Can they keep his money?

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Can they keep his money? Photo Credit: Shutterstock

QUESTION: 
I sold my villa through a firm of solicitors. When signing at the notary I was informed by them that the buyer’s solicitor would retain four years’ worth of unpaid council tax, amounting to €1,600. I had not paid any council tax because the house was illegal and not registered on the “cadastro”. My solicitor now tells me that the buyer’s solicitor has given my money to the buyer. There is no way that this can be legal. Can you advise? I would like to name and shame the solicitors in question for this malpractice.

J.G. (Costa del Sol)

ANSWER: If the house needs to be made legal or semi-legal and correctly registered at the Property Registry, it is quite possible that the Town Hall will want to collect the unpaid property tax up to the legal limit of four years. If the seller, you, agrees to make a provision of funds against this liability, it is perfectly legal even though it seems unfair. Your lawyers are guilty of poor practice for not informing you of this in advance but it is not malpractice.

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