No home, no compensation

LAST UPDATED: 31 Mar, 2009 @ 07:56
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No home, no compensation

Almeria protestProtest marks first anniversary of Almeria home demolition

HUNDREDS of demonstrators mobbed the offices of Almería’s town planning chief in a protest against planned demolitions. The largely expatriate group demanded an end to the “persecution” of home owners who have discovered their property is illegal.

Coinciding with the first anniversary of the demolition of British couple, the Priors home in Vera (see Olive Press issue 49), an estimated 500 marchers paraded through central Almeria.

Many of the demonstrators blame planning boss Luis Caparros for the threat of demolition.

Luis Caparros
Luis Caparros

Known as the ‘Demolition Man’ and ‘Mr Bulldozer,’ he is charged with enforcing regional building laws throughout Almería.

“We are here to force him to take notice, to give us an explanation as to why this has happened to us when we did nothing wrong and to ask him to make things right,” demanded Helen Prior, 64.

She held a placard emblazoned with the words ‘No Home and No Compensation.’

Eventually Caparros arrived to jeers and invited the Priors and three other resident group representatives to discuss the matter in his office.

He acknowledged their concerns and said that although he felt “enormous sympathy” for the Priors he was powerless to help them.

“Of course I feel sorry for them,” he told the Olive Press. “I have enormous sympathy for a family who built in good faith with permission from their town hall,” he said.

“But the Junta acted correctly within the law and compensation must be sought from the mayor who issued the licence.”

There are thought to be as many as 5,000 illegal homes throughout the province, many of which are owned by foreigners.

The majority of these properties were wrongly built with permission from local town halls.

18 COMMENTS

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  1. You really are misinformed. This information is frequently out of date and incorrect. Many, many people checked the catastro (including lawyers) and came unstuck with problems.

    Read the other threads on here and, please, get educated.

  2. Blom, you obviously have no idea what you are talking about. Have you actually bought or sold property in Spain? If you have you should know by now that the Catastro means nothing legally, and simply describes the property.

    A property’s record at the Registro de Propiedad is the only thing with any legal standing, and you should also be aware, assuming you have actually bought or sold property in Spain, that the Registro details are often decades out of date, and for what it’s worth often don’t match those on the Catastro anyway…

  3. Blom, please listen. The catastro is frequently WRONG. One cannot rely upon it. The certificate of the catastro means nada legally. Education is important, but having a proper land registry – LIKE IN NORTHERN EUROPE – has to be in place first.

    What is the point educating people when the sources of information are incorrect.

    Are you beginning to understand now Blom?
    Spains systems for land registry and other information are seen as a joke in europe!

    Spain needs to get its act together and needs the EU to start, if necessary, taking legal action against it asap.

  4. First, The catastro is as accurate as the information they are given. If a peice of land is rural it will remain rural until the deeds are changed.

    The next step to investigate a peice of land is to ask for a “Cedula Urbanistica” from the town hall. This will give the correct planning status and is a legally binding statement from the authority.

    Sadly many people take the advice from unscrupulous lawyers and estate agents who will tell them to build first and legalise later. This used to work, but no more. The law is clear, simple and is now being enforced. Only an idiot spends 300.000 € or more on improving an unregistered property.

  5. Pedro, I assume when you say “the deeds” you mean the details held by the Registro? I can tell you from personal experience that changes to the Registro rarely feed through the Catastro – and if they do it can be years later.

    Sadly, for Spain and Andalucia, some people do take the advice from scrupulous lawyers, and build something legal in every respect on their land – only to find out years later that the Junta has had a change of mind. I think you know who I’m talking about.

    In Spain, property rights don’t count for much – even when you have done very thorough due diligence, ticked every box, checked every paper you are still not safe.

  6. I see the idiot is still peddling his lies.

    It’s very simple – give the corrupt Spanish authorities an ultimatum – re-imburse all the foeigners, full compensation plus the same amount again for all the stress or kick them out of the EEC – of course they must be made to give back all the vast subsidies they have received from northern Europe first with compound %.

    I really do think, talking on an almost daily basis with Dutch and Germans that northern Europe and Scandinavia should jettison southern Europe altogether.

    We don’t need their stupidity/corruption and laziness and inability to leave their medieval mentality in the dustbin of history.

    Thank goodness we are leaving for France very soon – in France, legality has a long term meaning.

    I have to say here that there are a few % of Spanish who are decent, honest people, my comments are’nt directed at them, in fact I know of one young man with a gift for languages who is leaving for Liverpool/Manchester he loves it there and he has no intention of returning any time soon.

  7. “This will give the correct planning status and is a legally binding statement from the authority”

    Legally binding haha. Err, the local authorities have all been giving out wrong information, as have the Junta, and then Madrid steps in and overrides the authorities anyway. Blom, wake up.

    Stuart, you are lucky moving to France and definitely our choice next as soon as we can sell – it’s a proper country in a what is really a completley different Universe to Spain.

  8. Justin, If you take a set of deeds, an to the registro it takes aproximately 3 weeks for the information to be processed. If you take the registro and plans to the catastro Main office in the provincial capital the details will be on the computer in 8 weeks. I do this all the time. The problem is that most people dont do this and expect it to happen spontaniously. On mor probably they are commiting tax fraud.

    Mark. a cedula urbanistica is a legal document that will stand up in court. To issue a false one is a criminal offence and more than one local planner is doing time for faking them.

  9. A very brave move on the part of Snr Luis Caparros. Where else in Europe would anyone in authority stand before a crowd baying for their blood? To me that signifies that he is doing the best he can at the job imposed on him by others. To uphold the letter of the law when you know that it probably requires modifying can’t be an easy task.

    The Spanish are lovely, trustworthy people who suffer a few greedy and unscrupulous wheeler-dealers, as does any Country and, as usual, many get caned for the actions of a few.

    Spain thrives on paper and colourful stamps. When it all comes together it actually works. The trouble is that there is so much of it that the intricacies are a mystery to most immigrants. This is no doubt reflected in all Countries.

    I guess that we are all gullible at times and sadly the worst time must be when burning all your bridges in a move to a foreign land and trusting in what appears to be a local helping hand.

    We can only wish the Priors and anyone else that finds themselves in the same position, good fortune with their legal actions.

    The problem with any large wheel, like Europe, is that it takes it an awful long time to turn through one revolution and change anything.

    No doubt we all await the satisfactory outcome of this one. Sadly, Spain will be the long term looser if it is not resolve.

  10. Just a word for Blom: Somtimes it’s not at all that easy to find out whether a house is legal or not. In 2005 we bought from the local architect/builder/landowner a new house, built to replace a ruin. As he was the local architect, who gave planningpermissions etc with the mayor’s signature to prospective builders, we trusted him explicitely. All searches were done by a lawyer(and by another one to be on the safe side)All came back ok. The notary accepted it all and the house was legally registered. however: 3 years later it appears that the house is illegal as there is a new law, which came into working in 2002,that no new houses may be built in the Campo, within a 2kilometer radius of the towncenter. Now, the architect must have known about that law, so should the lawyer, the estate agent have known. The architect is now in court, but so are we too and we can end up with demolishing our house, 6 months jail and a large fine. This is not all: apart from us there are two more houses in the same position. Our neighbours, who also bought from the same ‘trusting’local architect/builder/landowner. We are all in the same boat. We are the criminals according to the judge and the architect is still in office and smiling…Are we supposed to know all the little laws that spring up whenever the Spanish feel like making another one? i think you are rather harsh Blom.

  11. Phredd,
    sorry to dissapoint you, the rogues don’t number a few %. It is’nt only the architects/laywers/town planners/notaries. It’s all the builders and all who work for them and then some.

    When we first came to Guadix and started walking in the countryside, which is the only place we had any intention of building our alt. energy home, we got talking to the local ganadores and many offered to sell us land – not one of them told us about the ‘rural land embargos’ – not one!

    The day we left Ortigueria in Galicia, my friend and neighbour Fernando, a builder warned me ” be careful Stuart, in Andalucia they smile a lot but not many are genuine” I have come to find this is very true.

    Justin – how right you are about the sun.Last year I heard from some Welshmen that they had had no summer at all and I heard the same from a German guy I met in France.

    However this is all changing – if I don’t pop my clogs for 20 years or so(family history tells me this is likely) then where we expect to live in France – it’s going to get hotter and much drier.

    By 2050 Spain will not be a tenable place to live, indeed much of France will be the same. I cannot understand any foreigners buying land or property in the Languedoc, already they have sever drought problems which can often end in violence – life is not possible without water.

    Mark – yes the difference is immediate on crossing the border. Just a word of warning – don’t buy a property from a Brit, if you do be very, very careful. Many building products are first class but their blocks and hollow clay bricks are the same crap as here. Do not be fooled into buying anything with exposed stonework – pretty but zero insulation and never buy at the bottom of a valley unless you always want a damp cold home or spend a fortune on heating.

    I’m always willing to share info so email me if you have any questions.

  12. When we went to apply for an Escritura on our Villa, (2 years ago this October!), our Laywer informed us that our Land Escritura was illegal, as it still had the previous owners name on it, although we had it for over 4 years!

    On our Laywers advice, we applied for a new Land Escritura which has taken over a year to get back, & we still have not received it!. At this point, I should add that we have now been advised the land has been changed into our names on the Catastro in Almeria. Our Laywer has said that a Certificate has been prepared to this effect & should be back with him within the next 2 weeks.

    Hopefully on receipt of this Certificate, we should be able to proceed onwards in obtaining our House Escritura. Has anyone any comments on this, or has anyone been in the same position?

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