1. What is speculative land trading?
In the last 25 years, fields and meadows in hundreds of places in the Netherlands have been cut into tens of thousands of small plots of 50 to 2,000 square meters. Land dealers offer this farmland, which is often located near towns and cities, as an investment.
If the fate of the land changes and it becomes buildable land instead of agricultural land, the land is worth much more. That means you can make a profit on your land. In practice, the destination of this land offered as an investment almost never changes. Buyers often pay much more than the normal price for farmland. Because fate does not change, they are often left with too expensive agricultural land that they do not lose or only lose with heavy losses.
2. Buyers are not responsible for their purchases?
Of course, a buyer signs a purchase contract himself, but many buyers have done so in the full belief that they have made a good deal. On the basis of various information communicated to them by the selling parties.
Most buyers are not professional investors. The people interviewed by the research editors of RTL Nieuws are mostly entrepreneurs with a small business without a pension or, for example, families who received an inheritance. They were told that their purchase would have a stable value or an ideal provision for old age.
3. Why is this not prohibited by law?
Trade in agricultural land is not prohibited. Logical, because a farmer must also be able to buy and sell his land. The problem with speculative trading is that people are led to believe that there is a good chance that the land will be put to another use any time soon.
Of course, deception and fraud are prohibited, but dubious sellers maneuver in cunning ways, which means that deception is not always easy to prove. For example, the brochures present all kinds of isolated facts, such as that there is a housing shortage, that a new work is already being built in the vicinity of a site, or they quote news in which a councilor talks about a construction task. in his municipality.
All of these things may be correct, but they don’t have to directly relate to the plot being offered to you. Many shoppers who spoke to RTL News say they were promised and told all sorts of things in phone conversations and at the kitchen table that were not kept. However, those calls are not recorded. And in cases that do make it to court, it’s usually not enough evidence because the other party denies it.
4. Why is the role of notaries crucial in this profession?
Without a notary, you can never sell farmland. The notary is independent, supervises the transaction and validates it. In addition, notaries have a gatekeeper function. They need to make sure buyers know what they are buying and what risks are involved.
Because the risks involved in trading land are very high, a civil law notary must be very vigilant. Especially if the buyers are not qualified investors. Then, the civil law notary must do everything possible so that the buyer and the seller reach the same level of knowledge. According to the guidelines of the Real Colegio Notarial, this is not possible without the civil notary having seen or spoken with a buyer.
5. How can I know if I have been deceived or scammed?
If you have bought a piece of land yourself or if you are offered a piece of land, it is useful to first contact the municipality where the piece of land is located. They can tell you if there are concrete plans for your lot.
If this is different from what the seller told you, check to see if the seller provided the correct information in the email, application, and contact letter. Practice shows that in oral telephone conversations and at the kitchen table, other promises are sometimes made than on paper. That makes it harder to prove fraud.
Have you already bought a plot that has gone through a notary? If you have never seen or spoken to a notary about your purchase, in most cases the notary has defaulted.
6. What can I do?
If you believe that the civil notary has not treated you well or that you have been deceived by a selling party, you can initiate disciplinary or civil proceedings, with or without the help of a specialized lawyer.