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The Official Spain Uncut Blog

Spain Uncut is a new video series detailing Justin and Susan's lives in Spain for the past five years. It's the ONLY guide of its type anywhere and covers all aspects of moving to Spain and living in Spain. An absolute must for anyone aspiring to a new life in Spain.

FREE PDF Report - The Truth Behind ITV Spain Paradise Lost
26 June 2009 @ 13:08

Yesterday evening I sat down to watch both episodes of ITV's Spain: Paradise Lost programs streaming from the ITV website.

At the end of it I was left somewhat frustrated at the fact that for the cases highlighted the program failed to give any real advice to people looking to follow a similar path.  For each of the cases featured there is something to be gained from it.  ITV just didn't really go into that part of it....of course!

So what did I do?

I stayed up until 3am last night putting together a special report about the program BUT actually highlighting the lessons learnt and giving some proper advice.

It talks about what they failed to mention in the program.

I have to warn you though, I got very carried away and it's turned out to be 19 pages long!

You can download the FREE PDF report right now.  I recommend you right-click the link below and use the option to save it to your PC so then you can read it whenever you want.

RIGHT-CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FREE SPECIAL REPORT

If you know anyone whom you think would benefit from some of the advice in this report then please forward it to your friends!

Hope you get something out of it.

Justin



Like 0




33 Comments


Yolanda said:
26 June 2009 @ 11:35

Lots of truth there Justin, thanks


Marilyn Sinclair said:
26 June 2009 @ 11:47

I totally agree with your review of the ITV programme that it sort of left you in limbo whether it will reveal outcomes good or bad in further programmes we will have to wait and see.
I did not particularly like they way it portrayed Spain as a Country either, as if they were deliberately duping people, I know when it comes to Regulations it is a bit of a lucky dip in Spain that is why you must do your research
and preferably with a good Spanish lawyer, even then some of these problems would still have happened nobody saw the housing Market crash coming when most of these people bought their properties off plan, but i am sure you have some good advice for us all.




Myra said:
26 June 2009 @ 11:50

Thank you Justin. I have called a particular radio station here to get involved in discussions about the program. I have called various Uk TV channels to make a documentary about many hair curling problems but how we find the solutions and how we help buyers avoid mistakes or basically being ripped off. Misinformation is costly and dangerous. They are not interested. UK TELEVISION STATIONS, STOP MAKING MONEY OUT OF SCARING PEOPLE AND PAINTING SPAIN BLACK. I challenge you to come out and do some really interesting programs on Spain.


John Hughes said:
26 June 2009 @ 11:57

I have been fighting cases here for 3 years and have now set up this web site for people to register free of charge.
lostyourdeposit.com
I have also been able to get a warrant for the arrest of Michael Hone aka Michle Metcalf of
Royal Marbella Group, Royal Duja, Royal Cabapino, etc
If anybody has an invested with any of his Group, then we may be able to help.
John Hughes


John said:
26 June 2009 @ 12:20

Well done Justin.
It is about time that the TV ran programs about
H-A-P-P-Y in Spain.
It can become a Spanish dream.
or a Spanish horror Story.
But You yourself pick the path to follow.
With a good solicitor nobody shoyld have a problem
I purchaseed off plan 8 years ago
Happy You bet I am.
John


jeffro said:
26 June 2009 @ 12:27

sorry disagree with all comments ,you obviously didnt lose any cash during your purchase-well you wouldnt would you!!try looking through your rose coloured specs when youve lost 40k


robert robson said:
26 June 2009 @ 13:06

justin
totally agree with jeffro there are thousands of brits and other nationalities have been totally ripped off not only by agents and builders but the whole spanish legal system and bankers,i did say banker
regards rob


Val said:
26 June 2009 @ 13:24

We have a holiday home in Spain, and we love it, we bought 2 years ago off plan and did everything that Justin recommends, i.e got a good lawyer who made sure that everything was legal. We were not so lucky in Florida - 5 years ago we put a $93,000 deposit on an off plan property and were told last year that it is not going to get built and that we can whistle for our deposit - needless to say there is a huge court case going on at the moment (costing us even more money). We were told at the time that we did not need a Lawyer in Florida. These TV people need to stop knocking Spain, and take themselves over to Florida, they could probably make a series out of what goes on over there.


Dave Plummer said:
26 June 2009 @ 13:38

Hi Justin,

Your report is exellent and one I wished I had seen before buying our property in Correlejo in Fuerteventura, allbe I am happy with the deal I got and have none of the legal problems others seemed to of suffered I have a problem with the bank which is Bank Inter who have trapped me into a 6.05% mortgage, is there anyone outthere with the same issue as the rates arround the World are coming down as in the UK but we seem trapped at a high rate.
I must simpathise with those who are trapped with the legal issue's but at the same token "Due Diligence" comes to mind and they dont appear to have used any?
Lastly I am also trapped in the cant sell cant rent so it is not all roses for me either.
Thank you Justin, Keep up your exellent work.
Dave P.


JUlian said:
26 June 2009 @ 13:50

I totally agree with what you have written. I think what also needs to be said that the Gov in the U.K. like this type properganda to keep people from relocating to other countries. There have been many of these types of programs, to put people off and keep them in the U.K. at this moment in time the more tax payers they keep in the U.K the more they like it.
I have been here 5 years and had some problems but I won't be going back to the U.K.
Life is good here.


JUlian said:
26 June 2009 @ 13:51

I totally agree with what you have written. I think what also needs to be said that the Gov in the U.K. like this type properganda to keep people from relocating to other countries. There have been many of these types of programs, to put people off and keep them in the U.K. at this moment in time the more tax payers they keep in the U.K the more they like it.
I have been here 5 years and had some problems but I won't be going back to the U.K.
Life is good here.


jatkinson said:
26 June 2009 @ 14:00

we are also locked in to bankinter fixed rate any ideas how we get out without a big pay back


Terry Barnett said:
26 June 2009 @ 14:15

Very fair report of programme,once again programme makers are only interested in pursuing the negatives,because this is what the consumer wants.
I feel for these people but many have put themselves in this position due to greed or ignorance or both .Pursuing the dream does not mean leaving your brains behind!! Its just common sense really.Although some have been really unlucky.


myra said:
26 June 2009 @ 14:28

Jeffro. I and I am sure all the good lot here in Spain not only feel sorry but ubset when this sort of things happen. Honestly we are not looking through rose coloured anything. In the form of decent human beings, vers serious problems enter my office each week. What is being said by decent professionals here is that there is assistance. I am sorry if in your case its to late or is it?.


Maria said:
26 June 2009 @ 15:07

Thanks Justin! You are very brave. I have printed out the report and will hopefully be reading it this week-end ( if the kids allow me).

Best regards,

Maria


melvyn said:
26 June 2009 @ 15:10

We bought 3 years ago off plan in La Manga Ribera Beach, and have never looked back, we enjoy out times there.
After seeing how it can go wrong even when you do the sums right i'm not sure i would do it again.


Patricia said:
26 June 2009 @ 15:25

Not everyone who purchased property in Spain left their brains at the airport. We used an English speaking established Spanished solicitor. We questioned every stage of our purchase, reconfirming our concerns re legality. We had permission to
1/ Use the towns architect to check and confirm the plans
2/ Receive permissions to start the build
3/Control the flow of money to the builder at the end of each stage of build
4/Build completed to satisfaction
5/Work signed off by town architect
6/ Water and electric connected
7/ Registered the construction and the land with the main town and moved in. No problems
8/Recieved letter from solicitor to confirm that everything was now as legal as could be seeing as how building in these lands is not legal
???????????????????????????????????
9/ We are also surrounded by dozens of Spanish owned illegal builds. Some built by the same builder.
10/ At least life is not dull!!



doedoe said:
26 June 2009 @ 15:45

Hi Justin,

I enjoyed your report and agree that the real issue was missed or ignored by the ITV. I am saddened by the extent of Fraud that go's with the dishonest Agent, Lawyer/Solicitor and Local Government officials in Spain.

My feeling is that it should be made law that the Lawyer / Solicitor who takes on the legal side for any purchaser should put their house in order befor selling his so called knowledge as the LAW IN SPAIN.
We encountered several points when purchasing our super apartment on the Costa Blanca. After 18 months many problems are still unsolved but with the help of our president & administrator we hope they will soon be cleared.

1) Agents who are not able to give an honest service should be put out of business.
2) Enquire what service the Lawyer gives & ask for the details in writing.
3) A Register of Lawyers who are known to complete the correct searches & give the customer value for money.
4) Notify the purchaser of legal needs for purchasing property in Spain ie: the pitfalls of not having Habitation Certificate for the property they are purchasing. Explaining what the Habitation Certificate is & why a purchaser needs one.
5) Who or what government department to contact should a purchaser have any of the problems.
6) Explain the strength of the Bank Guarantee & why the Builders should have one.
7) Estate Agents should not join with Lawyers & Builders to cheat the purchaser.

I am sure other purchasers who have been caught out by dishonest Agents, Lawyers & Builders could give more points that would help with the a purchase of Property in SPAIN.

Spanish LAW should be improved to enable Local Government Departments to get up to date and put crooked Lawyers and their associates out of business.

COME ON you Lawyers get a register of Government approved Lawyers & solicitors. The good name of SPAIN is suffering.


John said:
26 June 2009 @ 15:47

When I purchased, I belived I was doing all the right things.
Got a lawyer involved here in UK. Conveyencing UK. They had a counterpart in Spain. Made sure thru lawyer that the deposit went into a secure holding account (Not to be used as working capital for Ocean View Proprties directors for their other private ventures)
Have been thru 4 years plus of hell dealing with all of above only to find out that not only were the owners, Directors and management of OVP fraudsters but the lawyer was too. This case is now under investigation by various levels of UK and european fraud authorities. I am however hoping that OVP think about building a prison next. They will be familiar with the inside of one soon.


Norman brown said:
26 June 2009 @ 17:13

You claim to have shown 23 Comments on your article, but the long one was "recorded" five times at Minute intervals.....it got a bit boring realising it was the same comments over and over and over again!!!!

Bigger is not better!


Summer said:
26 June 2009 @ 21:18

@Norman Brown,
sometimes that happens.
People think their comment hasn't been published so they hit the back button and press 'submit' again.
Not really a big deal.

Nice report Justin.
I totally agree with Julian too.
Anything the British Gov (via the media) can do to stop people wanting to live elsewhere, they will.

We didn't 'leave our brains at the airport' either when we bought our house here.
The only person who ripped us off was a Brit Builder (who has now probably slunk back to the UK).
All our dealings with the Spanish were excellent (and knock on wood, continue to be), once we learned how to do things their way, not the Brit way.

There are many people waiting to rip people off (even those who think they have done their homework), but it's not just to do with Spain.
The vultures are everywhere, never more so than in the UK.


Lis said:
26 June 2009 @ 23:40

We missed the programmes but reading your excellent report condensed them well! We have been through similar problems. Bought off-plan 2005 and developer closed the site October 2008 before any villas were completed. We had a bank guarantee and our wonderful Spanish solicitor got our deposit back. Have now bought a lower priced resale and look forward to many happy times in Spain.


Bruce Hobday said:
27 June 2009 @ 01:01

Hi

as someone who took part in the Cantora episode, and disappointed that the whole story was not told, i copy the email reply from the executive producer;

Dear Bruce,

Thanks for writing and for your comments. Sorry we couldn't please you entirely.

George phoned to say how happy he was with the programme and how he'd received lots of positive feedback from friends.

So at least one person was happy.
We certainly didn't intend to portray you as hapless victims. Quite the contrary it was marvellous to see you mobilising the community against demolitions and gaining assurances from the mayor that he would do something. The update was to clarify simply that he hadn't so far.

ITV's lawyers prevented us from making claims that we could not substantiate against individuals. The English Courts are a gold mine for the litigious because our libel laws are more generous than many overseas countries and they know TV has deep pockets.

Good luck with your campaign I wish you well.

Because of our ensuing court case, much of the reasoning behind our predicament was cut out, also the interview with our fraudulent and corrupt builder, We did take local legal advice on purchase, and were convinced all was legal by estate agent, builder, town hall solicitor and notary.


Peter said:
27 June 2009 @ 11:00

La Marina is not bad but it is very English.
It is so easy not to learn any Spanish.
4 : 1 no maybe 2 :1...
We like it, it is an easy introduction to Spain and the chance to move on if you love it.
Loved your comments, it is all about reality and always should have been. It was so easy to get carried away.
My mantra was always to remember the care you take in planning any big purchase in the UK and then apply it to Spain and check, check, and check again because it is a bit different.
You do need a lot or good luck in any house purchase but that should not stop you from researching and planning.
That is what we did and so far we have been so very lucky.


Angela Austin said:
27 June 2009 @ 14:29

I bought a villa at Cucador (nr Albox) Almeria 3 yrs ago, I used a local builder who came recommended, checked the area at the Town Hall, used a registered Spanish (english speaking) solicitor, got certificates, a legal contract and even used a Spanish bank for a small mortgage I was advised that banks would never lend money against a property that could possibly be illegal (obviously untrue). I have all the stamped paperwork, water and electric have been connected for 3 years.
BUT ..... now there is a problem. The certificates shouldn't have been issued by the Town Hall?
Letters are been issued to all the local houses owned by British, spanish, Dutch and other nationalities.
There are hundreds of houses in the same situation we are all stuck in the same 'catch 22' position. I think all we want to know is what is going to happen? Would they really knock down all these beautiful homes? What would be the point? Would we get compensation?
After spending thousands of pounds on my gorgeous villa to receive the devastating news that it could be illegal, after all my research; arranging a mortgage; obtaining all necessary paperwork and thoroughly checking and double checking ......
The villa is now illegal ????
On top of all this bad news and possible money lost, two solicitors gave me quotes of 500/600euros to represent me in Court Proceedings to investigate the properties at Cucador.
I have decided not to spend anymore money and just sit and wait, I think at the moment this is all we can do.
I joined Aulan (A.U.A.N) over a year ago to keep in touch with other Brits in Spain but now I am one of the unlucky ones too.
On and day to day basis my life hasn't changed, at least we are not alone and there are thousands of Brits in the same situation.
All we can do is 'sit and wait' and hope there is eventually good news.
I think Justin's report is factual and at least someone is taking the time and effort to keep everyone informed.
Thank you Justin for taking the time to communicate with fellow Brits.
We need to stick together and be prepared to save our property.
Angela Austin



Jenny said:
27 June 2009 @ 16:45

Hi Justin,

I think you have summed things up very well and your advice is sound. There have been several programmes that I know of with these sorts of horror stories and where I live in the Marina Alta region of Alicante, we have our share - after all Abusos Urbanisticos NO! (AUN) was started here in Benissa and has done magnificent work in highlighting problems and forcing the Valencian Government to change its iniquitous laws - though much still need to be done there.

The ratio of 4:1 ex-pats to Spanish is probably right - in one village in my valley it is just that, in others 60%, in mine 30%. Most live outside the village itself, though those who buy village houses are often very happy and do not have nearly so many problems as those on developments, which here are often illegal too.

I have been in Spain 21 years now and wouldn't go back to the UK, even though I am now a widow and on my own - and, yes, my house is basically illegal, being one of several built on agricultural land. Life is cheaper in Spain when one lives inland (not on the coast), with rates, water bills, heating costs and even food being less expensive - you can even still get a good, generous Menu del Dia for well under 10 euros. I do need a car to get around and there are very few services in the village, though I find the doctors surgery and postal services good (3 days to or from UK, but can be 2 weeks from Alicante or Malaga!).

What Spain needs is for the Colegios, to which Lawyers and such professionals belong, to be responsible for and castigate their members if they do not do their work properly (as in UK). Usually if you complain, you get fobbed off with ''Our member tells us that he told you of the problem and you decided to go ahead anyway.'' Total rubbish!!! Also the legal system needs to be reorganised to deal with problems faster - 3-8 years is a long time to get a result when you are retired (not to mention the cost of using a lawyer to fight a case, if you can find one willing to do so).

So, if buying a house, do a lot of checking up yourself - all the official offices are open to the public, though you may need an interpreter to help you. Ask to see the General Plan at the town hall, on which the category of all land is specified - urban, urbanisable, agricultural, waterways and their catchment areas, forest land, natural park and so on - apart from the first two, special licences are needed to build anything (if allowed) on the rest.

If you are already in a mess, join an association that is already fighting for your rights - there is great strength in numbers - and don't give up! One day Spain will wake up to the damage it has done to its image by this sort of problem.


Jenny said:
27 June 2009 @ 16:48

Hi Justin,

I think you have summed things up very well and your advice is sound. There have been several programmes that I know of with these sorts of horror stories and where I live in the Marina Alta region of Alicante, we have our share - after all Abusos Urbanisticos NO! (AUN) was started here in Benissa and has done magnificent work in highlighting problems and forcing the Valencian Government to change its iniquitous laws - though much still need to be done there.

The ratio of 4:1 ex-pats to Spanish is probably right - in one village in my valley it is just that, in others 60%, in mine 30%. Most live outside the village itself, though those who buy village houses are often very happy and do not have nearly so many problems as those on developments, which here are often illegal too.

I have been in Spain 21 years now and wouldn't go back to the UK, even though I am now a widow and on my own - and, yes, my house is basically illegal, being one of several built on agricultural land. Life is cheaper in Spain when one lives inland (not on the coast), with rates, water bills, heating costs and even food being less expensive - you can even still get a good, generous Menu del Dia for well under 10 euros. I do need a car to get around and there are very few services in the village, though I find the doctors surgery and postal services good (3 days to or from UK, but can be 2 weeks from Alicante or Malaga!).

What Spain needs is for the Colegios, to which Lawyers and such professionals belong, to be responsible for and castigate their members if they do not do their work properly (as in UK). Usually if you complain, you get fobbed off with ''Our member tells us that he told you of the problem and you decided to go ahead anyway.'' Total rubbish!!! Also the legal system needs to be reorganised to deal with problems faster - 3-8 years is a long time to get a result when you are retired (not to mention the cost of using a lawyer to fight a case, if you can find one willing to do so).

So, if buying a house, do a lot of checking up yourself - all the official offices are open to the public, though you may need an interpreter to help you. Ask to see the General Plan at the town hall, on which the category of all land is specified - urban, urbanisable, agricultural, waterways and their catchment areas, forest land, natural park and so on - apart from the first two, special licences are needed to build anything (if allowed) on the rest.

If you are already in a mess, join an association that is already fighting for your rights - there is great strength in numbers - and don't give up! One day Spain will wake up to the damage it has done to its image by this sort of problem.


David said:
27 June 2009 @ 19:57

With hindsight, I was one of those who left their brains on the plane in Malaga, but I had a lot more luck than I probably deserved. Many things about my new apartment and the community I now belong to are far less than satisfactory but hopefully the life-style will compensate.

Spain is not paradise; it's just place on planet Earth where northern Europeans are a long way from their comfort zone and there is infinitely more potential for things to go wrong.

However, I do wonder exactly how proud the Spanish monarchy and government are of the unnecessary distress they are capable of causing to honest and respectable foreign guests in their country. Do they have no interest in developing a system that can identify 'illegal' building activity? What could be more obvious than a tower crane and lorry loads of bricks arriving every waking hour for months, or even years?


Ann said:
27 June 2009 @ 20:49

I have just watched both programmes same old stuff portraying Spain as the bad wicked country.

I wouldn't have purchased a property off any of the so called estate agents, all looked shifty.

As for the woman looking for a bargain property I am sure she was playing a part and had no intention of buying.

As Lenox was translating was the mayor not talking on his mobile phone?

One piece of advice I give to people is never listen to other Brits, find out for yourself through offical channels, if someone witholds their number on the phone tell them you're not interested if they can't give their number, ask workmen for proof they are registered. All common sense.

It is about time someone did a programme about the happy Brits who live here.

I have had a property here for nearly 30yrs. yes there was teething problems even in those days and have lived here for 10yrs.

No way would I return to Britain I am very happy here and have adopted the Spanish way of life something a great deal of Brits don't do.



Caz said:
28 June 2009 @ 20:48

Well said Ann!

Justin, as I said in my personal e-mail to you, your ITV report was great, but I still don't understand, after all these long years of reports on British TV and in the papers, how people get themselves in these situations.

The only thing I can think, is that they haven't even tried to learn the language and are trusting the people they are throwing their money at!!! Many agents are honest, but many aren't, so people are still seeming to take a 50/50 gamble with their savings and their lives! Or like Ann says, just listening to the golden words of other Brits.

My little bit of advice is, please, please, if you are thinking of moving to any country that isn't English speaking as it's first language, take some time and learn the basics and get to know the locals before you buy! Maybe rent before you buy, as is covered in Justins 'Spain Uncut' video.

Caz (Asturias)




Barry Russell said:
30 June 2009 @ 03:30

First of all, congratulations on what you guys have been doing to help people moving to and living in Spain. The obvious success of your website is well deserved. However, I have to take issue with your sneer at Kristina Szeckley. She has a hugely successful, long established real estate brokerage and she and her staff are unfailingly ethical, professional and reliable in their dealings with the many people I know who have done business with her. To say these qualities are unusual in Spanish real estate is an understatement! Being 'upmarket' does not make her irrelevant, as rich people need houses too. Far from it, the way she has positioned her business makes her one of the smartest operators around and an exemplar to the run-of-the-mill agencies that have struggled so badly (or failed in the majority of cases) during the recession.
Best of luck with the DVD launch!
Barry



como tu quieres said:
01 July 2009 @ 04:19

Problems shared -problems halved. Ignorance is No excuse. Many British hopefuls have, are and still enter into buying properties with an estate agent in based in UK with colobration with tinkers,taylors solgers and those sailors, many of these became property sales man with qualifications aquired with in a day. Majority being British looting British in every walk of their life . You just have to look at "Atlas" Now they have set up "A debt collectors business under the same Umbrella and repossesing homes that they sold working with all colabarating Banks who sell the mortgage debt to the debt collector co. so the properties belong to them who then are selling these again to more gullable British Buyers. at so called bargain price but hang on the owners who could nor keep up with the mortgage payments end up with zero refunds. some 30% deposit +furniture,fixtures and much more sweat that went with it. Closed envirement may be but do your research so you can't blame this facinating country but yourselves. Life here in España is good if you live a simple life,learn Spanish, enjoy every espact of it and be calm cool but firm when necessary with say "Telefonica." I managed to get a refund for 18 months of antivirous Package charged that I "Never" asked for or agreed to by simply diplomatic and acertive "Francos" "NO" became "SI" and last week I received a sum of €77.65 in my account. "Sat" in the builders Office for 4 hours until they agreed to put flood lights and security guard in 2002 which was received gracefully by some neighbours who lived in darkness for previous 6 months :). But these are challenges of life and UK has the most currupt financia and gov.com too. I deal a lot with the hoast community and yes I do see their faults but then I also see my own shortcomings and this makes my life in España very ejoyable and peaceful. "Viva España"

Keep up the good work justine, "Bravo" "Bravo" "Bravo."


Ingoland said:
08 July 2009 @ 16:49

Jenny said:" There have been several programmes that I know of with these sorts of horror stories and where I live in the Marina Alta region of Alicante, we have our share - after all Abusos Urbanisticos NO! (AUN) was started here in Benissa and has done magnificent work in highlighting problems and forcing the Valencian Government to change its iniquitous laws..."
"I have been in Spain 21 years now and wouldn't go back to the UK, even though I am now a widow and on my own - and, yes, my house is basically illegal, being one of several built on agricultural land. Life is cheaper in Spain when one lives inland (not on the coast), with rates, water bills, heating costs ..."
"One day Spain will wake up to the damage it has done to its image by this sort of problem."

Jenny I am an Spaniard and I don´t believe that you didn´t know before you buy your home that it was illigal...I believe that you know it´s cheaper to have an "illigal way of live"...council taxes, water, electricity...be honest with us...tell us the true...and stop your complains...You really don´t know how much damage your behaviour is doing to the Brits comunity,..and you are just doing it to save your parasite "illigal way of live",...Who you thinks are paying for the services (medical, police,...) you use and don´t pay?...
Yes, IU (comunist Spanish party), some antisistem colectives and people as you, are fighting the Valencia goverment, what in a democratic country means the Valencia society...What do you thinK are you doing?...Do you thinK the Valencia people is happy with your behaviour?...Did you know that in most of the cases the cost of the services you recive are far away bigger than the taxes you pay?...Did you know that this is one of the biggest economic problems of Valencia region?...Did you know that there is plenty of room, for the regional goverment, to be more or less "generous" in giving that services?...Have you notice any change in that generousity?...Did you know that the partys you are suporting are the same that are pleading to stop and trough away any inmigration?...In few words: "Why are you as you are?"...isn´t it a shame?...


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