Is there any hope for us?

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01 Mar 2013 16:48 by newbie Star rating. 32 posts Send private message

Need a sale but unable to get a Habitation Certificate.  Very briefly, our urbanisation of 32 houses was started in 2003 and completed in 2006.  We have learned that the council must have been well aware from the outset that there were going to be planning infringements in that the total land area to be developed was around 34,000m2 and size of each house to be built  was such that it would need a minimum plot size of 2,000m2 to comply with planning rules. This means that it should have been possible to build only 17 houses but the council actually  issued  licences for 34 smaller houses. the licences actually attached to visado project plans showing houses almost twice the size in some cases.  The houses were built and duly registered at the Town Hall for IBI and rates were calculated not according to the smaller houses specified in the licence application but according to the project plans i.e. the actual houses the builder had built.

The first application for the Habitation Certificate was applied for in June 2006 and the council offered various excuses for the delay in delivery like, for instance, the builder still needed to complete the urbanisation, or update this or that.  Finally in July 2008, the Act of Reception for the urbanisation was signed and the urbanisation was fully adopted by the Local Authority and the roads, street lighting and green areas have been maintained by them ever since.

More months passed without the Habitation Certificate and the next excuse in 2008 was that the builder hadn't carried out an acoustic test and therefore a test had to be done and a new cédula application made.  This test was done and everything was deemed satisfactory.  More months passed and then the council finally let it be known that they weren't able to issue any Habitation Certificates because the houses didn´t meet planning regulations in that each had too many m2 for the size of the 1000m2 plots.  

The owners engaged lawyers and architects to argue the point with the council and the council verbally conceded that they had been less than careful in checking the licence applications and  turned a blind eye to the builder´s dismeanours during construction and acknowledged that if court proceedings were issued on behalf of the owners, the owners would doubtless win the day.  Not wanting to get involved in legal action, the council assured all the owners that they would work with them to regularise the situation and were planning to amend the Plan General for the town to allow legalisation of all the houses and the issue of the Cédula.   First step, they needed to inspect all the houses and work out how they needed to change the planning rules.  The inspections were finally completed in 2010 and a year later the owners were told that the council were finalising the rule changes needed and the cédula would follow shortly.

Due to sudden health problems in late 2010, it became necessary for us to sell our house. Eventually at the end of last year, we managed to find a buyer.    We were dismayed when the buyer withdrew on the advice on his solicitor. Although the council had confirmed to the buyer's solicitor that since the houses had been built, no infraction files had been issued,  they revealed that they were never going to issue a habitation certificate.  They did confirm that that because of the circumstances surrounding the urbanisation, they had no intention of issuing any fines or sanctions but there was no way they were prepared to put this in writing.  Apparently, without saying anything to the owners,  they had decided that it was just too hard to change the rules and therefore they were going to do nothing to regularise the situation.  They didn´t see that it was a problem because all of the houses have had their own utility contracts for electricity, water, gas etc. since Day 1 and so what use was a habitation certificate?  Our architect tried to argue that the document was necessary for us to be able to sell the house and that we had been promised it would be forthcoming and the council´s answer was that if we decided to make a fuss about it, they would open an infraction file and impose a fine which could be anywhere up to 6000.00€ which we would have to pay before we could take them to court.   We had thought that the 4 year period during which fines, sanctions and possible demolition orders could be imposed ended at the expiration of 4 years from the date of the application certificate i.e. 2010 but the council have said that we are wrong and the 4 year period runs from the date of the latest cedula application or the date of the council's inspection of the property.  Therefore it will be 2014 until we are free from the possibility of any fines or sanctions and therefore, said the council,  we would be well advised to keep quiet if we don't want them to open a file.  After 2014 any buyer will have no fear that they will have any financial penalty or that the house could be pulled down but they will never have the habitation certificate which will guarantee the utility supplies for all time.   The council have underhandedly sought to extend the sanction period to stave off any legal challenge and we are effectively being blackmailed.   Despite their wrongdoing, the  council have effectively left us with what would seem to be an unsellable property.  In fact, two more prospective buyers have refused even to view the property unless the selling agent has a copy of the habitation certificate on file.

Does anyone have any answers to this 'nasty side' of Spanish town hall corruption which would at least give us a chance of selling our property honestly? 

Here's hoping!

 





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01 Mar 2013 17:47 by fireblade900-1 Star rating in Wembley/Rojales. 23 posts Send private message

hello..

Sorry to hear your problems with your property..

which part of spain is your property located at ?


 


This message was last edited by fireblade900-1 on 01/03/2013.



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01 Mar 2013 17:50 by bobaol Star rating. 2261 posts Send private message

bobaol´s avatar
There's nothing on your profile but can I ask if you come under Orihuela Costa town hall?




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01 Mar 2013 17:52 by baz1946 Star rating. 1830 posts Send private message

Newbie.

This might be a stupid answer to your problem but i guess you might be open to anything considering how bad yours i.,

We had a gypsy build a big house in our village but outside the planning area, cant remember how this happened, and the council tried everything to get the house knocked down, in the end the gypsy went to the European Court of Human Rights....or what ever they called it at the time... and won the day, it's still their now.....

What i am getting at is it possible you could do this?





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01 Mar 2013 18:54 by ads Star rating. 3025 posts Send private message

Are you aware of the following organisation, http://www.almanzora-au.org/

They might be able to advise.





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01 Mar 2013 19:01 by newbie Star rating. 32 posts Send private message

Regrettably we are not down in your parts but up in Valencia Province.

The idea of The Human Rights Court is a novel one but the main reason a good part of the owners let themselves be persuaded by the Council that legal action was unnecessary and we should trust them was the time it takes in Spain to get anything through the courts! We are no spring chickens and really doubt that we could cope with the inevitable stress involved. If legal action is the only option, then I guess we will have no alternative but to sit tight until circumstances tell us that we need to take whatever we can get for the house regardless of where it leaves us financially. It will be a very sad end to our hitherto happy and contented life in Spain.



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01 Mar 2013 19:23 by hosilverlining Star rating in Property owner in Gr.... 173 posts Send private message

Have you had any contact with the campaign against urban planning abuse for Valencia ?

They are affiliated to FAUN which is the Federation against urban planning abuse (one of their groups AUAN Almanzora post on here regularly) and it would be worth at least contacting them to see if they can help.  I understand it isn't possible to go to the European Court of Human Rights until all legal processes are exhausted, so it sounds as though you have a long way to go and need some impartial advice not just what the Town Hall decides to tell you.  Good luck.

http://www.abusos-no.org/





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02 Mar 2013 04:00 by newbie Star rating. 32 posts Send private message

Many thanks to all  for the various suggestions.  Will see what the abusos site has to offer.  I suppose it is possible that they have met this problem before. 

 

We can but live in hope.





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02 Mar 2013 11:21 by hosilverlining Star rating in Property owner in Gr.... 173 posts Send private message

I'm sure they have met this problem before, and I should have mentioned that they are campaigning against the corrupt town halls/developers and are in support of people who buy in good faith and are victims of the corruption in Spain.

Best of luck.





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02 Mar 2013 14:25 by camposol Star rating in Camposol. 1422 posts Send private message

Talking of Hbitation Certificates, hardly anyone on Camposol has one. Peole have been living here for years, mains water, electricity building works etc, and houses have been sold without problem





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02 Mar 2013 15:41 by baz1946 Star rating. 1830 posts Send private message

02 Mar 2013 14:25
 

Talking of Hbitation Certificates, hardly anyone on Camposol has one. Peole have been living here for years, mains water, electricity building works etc, and houses have been sold without problem

Talking of Hbitation Certificates, hardly anyone on Camposol has one. Peole have been living here for years, mains water, electricity building works etc, and houses have been sold without problem

 

My last house i sold never had one either, still had all the services though, back when i bought that one about 9/10 years ago you didn't need one, they were only issued about 4/5 years ago maybe less, probabaly to try and help stop the illegal building going on, idea being no Habitation Certificate no services laid on...house illegal.

When we sold i had to get one, it was simple to get.





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02 Mar 2013 16:29 by newbie Star rating. 32 posts Send private message

That´s really good news for the folk down there in Camposol.  In my case, one buyer withdrew immediately when his solicitor advised that him that enquiries made at the Town Hall had revealed that although the property had all the proper utility contracts, a Habitation Certificate would never be issued and the second prospective buyer wanted to see the Habitation Certificate before she would even view the property.   Maybe we will get lucky and find a buyer who is a bit more relaxed about paperwork than these two buyers but with the number of sales we know about in this area which have not come to anything due to the lack of a Habitation Certificate,  we are not holding out much hope of being able to move any time soon.  But thanks anyway for taking the time to comment.





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02 Mar 2013 17:40 by baz1946 Star rating. 1830 posts Send private message

Forgot to mention.

But i think it's also a little bit of a con as well, when we got ours it was done in our name, a week late when the new owners took over they had to get another one done in their names, so in effect money was paid twice for the same piece of paper on the one house.





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03 Mar 2013 11:04 by acer Star rating. 1042 posts Send private message

Hello Newbie,

Really sorry to hear of the situation you've got. 

When I read through the thread I was surprised that so little comment was made on the EU & UK Authorities.  I believe they are getting off far too lightly.  These people are paid to protect us and ensure that in the EU these gross injustices are not allowed to occur. 

In my mind what you have outlined is pure and simple corruption and it is a crying shame that so few are motivated to do something about it.  The UK government and the British Embassy have been similarly weak in these cases.  If you write to the British Embassy you just receive a waffly template letter that says nothing of value.

But thankfully there are a few who are making their voices heard.  I've never been too interested in UK politics but currently I would go out of my way to vote for UKIP or the Lib Dems as I believe these are the only people who have tried to help and do the job they are paid to do.  Individuals from these parties have spoken up at the EU and tried to assist.   To me, it is seems quite extraordinary that the EU introduce Human Rights rules and laws which are being misinterpreted and abused, but does not seem valid for cases like this which surely was the very reason that the legislation was enacted.

I think it would be great if EOS contributors were more active in providing real support - "there but for fortune"...

 





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03 Mar 2013 13:48 by camposol Star rating in Camposol. 1422 posts Send private message

Unfortunately, it is NOT easy to get a certificate of Habitation! If it was, we would all have one!





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03 Mar 2013 14:53 by bobaol Star rating. 2261 posts Send private message

bobaol´s avatar
Up until 10 years ago, habitation certs were no big thing but suddenly became THE thing to have. I did ask the OP if he came under Orihuela Costa. They have a big problem with these certificates. The council is so busy forming coalitions, sacking people, a history of infighting and so on that they haven't got around to the important things. I do think the buyers solicitors were over reacting. We sold in that area a couple of years ago with no habitation certificate after 10 years. Both solicitors (and me) were happy with simply retaining 200 euro to cover this cost in the future. Providing there were existing contracts with the electric and water companies there was no problem. If, however, the property is still on builders supply for these utulities then that is where the problems increase. AFAIK, there are several thousand properties that come under Orihuela Costa that don't have these certificates yet loads are being sold and bought on a regular basis.




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03 Mar 2013 20:28 by baz1946 Star rating. 1830 posts Send private message

Unfortunately, it is NOT easy to get a certificate of Habitation! If it was, we would all have one!

Maybe that's true if your house was built illegally in the first place and yet still had all the utilities connected, because a few years back that's how it was.

Their is a vast difference in obtaining a Certificate on a known legal house,  and it's not easy getting one, on a suspect built house, i didn't have to do a thing to obtain mine, the agent who sold my house did everything for me, all i do know is she got an Architect to visit the house to make sure their were no "Extras" built on that shouldn't have been, and that was it, what this cost i have no idea, it had to be done.

And why would you all have one? if you have no intention of selling you don't really need one, and for the most part many don't even know about them until the time comes to sell. My solicitor who i payed a yearly fee to never mentioned it until i asked "Where is it?"





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04 Mar 2013 19:31 by gaula Star rating in marbella and the u.k. 64 posts Send private message

 Its so sad to read people who have adopted the head in the sand attitude to the required documents. The first occupation license is mandatory if you wish to sell you house it is not and has never been an optional extra. 

I belive Spain has changed and the problems we are all having will never be allowed to happen again but we must correct the past and all make effort to obtain what is rightly ours . 

 

I cannot belive people would be so shortsighted to  pass the problem on to another unsuspecting purchaser - shame on you after all you have been through !!

 

 





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04 Mar 2013 19:41 by newbie Star rating. 32 posts Send private message

I do hope that your reply was intended as a general response and not a personal attack on me as the originator of the thread. My last paragraph should have made it clear that I was seeking a solution which would enable me to sell on in an honest way and thus with a clear conscience and thus a happy ending for all concerned.



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04 Mar 2013 19:55 by gaula Star rating in marbella and the u.k. 64 posts Send private message

 To be honest it wasnt an attack at you on a personal level just at some of the contributors who seem to think that they are exempt from correct documentation .

If we had correct documentation we wouldnt be in the mess we got in and I hate it when people are so smug and say it doesnt matter or you dont need these things  becuase its patentley not true and other people may belive it  and become victims like I did .

 

The truth is clear  the first occupation license is necessary to enable you to sell your house and anyone who says it isnt is totally incorrect no decent lawyer would allow a sale to go through without it .

 

The time of the cowboy is over in Spain thank god 





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