EXCLUSIVE By Wendy Williams
A BRITISH pensioner is being forced to squat in her own home without electricity or hot water.
Ann Bircumshaw, 75, is facing a torrid winter after she discovered her 120,000 euro home was neither legal nor paid for.
The pensioner, from Bournemouth, had stumped up the money for the three-bedroom off-plan property in Pruna, near Olvera, after selling her own home in Fuengirola.
The developer, a British man called Ian Hollis, 48, assured her that her dream home would be finished “in months”.
But since buying the property in 2007 from Hollis´s company Showcase Developments it has been nothing but a nightmare.
Despite expecting to be in by 2008, the original property was never built and its so-called replacement – a nearby apartment, where the pensioner now lives – is likely to be seized due to unpaid debts.
“Hollis may well have started off with the best intentions but after the situation went wrong it has gone from bad to worse,” said her son-in-law Neil French.
After months of renting a nearby apartment, Hollis revealed that there had been a problem with HER house and encouraged her to switch to another apartment nearing completion.
But this apartment was forced to stand empty for over a year due to unpaid bills, claims French.
This however, did not stop Bircumshaw from moving in two months ago and she is now effectively squatting in her own home.
But she is living without electricity as she cannot find a supplier to connect the house as the property has been blacklisted.
Furthermore, the bank that funded the project is threatening to repossess the home, due to unpaid debts.
“My mother-in-law’s attitude understandably is that she has paid for the property so it is hers… but the bank doesn’t agree,” said French.
“Even if she is allowed to continue living there, she will never get the legal title.
“The lawyer has told us that it is inevitable the bank will eventually become the owners.”
When the Olive Press caught up with Hollis he insisted the situation would soon be resolved. “I have been caught up with the crisis but I am trying to put things right,” he said.
His Marbella-based lawyer, Alejandro Ponce, meanwhile insisted that the problem simply lies with the plot which has not yet been properly divided.
“It is a case of patience and paperwork,” he said. “Hollis is worried that people will think he is a crook but that is not the case.
“He has had a problem but he has done nothing wrong. He has nothing to hide.
“I hope in three months it will all be sorted out.”
For 75-year-old Bircumshaw that will be the end of the winter. If she can wait that long.