The large promoters have stopped the works of 170 promotions until, at least next April 9, due to the coronavirus crisis. Asprima, the association of developers in Madrid, calculates that in total there are 157,000 homes under construction that will suffer this stoppage in the development activity. If this stoppage is extended further, there will be delays in the delivery of the homes in construction.
Off-plan home buying and selling has become a widespread practice after the real estate crisis. One of its main attractions is discounts and payment facilities, but among the risks are delays in delivering the house to the final buyer.
This type of off-plan purchase is usually formalized through a private sales contract, once the developer receives a building license. Salvador Salcedo, partner of Atico JuridicoRemember that the main obligation that the buyer assumes is the payment of the price. Typically, during the execution of the works, a series of payments are established that must be paid on account of the price. The remaining price will be paid when the works are finished, and upon the signing of the deed of sale before a notary.
In exchange, the developer agrees to carry out the works according to the characteristics and qualities established in the contract, as well as to deliver the homes within a period. Although there may be penalties for non-compliance, the truth is that, with the current situation of health and economic crisis, the scenario changes. Why This situation could be classified as a fortuitous event or force majeure, since the covid-19 can be an unpredictable, inevitable and irresistible fact.
In this sense, article 1,105 of the Civil Code establishes very clearly that “no one will answer for those events that could not have been foreseen or that, foreseen, were inevitable”. Precept that it could be applicable to the Covid-19 pandemic that we are suffering.
Therefore, if such circumstances occur no penalty would be required for the delay to the promoter who fails to comply. Given the difficulties on the part of the buyers to pay the payments on time, many developers have decided to approve moratoriums.
“It is convenient to avoid that these situations are prosecuted. The most reasonable thing in some cases is that the parties reach agreements. Agreements in which the buyer could be granted a moratorium to meet payments. And this, in exchange for granting the seller an extension of the delivery period of the homes, ”says Salcedo.
If an extension of the housing delivery term is finally agreed, it is convenient that the promoter extends the insurance to guarantee the return of the amounts paid on account by the buyer, in accordance with the provisions of the Building Management Law.