” clause. Essentially it is an unforeseen event that prohibits the contract being completed on time or ever; in extreme conditions.
 
Force majeure is a French term and literally translates as “superior force”. In reality what this means is an act outside the control of the person involved. Force Majeure is also sometimes referred to as “An Act of God” and is also prevalent in insurance contracts.
   
Some developers in recent years have heavily relied upon the Force Majeure clause in their contracts to cover themselves and therefore it is worth looking at what is and what isn’t deemed an Act of God.
 
There is no doubt that if natural climatic events such as hurricanes, lightning strikes and flooding, damage a property in the course of construction and, as a direct result, these events put back the construction; then this is something deemed completely outside the control of the developer or builder and would be considered to be a Force Majeure occurrence.
 
Equally if there is a war or a terrorist attack or a general labour strike that stops construction then this could also be seen as Force Majeure occurrence.
 
However, if it could be reasonably known that a particular event or a set of events were going to happen when the contract was signed, and could therefore have been foreseen, then legally this may not be considered to constitute Force Majeure.
 
Force Majeure clauses should, ideally, set out the examples of what would be considered to be Force Majeure for the purposes of that contract. By doing so the contracts - and both parties - have an element of certainty and a framework to assess what is covered by that clause. However, some developers have been reluctant to do this, and in time claim that any delay, even events which are clearly attributable to the developer, are in fact Force Majeure.
 
We have seen over recent years seen some foreign property developers try and claim that the failure to obtain planning permission for their project constitutes a Force Majeure event. It does not. The failure to obtain planning permission in virtually all cases is entirely down to the developer as they should not start to build, market or sell any given project unless it is expressly stated the planning permissions are subject to future approvals, and that the purchasers as a consequence will have the right to terminate the contract and recover any invested amounts paid to that date should those permissions ultimately be withheld.
 
In the United Arab Emirates and in Cape Verde, we have seen extreme examples of developers claiming that certain building plots are made up of  the “wrong type of sand” for building upon and therefore, they cannot meet their contracted construction deadlines. Again, this would not constitute the Force Majeure clause being invoked or any legal justification or argument for a delay to the delivery of the unit and we have successfully challenged these arguments in the courts.
 
Force Majeure clauses are useful in allowing unforeseen events not to frustrate a contract but should not be seen as a potential get out of jail free card for foreign property developers.
 
If you have a potential problem with a property that is being built off plan abroad and hasn’t been completed on time and would like some advice about your options, you can speak to one of our overseas property 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.
Please contact us for more information on how we can help - get in touch
  Read more... Read more