Law Estate Litigation. Legal claim against the seller for hiding leaks problem and moisture in the house sold.


I bought an old property (villa), and after completion damp and leaks problems appeared. Could I legally claim against the selle,r asking for him to repair or pay the cost to repair these defects?

Dear Reader,

Thank you for your enquiry.

In principle, the answer should be YES. You should be able to claim against the vendor asking to pay to solve these problems of moisture, water leaks , or compensate you for them.

But in these matters, it is important to distinguish, ( as stated on the Court Order from the Supreme Court number 1103/1997), whether the problem is just a hidden defect, or if it could be considered as a breach of the contract for delivering something different or alliud pro allio, i.e. if it is an absolute breach of the contract, the property delivered cannot be used for its purpose.

If the leaks do not imply the absolute futility of the property to be used as such, then we face what is known as a hidden defect or problem, governed by Spanish Civil Code (Cc), in articles 1484 and following.

In this case the seller is liable if the defect affects the use of the property, and if the buyer would not have purchased the property or would have paid less, if he was aware of them. The vendor will not be liable for defects if they were not hidden, and were visible or known by the buyer.

The problem, is that the legal actions for these defects or hidden problems as per the article 1490 Cc, are extinguished within six months from the delivery of the object sold.

Therefore, if you bought the property and took possesion of it less than six months ago, you have still time to claim, and must urgently send a formal notice to the seller and get ready to start legal and court action.

If you were handed over the property more than six months ago, then you will need to prove that the problems are not just a normal building problem, but the construction problems affect the house bought and make it absolutely useless for use. If this is the case, the legal term (deadline) for claiming is much higher, normally 15 years, because it could be considered that this is a breach of contract for delivering something different or alliud pro allio.

If you have any problems with you purchased or rented (leased) property, our law firm can help.

The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues.

White & Baos