If you are reading this, you are probably one of the many English people who think that they've lost their life savings in off-plan properties, offered by "Bulgarian Dreams" in the UK. I guess it will be interesting for you to know some facts and tips about the "Bulgarian Dreams" saga in Bulgaria. I've acquired all that information during the preparation of several claims against Bulgarian developers.
Here are some legal remarks on Bulgarian Dreams' commercial strategy:
FIRST, you've got the "Bulgarian Dreams" office in the UK - a middle-man (a property agent) who sells off-plan properties in Bulgaria, mostly to English people. All payments (property installments) are being made through that middle-man. That is probably due to specific tax issues. Please pay attention to the fact that the actual name of the company is "Berkely Square Trading Ltd." and Bulgarian Dreams is just a "trading as" name.
If it ever happens that you have to pay property installments to Bulgarian Dreams, always keep your bank transfer excerpts. You may need them later. Make sure you've got them stamped by the bank too. I strongly recommend that you DON'T use cheques or cash. However if you do so, make sure you get a proper receipt (original signature by the manager of BD).
SECOND, always remember that you have in fact signed an agreement with a Bulgarian developer company and NOT with Bulgarian Dreams. This means that if you have to sue somebody, it will be the Bulgarian developer and NOT Bulgarian Dreams.
THIRD, always consult a lawyer. Don't sign any annexes or additional agreements with BD or the Bulgarian developer. Usually Bulgarian Dreams and the Bulgarian developer put a clause in the annex which guards their position of a defaulting party - they mislead you to sign a clause on which ground you agree not to have any future claims based on their construction delay. Read your annex or additional agreement EXTREMELY CAREFULLY.
FOURTH, Bulgarian Dreams works with many Bulgarian developers (about 4-5 companies) building in Kavarna, Bansko, Pamporovo, Sofia. Some of the delayed developments are "Windows to Paradise", "the Orchard", "Cedar Heights", "Cedar Lodge" etc.
FIFTH, the preliminary purchase agreements are just "preliminary", which means that you don't have any actual rights over the property descried in the agreement. The only right you have is to claim your money back and to claim reimbursement (compensation, interest, penalty).
SIXTH, remember that the developer might have possibly misled you. I mean that most of my clients think that "apartment completion" means all furniture installed. This is TOTALLY WRONG UNDERSTANDING. If you read carefully your preliminary agreement, you will see that the furniture has to be provided by a different company (usually registered in the UK). Te ONLY obligation the developer has is TO BUILD YOUR APARTMENT.
SEVENTH, another misleading issue is the stage at which ownership has to be transferred to you. Bulgarian Dreams' sample preliminary agreements usually state that you are obliged to accept ownership transfer at the stage of Act 15. I bet that 99% of you have not paid attention to that issue. You should consult a lawyer before signing under such a clause. I've got a great explanatory post about what exactly each number of the "construction Acts" means. You should know that you cannot live or reside in you apartment before the building has obtained Act 16 (habitation certificate / completion certificate). Once you've got the property transferred at stage Act 15, the developer has no reason to hurry and obtain Act 16 for you. That's why you may have troubles, getting a lawful status of your apartment.
EIGHT, most buyers are now growing suspicious because no adequate feedback is provided to them. The developers are hiding like rats. They refuse to talk, to provide construction documents (although they are obliged to do it), they cannot be found at their registered company address. It's a fact and nobody can dispute it! Lots of buyers are afraid that they might lose their life savings invested in the above said developments.
NINTH, think of filing a lawsuit as soon as possible. You never know how much money is left in the developer's bank accounts. Moreover, if you hire an experienced lawyer, who is aware of BD's scheme in details, you may be lucky to get all of your money back.
and TENTH don't let yourself be fooled about the judicial system of Bulgaria. Judges in Bulgaria don't defend fraudulent companies, that's for sure!
So what's the best way to go? You have two options:
- You just wait and see how your money disappears into a suspicious Bulgarian construction developer and you do nothing about it.
- You sue the developer and have the chance to get your money back.