Thursday 20 May 2021

More about money claims

My last post about buying flats ended with my planned meeting at the Colegio de Abogados. That was on 5th May and, having provided the missing document, there was a long pause as the woman read through her sheaf of documents. "What is your income?" she asked. Well, she knew that from day one because it was one of the first things I had to provide. She looked at the figure, she seemed confused. She wrote a euro sign after the amount to add to my euro sign before the amount as if to make it clearer.

"This is too much, it is over our limit for free assistance."

Well, the upshot of this was that she gave me another form to add to the one that I had received earlier confirming the acceptance of the offer. This new form said that my claim had been "provisionally" rejected!

"So I have wasted my time?" I said (but very politely because previously I had pulled her leg about being impatient with me. So I had decided to be on my best behaviour.)

"Well, no, in 2 months time the application will be reviewed, the rejection is only provisional."

So I was back to square one. I contacted a new lawyer to ask his advice. Alfonso. He looked through all my documents, and generously said that my claim was "viable". But he did not fill me with optimism.

Then there was a new unwelcome development. Out of the blue, about a week ago, I received a phone call from the lawyer of the estate agent. You may remember from my previous post that, according to the contract of the option to buy (the first apartment), there was a sum of €2,500 to be paid to the estate agent by the person (Pablo or me) who had defaulted on the contract. I had hoped that there was a third way (in the tradition of Tony Blair) in which neither of us was at default, the contract could be annulled. Having heard nothing for 5 months, I assumed that the estate agent and Pablo had come to some kind of agreement, after all, they did business together.

The lawyer saw things in black and white, he saw no third way. I will call him Sergio. He was very amicable and clearly thought that I had not defaulted on the contract. He wanted to speak to my lawyer.

"Give me his name and phone number, and I will call him." Haha.. no way. I said that I would give Alfonso his number and maybe he will reply.

Alfonso had no interest in talking to Sergio, he simply wanted to carry on with my claim. So I spoke to Sergio instead. And it soon became clear what his motive was. He could not decide whether to sue me or Pablo for the €2,500. So he wanted to hitch a ride on my claim against Pablo. If I won, he would claim the €2,500 from Pablo and vice-versa. I refused that immediately. He said that Pablo was not returning his calls. I suggested he went to Pablo's office in Arrecife. It was only then that I discovered that he was in Tenerife.

So his response was that he would take both me and Pablo to court and whoever lost would have to pay the €2,500. But courts don't work like that. It is not a beauty contest, "Who is the fairer of the two? Pablo or Steve"!

So that is how things are at the moment. Instead of Sergio hitching a ride on my case, which to me was unacceptable, I will see what is the outcome of his futile attempt to take two people to court at the same time for the same claim. Maybe the Colegio de Abogados will change their mind (actually I think it is the Cabildo, the government of Lanzarote, that makes the decision). I am not worried. I told Sergio that I had a huge folder of documents (un montón de documentos) which clearly shows that I was justified in withdrawing from the contract, even if he does manage to take me to court.

I am going back to Catalunya on Tuesday - I am looking forward to that! Much as I love Arrecife, there are things that I miss in Celrà. My balcony, my bike, my friends. And maybe soon we won't have to wear masks in the open air. I have enough trouble remembering faces under normal conditions, to remember eyes is quite a challenge for me. Partly for that reason, I have only the two girls who work at the pension as friends here. Maybe I will come back here during the summer for a few days, I don't know but I will definitely come back in October to stay for the winter. The flights are very cheap because I get a huge discount for being a resident of the islands (Well they are cheap anyway these days. My ticket is €30 but that includes choice of seat and checked baggage. 10.30am flight to BCN with Vueling, perfect. Walk up to the bus station, 15 mins, bus at 8am.) I guess that, if a flight is €30 for all people, I get a very small discount if any, I don't get 70% off €30.

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