DISCRIMINATION AND INJUSTICE IN ESTEPONA TOWN HALL

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15 Sep 2015 11:46 by marjatta Star rating. 2 posts Send private message

Hi, my name is Terttu ..I am 70 years old grandmother born in Finland but lived in England most of my life and now have  become a victim of spanish property law .

2005 built a small elevation in Estepona together with my imediate spanish neighbourg like so many others have done in the urbanization ..

I paid architect to apply for town hall licencia and solicitor to do contract with the builder..all went well until 3 years later I had court order from town hall to demolish my elevation and pay 24.300 fine as the licence was never applied ?

However my neighbourgs been left alone , no demolish order no fine ? He never apply for building licence or had an architect ?

I have launch a petition for justice and equel rights to Mayor of Estepona  to look into this discrimination as the law should be same to all , no matter of race , colour or nationality ..

my house is demolished now and my fine is due to be paid 20th September ..

please look at my petition and sign and share if you believe in justice

change dot org/p/jose-maria-garcia-urbano-discrimination-and -injustice-in-estepona -town-hall

Many thanks with love

Terttu





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15 Sep 2015 13:11 by divamusic Star rating. 21 posts Send private message

Please read about Terttu's plight in the Olive Press and sign her petition:

www dot theolivepress dot es/spain-news/2015/09/03/exclusive-expat-grandmother-faces-homelessness-after-seven-year-legal-battle-with-estepona-town-hall/

I hope you get some kind of justice. This kind of thing should not be allowed in a 21st Century EU member country. This debacle is more akin to a thirld world tinpot banana republic. Shame on the Spanish!





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15 Sep 2015 17:57 by ads Star rating. 4012 posts Send private message

Have you saught a second independent legal opinion to advise if this was negligence or lack of due diligence on the part of the lawyer and architect who acted on your behalf?





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15 Sep 2015 19:04 by divamusic Star rating. 21 posts Send private message

Below is the actual reprint from The Olive Press.

I am a 70-year-old Finish grandmother who has been knocked from pillar to post by Spain's ludicrous bureaucracy .
Like many unwitting expats before me, I fell foul of irregularities in Spanish property law and have been left homeless, penniless and with heart problems as a result of the constant stress.
Misinformed and lied to by a string a lawyers and barristers I built a small 30m2 loft extension to my property in Estepona's Seghers community in 2005.
Not being native to Spain I trusted the experts to sort out all  necessary planning permissions and licences. As far as I was concerned I had done everything above board and built in good faith.
Three years later my Spanish dream came crashing down as I was ordered to demolish my extension and pay a €23,400 fine to the town hall.
Now, at this point, I must mention that my Spanish next-door neighbour built an identical extension to mine with the same builders with absolutely no planning permissions... and yet, to this day, he has been allowed to live a carefree life.Furthermore, there are dozens of identical extensions in the urbanization… is this discrimination? Bullying? Or even racism?
Fastforward ten years, countless lawyers and a never-ending battle with my community and the town hall and my extension has been ripped down, leaving me homeless and heartbroken.
The town hall has now issued me a licence to rebuild a smaller extension (15m2) but for unknown and inexplicable reasons, my community are protesting the decision and my home has been left as a construction site.
What was supposed to be an eight week job has dragged on for five months as the community's high-and-mighty voice booms louder than the town hall's ruling.
To add insult to injury, Estepona town hall are still making me pay the €23,400. I am 70 years old, on a small pension. All my money has been lost to lawyers and court fees. And I am running out of time, with the town hall demanding the money by September 20.
The rebuild itself is costing me €35,000. If you add that to the fine then it comes to €58,400 to tear down an extension and then rebuild it. 
The property is only valued at €52,000-€73,000. Ludicrous.

My aim is to collect as many signatories as possible to present my petition to the Mayor of Estepona to beg him to annul or reduce my unjustified, huge fine €23,400.

I am desperate for all the help I can get to gather funds together to pay my fine, to save my home and restart my life.





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15 Sep 2015 19:15 by divamusic Star rating. 21 posts Send private message

I am posting on behalf of Terttu because she has been forced to live with friends in the campo and has no internet access to make her own posts.

I have know Terttu for many years and this problem has been ongoing for many years now. She has tried everything possible to annul this ruling but has failed and the architect has got away scot free with no professional liability - I think it is because she is a vulnerable expatriate lady. If she was Spanish or corrupt or had friends in high places, this would NOT be happening.

How can an EU member send the bulldozers in and destroy a pensioners house - HOW?

This is not Syria but it might as well be. The Spanish have no respect for decency and always bite the hand that feeds them. Spain should be ejected from the EU as they are behaving like they are still under Franco's rule.

Disgraceful!





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15 Sep 2015 22:28 by torgerson Star rating. 3 posts Send private message

I have already signed the petition but this is on behalf of 2 people who do not have computers but have read The Olive Press and are familiar with this mis-carriage of justice.  It really does not surprise any of us !   Any country that can put able bodied athletes into the Paralympics (Sydney 2000) can do anything.

Terttu Balson did everything by the book and look where it got her.  Even her lawyers took her money and did nothing.

It makes us ashamed to live here - hopefully for not much longer.  I just hope that Terttu has the energy to get a satisfactory outcome because she is totally exhausted.





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16 Sep 2015 00:29 by ads Star rating. 4012 posts Send private message

Did the lawyer seek approval from the community for this extension and is this a legal prerequisite? If so, would failure to do so constitute negligence given the subsequent actions taken by the Town Hall?

 Likewise did the lawyer ensure on behalf of their client that all laws and regulations appertaining to building extensions of this nature were adhered to and did they ensure that the land registry was subsequently updated to reflect the extension to the property ( if required)?

What exactly are the responsibilities of any lawyer instructed to act on a client's behalf with regard to extensions of this nature? Would any of these factors act as sufficient grounds to request review by the Town Hall with regard to their ongoing actions?

 


This message was last edited by ads on 16/09/2015.



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16 Sep 2015 09:08 by acer Star rating. 1365 posts Send private message

Not sure the link is quite right - the correct one to sign the petition is https://www.change.org/p/jose-maria-garcia-urbano-discrimination-and-injustice-in-estepona-town-hall

The problem with these cases seems to be that the EU and most politicians just don't want to know.  I tried for assistance on a similar situation from the British embassy but just received a word processed reply that waffled on and effectively said "you're on your own chum".  Presumably the Finnish diplomats are the same?

It's a great pity that you can never get these Spanish bureacrats to explain themselves in public.  They seem to be immune from any meaningful authority that can question their practices, so they'll continue.   Perhaps there's something to be said for the British press after all.  But I'm unsure the Spanish people actually want to know, they just seem to accept it.

With the EU vote in the UK coming up there may be an opportunity to ask the policitians what they intend to do about this kind of situation in Spain?  But I suppose change will only happen when the Spanish people really want it.





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16 Sep 2015 10:55 by divamusic Star rating. 21 posts Send private message

http://www.theolivepress.es/spain-news/2015/09/03/exclusive-expat-grandmother-faces-homelessness-after-seven-year-legal-battle-with-estepona-town-hall/

Apologies - that is the Olive Press story.





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16 Sep 2015 11:04 by divamusic Star rating. 21 posts Send private message

Acer - Thank you for the correct link.

Ads, As far as I am aware, Terttu has done every thing she had to by the book and she has the reams of paperwork to prove it. She has tried for several years to sort this out but all the so-called 'professionals' who gave her advice obviously know how to play the Spanish legal system (!) and have not been held to account.

As stated in the Olive Press article, she had employed the services of these 'professionals' in good faith and they are now all denying responsibility.





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16 Sep 2015 11:08 by divamusic Star rating. 21 posts Send private message

Terttu Balson among the rubble which was her home

Terttu Balson among the rubble which was her home


This message was last edited by divamusic on 16/09/2015.



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16 Sep 2015 11:11 by divamusic Star rating. 21 posts Send private message

Please support Terttu by signing the petition on change.org to try and get the Mayor of Estepona to withdraw this unjust fine - there are only 4 days left.





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16 Sep 2015 11:15 by ads Star rating. 4012 posts Send private message

Acer, isn't this an effective flaw in the system when an innocent owner can only take legal action against the lawyer acting on their behalf (via a legal indemnity claim) as a last resort mechanism when it is too late, rather than use this evidence to prohibit fines being placed against the innocent owner in the interim period? Does acting in good faith not come into this legal equation?

 


This message was last edited by ads on 16/09/2015.



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16 Sep 2015 11:20 by GuyT Star rating. 487 posts Send private message

@divamusic. How can an EU member send the bulldozers in and destroy a pensioners house - HOW?

Well, divamusic, they'd send in bulldozers pretty sharpish in the UK if you built an extra storey on your house without planning permission. 

Surely Terttu has a copy of her original planning approval? That's the sort of thing you'd obviously hang on to and pin to your deeds (in any country) as any purchaser would want proof the build was legal. You can't just wash your hands of responsibility by saying you're 70, a pensioner, a granny and that you left it all to someone else. Unless, of course, you have proof. It sounds as though Terttu has a strained relationship with her neighbours and the ayunamiento. It's a shame it's come to that. Sorry to be unhelpful, but I can't see her getting anywhere with this. I give this round to Johnny Foreigner on points. 

 





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16 Sep 2015 12:18 by ads Star rating. 4012 posts Send private message

Guyt,

And where does legal responsibility to ensure all legal requirements have been met when you instruct a legal representative to act on your behalf come into this? Is the inference that the owner is on their own in this regard and that due diligence to ensure that no planning "irregularities" that could subsequently compromise the owner existed does not form part of a lawyer's legal responsibilities?

In this case is the problem that the junta have issued a directive to limit the size of allowable extension in the region (since the Town Hall appears happy to endorse a smaller extension), which has been overlooked by the lawyer and architect, or is this just a local planning issue which should also have been identified from the outset? Or is this directive a retrospective directive, in which case where again does legal responsibility lay? All too many questions I'm afraid.

 

 





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16 Sep 2015 13:08 by divamusic Star rating. 21 posts Send private message

Guyt - I would love to hear if there are any stories about elderly Spaniards homes being demolished due to planning irregularities.

Several years ago, thousands if illegal builds in Marbella got 'normalised' - cronyism and wealth rule! Only in Spain!

Read the following comments and you will see the mitigating points for anyone, never mind a 70 year old pensioner.

"Not being native to Spain I trusted the experts to sort out all  necessary planning permissions and licences. As far as I was concerned I had done everything above board and built in good faith."


"Now, at this point, I must mention that my Spanish next-door neighbour built an identical extension to mine with the same builders with absolutely no planning permissions... and yet, to this day, he has been allowed to live a carefree life.Furthermore, there are dozens of identical extensions in the urbanization… is this discrimination? Bullying? Or even racism?"





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16 Sep 2015 13:43 by GuyT Star rating. 487 posts Send private message

@ads. Your points are all well taken; we don't have enough info. There's a lot of hearsay: we don't have any idea what protocols the neighbours followed. At one end of the scale Terttu might have just asked a lawyer if he thought there would be problems in building a small extension and he might have said that he didn't think so. At the other end, the lawyer might have submitted a detailed  planning application (unusual to employ a lawyer?) and the town hall sent him and the applicant unequivocal approval. The truth is probably somewhere in between.

It's all unsatisfactory. Coincidentally, I am stuck in the UK doing some spec building, and am up to my eyeballs with planning permission. But am able to follow my progress online. For any Spanish lawyers/architects who might be interested in the way they do things in UK, have a squiz at this: Would that Terttu had it so easy.

http://vogonline.planning-register.co.uk/plaDetails.aspx?ListMode=SEARCH

 

 





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16 Sep 2015 15:43 by acer Star rating. 1365 posts Send private message

Ads, from your previous posts I know we have similar views, but I'm unsure that "acting in good faith" necessarily provides protection anywhere.  In some situations strict liability can apply where there is no defence. 

But GuyT is right we only know one half of the story, as the town hall are declining to provide their reasons.  To my way of thinking this is the most nauseating aspect, where you have bureaucrats tucked away passing judgments that can ruin peoples lives but without being subject to any scrutiny. 

And it seems that Spain is arguably the worst place for this to happen with such a weak legal system and an absence of consumer protection.  

To be able to bring a successful Professional Indemnity claim against your advisors you must prove a negligent act, error or omission has occurred.  But how can you do so without the reasons for the actions of the Town Hall ever being published? 

In effect it's a vicious circle as the advisors have the defence of being able to claim that they gave good advice that any other solicitor/architect etc would have done, but they are not responsible for the vagaries of the Town Hall.





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16 Sep 2015 17:30 by divamusic Star rating. 21 posts Send private message

Acer Well said - That's so true. That is exactly what Terttu has gone through.





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16 Sep 2015 17:33 by divamusic Star rating. 21 posts Send private message

Meanwhile, Terttu has got 455 signatories and needs only 45 more. Please help her get to these last few so that she can present her petition to Estepona Town Hall.

https://www.change.org/p/jose-maria-garcia-urbano-discrimination-and-injustice-in-estepona-town-hall





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