What can you do in case of defects in new construction in Spain?

You have recently purchased a newly built house in Spain, but you are experiencing defects in the property. Think for example of bad plastering, cracks in the swimming pool or a broken appliance. What actions can you then take against the promoter/builder? In this article, you will find an overview of the different steps to take in case of defects in new build properties in Spain.

On completion

On completion, try to prepare a detailed site description with photos. That way, there can be no discussion about any remaining points. The promoter is obliged to resolve residual points as soon as possible, within a reasonable time.

Read more about how the delivery of a new-build home takes place if you are not present yourself.

Warranty terms for defects in new construction in Spain

In Spain, there is no provisional and final delivery, as we are used to in Belgium. However, you do have a legal guarantee. There are three warranty periods. You have a 1-year warranty for defects related to finishing, a 3-year warranty for defects that prevent the normal use of the property and a 10-year warranty for structural defects.

Here you can find more information on warranty terms.

How do I address the promoter?

If you find a defect within the warranty period, you are entitled to have it repaired by the promoter. It is advisable to obtain an amicable solution first, but keep all communication and agreements in writing.

The first step is to inform the promoter of the defects in writing, e.g. via e-mail. In addition, include photos and videos so that the problem is clear. Ask explicitly for a solution and give a reasonable time for the promoter to respond.

As long as there is cooperation from the promoter and a commitment to rectify the defects, you can keep repeating this first step.

Promoter does not respond or responds inadequately

If the promoter does not respond (sufficiently) to your request or if, however, it appears that there is a structural defect where a mere (or umpteenth) repair is insufficient, an amicable solution will not bring immediate relief.

In short: if no solution is formulated or if the proposed solution does not meet your expectations, you can start with a registered letter or a burofax. In preparation for this letter, you can already appoint an expert to prepare a report containing his view on the cause of the defect and preferred solutions. In this letter, you will also mention a response deadline.

In case when an urgent repair is needed, you can appoint a third-party contractor to avoid more damage.

Legal actions

If the promoter then still does not respond, there is nothing left but to start legal proceedings in a Spanish court. Depending on the situation, there are then a number of options you can demand. For example, consider compensation for damages, payment of the costs of carrying out repair works by a third party or repair/replacement by the promoter.

In doing so, one must consider whether the suds are worth the coals. This depends from case to case, but for a minor repair, the cost and time commitment of litigation often do not outweigh the potential compensation or repair cost.

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