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n life there can be few guarantees, and while the vast majority of international property transactions proceed without a hitch, problems can arise. The sale of international

property is a largely unregulated market but in the wake of the property boom then bust, we are no longer blissfully unaware that things can and do go wrong. The good news is that many of the pitfalls

can be avoided by following the steps in this guide; doing your research, setting out a realistic budget, and following expert independent legal advice at every stage. And remember, if you appoint a qualifi ed,

independent lawyer from the word go, you’ll fi nd it comforting that if something does go wrong, they will be fully prepared to advise you.

Making a complaint to AIPP The ‘AIPP Arbitration Scheme’ – introduced in

January 2011 – aims to resolve diffi cult and lengthy complaints between agent or developer members, and forms a key part of the Dispute Resolution Procedure. Administered by leading independent dispute resolution provider, IDRS Ltd ( uk), the scheme is low-cost, straightforward, and designed specifi cally to handle disputes between AIPP members and consumers. A legally binding decision is made and compensation is awarded where necessary. This scheme can deal with matters where the

sum in dispute is £30,000 or less; those disputes involving greater sums will be referred to adhoc arbitration, which will also be quicker and more cost effective than pursuing disputes through the international courts. If your complaint involves an alleged breach of

the AIPP’s rules or Code of Conduct, it will be dealt with via the AIPP’s Internal Disciplinary Procedure,


...something goes wrong with your property purchase?

at the conclusion of civil proceedings where applicable. A Disciplinary Panel assesses whether the AIPP member has breached the AIPP rules or Code of Conduct, to which they are accountable. Where complaints are upheld a reprimand, fi ne, suspension or ultimately, expulsion from membership can be applied. Full details of AIPP’s Code of Conduct,

Dispute Resolution Procedure and Disciplinary Procedure can be found on our website, or contact for further information.


Your agent or developer: try to resolve the problem directly if you can. Some issues can be resolved through direct contact and negotiation, and all established companies should have a complaints procedure in place to address your concerns. If it’s not an issue that can be resolved informally, we recommend that you set out your complaint clearly in writing, stating what outcome you are ideally seeking. AIPP provides a recommended complaints procedure for members to follow internally. Your lawyer: you will be in touch with your lawyer at all stages of

the purchase and they will be your fi rst port of call if things seem to be going off-track. For any contractual matters it’s your lawyer who can advise you on the best course of action, and they will work with you to protect your interests. AIPP or other trade or regulatory body: if the company you are dealing with is part of a trade association or a regulatory body, there should be a complaints procedure that you can access. If you have not been able to resolve your dispute directly, or if you have a complaint about the professional conduct of the company, recourse may be available. Fellow buyers: through owners groups and online communities,

international property purchasers can sometimes get in touch with others who have a shared experience, and this can sometimes be helpful for reassurance or to share information. Maintain a healthy dose of caution about any advice from non-qualifi ed professionals.

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