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What's really happening in the real estate world in Spain? The EOS Team are going to be keeping you up to date with everything that's happening from a market perspective.

Spain's property shame
07 January 2010 @ 11:03

Imagine the scene. You’re putting the finishing touches to the Christmas tree when there’s a knock at the door and a Spanish police officer cheerfully hands you an envelope. But it isn’t a Christmas card, rather a demolition order for your beloved Spanish retirement home.

That’s what happened on December 22 to John and Muriel Burns, a retired couple living in Albox, a rural town in Almeria in south-east Spain. Two years earlier another retired couple, Len and Helen Prior, were the first British expats to witness their Spanish home demolished without warning and without having been invited to be part of the legal processes. The Spanish supreme court in Madrid has now ruled in their favour but they are yet to receive any compensation.

It’s easy to dismiss such stories with a cynical grunt and a cliché about expats just not doing their homework but in this case it’s simply not true. In the same area, another seven British families were served with similar demolition notices for properties bought in all good faith but which are now deemed by the Andalucía regional government to be illegal. How can this happen?

Let’s look at the facts. It is estimated that British expats own more than 600,000 properties in Spain, the highest number situated in Andalucía and in the Valencia region. During the Spanish property boom back in the nineties, thousands of Brits jumped at the chance to buy new dream homes in the coastal and rural areas.

Property agents would bend over themselves to offer them an all round service coordinating between developer, local lawyer and council planning official to secure the deal. Trusting expats were often unaware of the frequent horse trading and corruption that snaked its way from estate agent to the very heart of the local council. As has now been discovered in Almeria, Valencia, Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca, the majority of these British expats were duped into believing they had legitimate building licences when they clearly did not.

In the case of the hapless eight in Almeria, their illegal new builds on rural protected land had been approved by the local Albox council which had even issued the appropriate building licences. The Andalucía regional government then revoked the licences as illegal and ordered the properties to be demolished.

This is just the tip of the iceberg and it does not just affect British expats. Thousands of illegal homes have been built in the last twenty years, 15,000 for example in Chiclana, Andalucía, many of which are owned by Spanish residents.

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4 Comments


alan j said:
08 January 2010 @ 14:36

block the roads,1000 people shoulder to shoulder,and dont move, film everything and shame the b-------s,drill and puncture the tyres,dont allow the demoltion,be strong do not give in to those who are in the wrong,you can stop this obscenity if you all stand together.
an englishmans home is his castle
good luck to you all.


alan j said:
08 January 2010 @ 14:40

block the roads,1000 people shoulder to shoulder,and dont move, film everything and shame the b-------s,drill and puncture the tyres,dont allow the demoltion,you who have done no wrong be strong do not give in to those who are in the wrong,you can stop this obscenity if you all stand together.
an englishmans home is his castle
good luck to you all.
alan j


alan j said:
08 January 2010 @ 14:40

block the roads,1000 people shoulder to shoulder,and dont move, film everything and shame the b-------s,drill and puncture the tyres,dont allow the demoltion,you who have done no wrong be strong do not give in to those who are in the wrong,you can stop this obscenity if you all stand together.
an englishmans home is his castle
good luck to you all.
alan j


Lorna said:
31 January 2010 @ 23:54

I think the Spanish government should get their act together to clean their corrupt system. They are a member of EU but they don't seem to know that there's a rule and proper law. The sad thing is, they are getting away with these cruelties and no one cares to do something about it. Are the law makers turning a blind eye? And as one of the leading members of EU, why are everything in Spain slow? Don't they realise that the world had moved on?


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