Our Community Fee Service
In essence, the service is a two-staged approach to collecting outstanding undisputed community fees.
At the first stage (the Pre-Court action cycle) we seek to recover the debt without recourse to legal action.
Upon receipt of the Instruction Sheet which can be down loaded here and the accompanying papers, we will make a series of searches to either confirm the debtor’s address or try to trace them.
Assuming we believe we have a positive trace, we will open your file on our state of the art debt collection system and we will then send a formal Solicitor’s letter of claim telling the debtor he or she has 14 days to pay failing which court proceedings will be issued. This will be followed with a text or email, if we have these details or even a phone call.
There is a small administration fee (see below) for opening the file and carrying out the searches and trace on the debtor. However, this is only charged in the event that we are successful in making a recovery from the debtor. In addition to the administration fee, we also charge a percentage of the sum recovered (see below). If we make no recovery, we write off our time and the administration charge, meaning that we will also bear the cost for any disbursements incurred in conducting the trace on the debtor.
Unfortunately, we are only able to pursue debtors through the UK Courts who are actually resident in the UK.
If you are not sure of the debtor’s UK address, we can try and trace his or her whereabouts which is included in our administration fee. However, please note that to have a reasonable chance of locating the debtor we usually need a last known address and/or their date of birth.
If no response is obtained or an offer is not acceptable, we will draft the formal court Application for a European Order for Payment. We will also draft the Particulars of Claim attaching the Nota Simple and Certifica, if these have been provided.
We will ask the community for the court fee to be sent electronically in pounds sterling to our client account. The details of the court fees which the Court Service charge us can be seen here. When we issue a claim we ask the court to add statutory interest of 8% per annum to the debt, pursuant to the rules of court. This is discretionary but is normally ordered and added. As part of our service we will calculate the interest on the community’s behalf and add it to the debt.
We then have to correspond with the court to find out the progress of the claim.
If we obtain a European Order for Payment and the debtor still does not pay we will have to start enforcement proceedings. Please visit our Community Fee Enforcement page for more information.
We will charge the community a percentage of the sum recovered (see below).
As you may already know, usually an Abogado in Spain would charge between €300 and €350 to obtain the initial judgment. However, to obtain and enforce an ‘embargo’ would cost over €1.500 in legal costs, disbursements and auctioneers fees.
In many cases the owner of the property is British and therefore, the entire Spanish legal process is not very effective as the courts are sometimes unable to confirm the debtor’s address. As a recovery method this is very unsatisfactory because the Abogado will not usually be able to enforce the judgment in the same way as we can in the UK.
However, if you have obtained a Spanish judgment against a UK debtor, we may be able to assist the Community with registering and enforcing the judgment in the UK. In doing so, we are generally able to include our fee in the application to the Court and recover this from the debtor. If you have any Sentencias (or judgments) against UK debtors, we ask that you provide copies of the judgments with the Instruction Sheet.
In some instances you may prefer to instruct us on a private hourly basis. We can provide you with details of our costs, with our hourly charge out rates starting at £200 plus vat and disbursements.
We believe that if you have debtors who are resident in the UK, the community will have a better chance of making a recovery by using our services. We say this because:-
- We are based in London.
- We are specialist Solicitors
- The proceedings we use in the UK are generally much quicker than in Spain.
- We enforce in the UK which is usually easier and quicker.
How do we take things forward?
If you wish to instruct us, our Instruction Sheet needs to be fully completed and sent back to us with:-
(a) The Nota Simple;
(b) The full statement of account or the ‘Certifica’ showing the debt due (including legal costs), which should be signed by the President and Administrator.
In the event that there are several debtors, an Instruction Sheet will need to be completed for each of the debtors and will need to be signed by the President and returned to us. If you are an existing client with bulk instructions we may send you an excel spreadsheet for completion.
Please note that the above is an executive summary and our terms of service is available online. Our client care letter will be sent to you when we receive your Instruction Sheet and we ask that you read the document carefully.
Please note that if proceedings have commenced in Spain (but a judgement has not been entered) and are ongoing, we cannot always pursue the case in the UK court and that you should notify us of this at the time of instructing us. We can discuss this with you and we are usually still able to act at Stage 1.
Q. What is the difference between debt collectors and solicitors?
A. Welbeck Solicitors LLP is a firm of solicitors, authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Debt collectors are generally not legally qualified and are not entitled to commence litigation action in the courts.
Q. I am a President of a Community of Owners in Spain and I want to use your service. Do I have to pay you in advance?
A. We do raise a small administration charge to enable us to offer a more efficient service to our clients.
This charge is used to make various searches and traces on the debtor, with the aim of trying to confirm or otherwise locate the debtor’s UK address. By doing the searches at the outset we can provide a more efficient service.
The searches conducted include the following:
i. A Bankruptcy search. This is to ensure that the debtor has not already been declared bankrupt.
ii. A Companies House search, which will reveal if the debtor is a director.
iii. A Land Registry search. This will reveal if the debtor owns their home solely or jointly with anybody else.
iv. Experian tracing searches. The debtor’s address will usually be picked up by Experian.
v. Social Networking Sites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
Q. I am debtor, how can I make payment?
A. For information on how to make a payment of your debt go to our community fee debt repayment page.
Q. How do I instruct you?
A. Please click here and complete our Instruction Form which should then be sent to us by email or fax without delay.
Q. I have a query. What’s the best way of contacting you?
A. Call us on 020 7467 3999 or complete our community fee enquiry form and somebody will usually get back to you within 3 days of receiving your enquiry.
Q. I am a debtor, what happens if I ignore all the documents I have received from the Court?
A. Whether you have received our letter of claim or an order from the Court telling you that payment has to be made, we may, without further notice, take enforcement action against you without prior notice. If bankruptcy proceedings are issued, your home and other assets, even if abroad, could be at risk.