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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 116701
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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We purchased a condo under construction in Manta, Ecuador -

Customer Question

We purchased a condo under construction in Manta, Ecuador - paid in full - $279,000.00 US. We have not taken possession due to the condo not being finished/furnished to our satisfaction. VERY VERY poor communication to resolve issues. Almost non-existent. We are hearing, through the condo grapevine, that they have been charging us condo fees for the past 9 months. The condo was being furnished by a third party - the person we actually got into the deal with - we are not sure of his current affiliation with the project but he is still active in some capacity. We have heard that he paid the condo fees "on our behalf". He says he has paid 27,000 US for our furniture however there is not that amount of furniture in the pictures we received. We've also found out that the furniture has been switched out, sold, some not replaced, some replaced at a higher cost. Now there's been an earthquake. We have received a repair invoice for 5,100.00 US. All costs for the interior of our condo (we hear this is not the final costs) and 65% of the costs for common areas split between all condo owners. Our question is - what are our legal rights? And, in your expert opinion, where should we go from here?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
This is a problem with these out of the country transactions. You have little control over them and the only recourse you can have would be that you would have to sue them for breach of contract in Ecuador and that means you need an attorney in Ecuador to file suit. If they are not done and your contract specified a date by which you could move in and it would be completed, then they are in breach of contract with you and that is grounds to sue them. You will need an attorney in Ecuador and that means that you need to look on the same sites used by other attorneys to find a credible attorney there that handles real estate cases, http://www.hg.org or http://www.lexmundi.com (you need to past them in your browser as this site is having technical issues with links).
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Perhaps I wasn't clear on what I wanted legal advice on. There was not a completion date specified on the contract. I didn't say they have breached the contract. We haven't taken possession until the condo is completed / furnished to our satisfaction. We are diligently working, from our end, on resolving these issues however, communication from their end is almost non-existent. My question is, are we liable for condo fees and repair costs if we haven't taken possession?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
If "there was not a completion date specified on the contract" they still have not complied with the terms of your contract and that is still called a breach. If your contract does not say otherwise though, if there has been damage to your unit and common areas, you are still liable for the damages as you still own it even if you have yet to occupy it.
So, your legal recourse is to only challenge them under a breach of contract theory if you seek to not be liable for the payment for damages/repairs.