VIDEO: Two British-owned homes have been demolished in Spain and two more will come down this week

LAST UPDATED: 15 Oct, 2013 @ 22:23
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VIDEO: Two British-owned homes have been demolished in Spain and two more will come down this week

TWO homes owned by Britons have been demolished in Cantoria, Almeria following a court order, while two more are due to be destroyed this week.

The properties, owned by Brit residents who have moved back to the UK, were developed by a Spanish company – that has now gone bankrupt – and was signed off by the ex-mayor.

The government contested the build in 2004, stating that four properties in the development did not have planning permission, and that they should be demolished.

The promoter, whose initials are FPM, was ordered to compensate the four British home owners, but they have not yet received any compensation in spite of today’s demolition.

All properties were vacated at the time of demolition – but owners were only given 30 days notice that their properties would be destroyed today.

Philip Smalley, President of homeowners rights group SOHA, says “We at SOHA totally condemn the Junta for their actions here. The homeowners were not the guilty party, the promoter was, so how can you demolish a person’s home without first ensuring that they have somewhere else to live and that appropriate compensation has been paid.

“Once again the government of Andalucia tarnishes the image of Spain abroad.”

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41 COMMENTS

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  1. @ O.P., I wouldn’t call this a very comprehensive analysis of the situation considering how serious it is. Did the occupiers know there was no permission?, What does the acting lawyer have to say?, What do the owners have to say?, What part did the ex-mayor play?. Why haven’t the owners received compensation?, and how is SOHA going to help apart from stating the bl**din obvious?.

    And yes Fred, you are right, anyone would think the “crisis” was media spin.

  2. Don’t let a few isolated cases cloud your vision guys. The vast majority of house sales in Spain are hitch-free. Perspective please.

  3. @Bob, there are tens of thousands of houses in the same legal state, and all could potentially be demolished. However, Spain just cherry picks a few every month that don’t get wide press coverage. Of course, a lot more properties are being demolished that we don’t even hear about.

    How many isolated cases does it take to make a country untrustworthy, Bob?

  4. The Spanish banks own 2,500,000 empty homes. It’s certainly a wonder than none of these are ‘ilegal’. Even the Junta de Andalucía knows to pick on weak targets.

  5. Why are there so many ex-mayors in spain .which most of are in jail .prob the new mayor will be building a house for his family in the plot after this house has been knocked down .

  6. “DON’T BUILD A HOUSE ILLEGALLY. USE A RECOMMEND SOLICITOR.”

    lol great advice June. Not. Just about all of the people with so-called illegal homes (with the exception of those who just built it themselves on land without any permissions) had all the correct paperwork, use lawyers and notaries in the putchase process etc. Many people even had mortgages and loans secured against the (now illegal) properties. Houses can also be made retrospectively illegal too, of course.

  7. We will have a more comprehesive story on this case tommorrow morning… we’ve been hard at it investigating all day… and, yes, it stinks!

  8. Fred : i do not agree with you…i have many friends in el campo, most of them expats…and 1 in 6 has the paperwork you need…the rest thought it was ok to do what they wanted, as it was Spain, so it was ok to build some here and there…
    If uou buy or build a house in U.K … do you not check ALL the paperwork ? There are websites, in ingles, that inform very clerly what paperwork you need, but a lot of times greed takes over the brain…

  9. The people running Spain at National and local level are all brain dead unfortunately. I feel sorry for the ordinary person in Spain having to be governed by a bunch of imbecilic morons. All planning approvals should be taken away from local macho, dwarf Mayors. Don’t forget for any green as grass people, don’t use the solicitor that is recommended by the estate agent, they are recommending them for a reason, they will bend the rules if they want more work from the estate agents. Spain is finished unfortunately. When I was on the plane once I was sitting next to a Spanish pilot, he had his uniform on. I said you are doing well with your sports, football etc and he said yes, it is a shame our politicians are not at the same level.

  10. @luc, with respect you do agree with me. I specifically said “with the exception” that people who just start to build a property (or convert a goatshed into a 4 bedroomed house with pool etc), deserve what they get if they are found out.

    Do you really think the memers of SOHA and AUAN et al fall into this category? We need to separate these people from those who just build a structure in the campo with zero paperwork. If you read the latest story with the video the mayor who signed off the paperwork, the electric and water, is now in prison. How is that the homeowners fault if their town hall gives them all the paperwork?

  11. Illegal builds by Spanish people do not in 95 per cent of cases get to the final stage of demolition.
    The usual scenario is the villagers or townspeople through
    their own systems of networking get to the Mayor and his or her cronies.
    Their is no way the property will get demolished,reasons given for not complying are usually farcical,laughable or just plain ridiculous.
    This is the way it is,we all know that!( except EU officials ).

  12. And in the same valley, but under Albox Town Hall illegal building continues – our Spanish neighbours have built a massive house, extended their bar and added an extra floor to another house – all within the last 4 years and under the nose of the Junta de Andalucia and Albox Town Hall, both have said they are not in a position to do anything about it – a two rule state?

  13. Let me give you a fact that you all prob know .If Spain had no tourism .Spain would be a third world country .Spain has nothing but tourism and the worst Govt on the planet .The Govt has not a single brain cell .they need all to be cleared out if Spain has any chance of not sinking .seems the only way to gather in cash is by stealing land from people so they can then sell it again ..or rant and rave about Gibraltar ..if they had no Brits to have a go at or steal from in this case.there would be a another revolution .

  14. SPAIN – a country that has government that lacks vision and competence. A country in such financial turmoil that the best they can do is to tear down peoples homes and drive them away they end up with fewer people paying taxes, fewer people contributing to the local economy etc’ etc;

    They could solve the housing problems overnight.
    Legalise all the current illegal builds nationwide.
    Having done that – set a date after which if you start an illegal; build it will be torn down without grace or favour.

    To do this would pump up the housing market, increase sales and add, over time a significant boost to the Spanish economy – but they just can’t see it.
    What a bunch of idiots

  15. I’m not that Mike ‘amparo’ – as I’m sure you are wondering. This is me. I do totally agree with what he says though. Along with images of corrupt politicians, semi-royalty and the like walking the streets laughing in the face of the Mickey Mouse judicial system we have here (sorry for insulting you Walt Disney), surely the image of innocent, cheated people’s life savings being destroyed before their very eyes must be amongst the saddest indictment on a country which steadfastly refuses to modernise, not only preferring, but needing to remain in its bloated, dictatorial state of the past century and beyond, in order to ensure that the ingrained vested interests remain just that?

    Oh I agree that they could have been more careful in some cases – no doubt many of them could have. Those of us who have lived here for a long time know damn well that trusting your fate to a qualified and certified lawyer, or any governmental organisation supposedly there to serve us is complete stupidity and asking for trouble.

    Expecting people to know that before they get here is asking a bit too much I think. Meanwhile the builders, politicians who approved their plans, and bankers who financed them are free to roam and enjoy their winnings – happy in the knowledge that nothing will ever happen to them.

    For all those of us who love Spain, seeing things like this is sad. Very, very sad.

    Año 2013 – Españoles: Franco no ha muerto.

  16. @ Mike…..Surprisingly, I don’t entirely disagree with your namesake. My comment was only a suggestion that the report could and should have been rather more comprehensive in such a way as to explore and present the detail, and I listed some possibilities, as you can see.

    The key issue, as I see, is that the works didn’t have the correct permissions. So, in comparing Spain to the UK, who, in their right mind, in the UK, would buy a new house without satisfying themselves that all legalities were in order?.

    The fact that so many people (including Spaniards) do just that here out of, perhaps, naivety, does not dilute or negate their personal responsibility. And, given the well known real estate legality issues here, it should be the buyers Nº1 priority. Equally no-one should assume residence in a foreign country without first sussing the place out. It has ALWAYS been the golden advice the world over, “rent for three months before you buy”.

    And, in responding to the other Mike, (without wishing to provoke his usual tirade of abuse), from what I read in the British press, the UK politicians are an equal bunch of
    incompetents. NHS??, Immigration??, Benefits??, happy slappy prisons??, brown envelopes??, ad infinitum.

    And lastly, finance wise, UK national debt, per capita, 2012 stood at over 26,000 GBP. Spain’s figure stood at less than 20,000€. Oh yes, British MP’s know a thing or two about economics.

  17. All this has made the UK National press and Amparo, €20,000 is not far of double the national wage in Spain, still they are both big figures so it makes me worry when the SNP and Labour are all trying to win the next election by giving more money and benefits away, money that we do not have.

  18. Spain has now become syonymous with house demolitions. Amazingly bad PR from Spain, a country that just doesn’t care about its image abroad, at all. I read today that Spain has the third highest number of EU law infringements agsnst it currently, and environmental/legal issues are top of the list. Great job Spain.

  19. Never been a tirade of abuse from me – you don’t like the fact that I stand up to you. You talk narrow-minded nonsense, and seem to get a buzz from winding British people up about it at the slightest opportunity. Why exactly, only you know…

    I heard the debt argument from the Mayor of Mijas on a radio show here. Typical head-in-the-sand stuff that, yes, all politicians are specialists at, but Spanish ones really do excel at and is indeed their very raison d’être. He rolled out the argument about German debt being higher than Spain’s.

    The issue of which debt is more serviceable is something he and yourself choose or (conveniently) fail to understand.

  20. It’s very difficult to talk about nations or nationalities without generalizing – and this then leads to disagreements which are not necessarily valid on either side. Disagreeing over general opinions about one thing doesn’t mean you can’t simultaneously agree about other aspects of the same thing.

    In my opinion: we live in a fantastic country, with beautiful countryside, excellent food, an amazing climate, and also wonderful people, unique in many ways, friendly in so many others, but sadly many of them (mainly the young) have had to leave to be able to find even the most remedial job.

    This is down to the fact that once the dictatorship of 37 years ended, a law was passed to pretend that it had never happened in the first place in order to save the skins of those in high places, and those in not-so-high, but very overpriveleged places as well. This meant that all the usual public institutions that happen under dictatorships: over-bloated civil service full of inept people placed there by friends and families, equally useless politicians from the wealthier classes for the same reasons, public services that are expensive and don’t work, massive corruption, black economy and general inefficiency remain as strong as they were in 1975.

    The sad difference in Spain’s case is that as the old guard was never booted out as usually happens when dictatorships end – they are still there. Clinging onto their notaries and other edicts of 100 years ago, refusing to change, refusing to even see that the rest of the developed world has moved on and does things differently. Heads in the sand; if you don’t like it then leave, and the first ones to have to do so are the country’s young.

    Can’t really see it changing either. It’s sad. Very, very sad.

  21. Mike,
    excellent post except the usual mistake about weather and food, both of which are sweeping and incorrect generalisations – try the wind and rain of N W Spain and the ‘normal’ Andalucian diet is way inferior to the whole of northern Spain.

    And of course it could all have been different if in 1945 some veteran Allied divisions could have invaded and re-instated the democratically elected Republican government but that would have meant the Communists, Anarchists and Socialists returning to power – not something that America’s elite could ever countenance ergo it never happened – estamos aqui.

  22. You’re right about the weather ; )

    Don’t know if you’ve read Paul Preston’s biography of Franco, but it’s a fantastic read and goes into that very point in depth. Yanks were paranoid about communism reaching western Europe and allowed Franco to survive and portray himself as saviour of the entire western world. Pretty similar to Spanish politicians nowadays who preach about their political and judicial system as being the best around (yeh, right).

  23. @ Reap…I can’t disagree with your national income figure and the prospect of an incoming socialist government in both nations would herald the arrival of even more debt, more borrowing and more national debt per capita.

    @Mike…Your memory is like that of Bárcenas, selective. Perhaps when the moderator exercised his discretion on your recent tirade, he/she was having a bad day. And I am NOT an “ignorant idiot”, nor am I a “sad, sad low life” (extracts from other postings of yours). And I do NOT attempt to wind anyone up simply by expressing an opinion. If other posters do not agree with such opinions, then like me, they are entitled to comment WITHOUT resorting to verbal abuse. THAT is what a forum is for not to act as some kind of arena for a verbalistic guerra.

    I understand debt sustainability issues as much as the next person, including you. But it would take the son of HAL to formulate any progressive forecast for both the UK and Spain given the endless variances both political and financial in order to establish any kind of ranking.

    The Spanish judicial system may have it’s failings of course. So is that to say the buffoonery and cobwebbery which overwhelms the UK system in EU imposed shackles is any better?. How many ‘holiday camp’ prisons exist in Spain??. Do we have a ‘compensation culture’??.

    And why is the Andalucian diet ‘inferior’ to that of the north?….The demands and consequencial impact of European tourism.

    The Spanish cup is half full, not half empty as so many of you, drowning in negativity along with your half of bitter like to think.

  24. And here I rest my case with you Amparo. Your postings are just so, so predictable – even this one, which before even reading it, I knew it would go the same as every single other one I’ve read of yours on here.

    We say something negative about Spain (and there’s plenty to go at) and you immediately come on here, and your only reply is: “Well what about the UK? You lot can’t talk! What about this? What about that? etc. etc. etc.” By doing this, you are entirely missing the point about what, most of us at least, are trying to say – preferring to blinker yourself with you own pre-assumptions, and apparent need to fight back by attacking the UK.

    I’ve lived 20 years in Spain and 21 in the UK – so I think that gives me the right to opinionate about both countries – much more than most in some ways, as I’m pretty impartial about both. Yes, you read it right: impartial. I also criticise the UK, and there is possibly much more to go at there than here – I don’t know, I’ve never stopped to weigh up which is ‘better’. For me it doesn’t work like that. So, when you spew out examples of failings in the UK to argue against our debate about failings in Spain, almost all of your comments (especially the Cowell ones) I totally AGREE with. But as I said, you are missing the point. The debates I’ve read on this website, most of which are intelligent ones, are about debating individual issues – not about attacking each others’ countries and cultures based on a simple denomimator of “my country might be bad, but yours is worse!” – which is what all your arguments are.

    Why you feel the need to do this is beyond me. Migration happens Amparo – it always has and always will. Some people embrace their new culture, some adapt, some don’t, some return and so on. Just deal with it. Taking everything as some kind of attack on your own country from people you clearly feel threatened by in some way, and then replying to their every comment with small-minded statements like you do is pure and utter xenophobia.

    You seem like quite an intelligent person, so have a think about it. I think you’re being rather unfair to the majority of British people who still live in Spain after many years and have done through thick and thin. We are observing, and sometimes yes, criticising your (our?) country – but that doesn’t mean that we are automatically saying that it is inferior to our own.

  25. @…Mike…Well at least you now appear to concede that I am not entirely bereft of brain cells, which is step in the right direction. Now all you have to do is resist the temptation of resorting to the use of patronising terminology and we can agree to disagree without being disagreeable. There is nothing wrong with positive criticism but all too often, and you know perfectly well that it happens, someone will declare Spain “the pits” or some other derogatory appellation.

    Maybe a good many of postings are “intelligent ones” but there are also many many other’s which consign Spain to being a basket case and I make no apologies for attacking the authors. Using my knowledge of the UK as a comparison is, in spite of what you say, the only way to drive home their ignorance. At least in Spain total freedom of opinion is freely granted as a right. Negative opinionating during my University years at Belfast would have bestowed upon me re-designed knee’s with which to return home.

    Now, to return to the string of this forum, given the universally known fragility of “legal advice”, who in their right mind would have bought a new home, in the campo, without first checking that it was 101% legal?. Those who were too naive or lazy to check, those who thought it ‘didn’t matter’, and those who thought they could get away with it and pass the problem to someone else having made a few quid to boot. To Spain’s credit, yes credit, the issue IS being addressed, AND it also includes Spaniards, although this rarely gets reported in the press. AND Mike, when it happens in the UK, it’s… “well it serves ’em right”, but when it happens down here it’s… “that nasty Junta attacking the Brit’s again”.

    Comparison?, yes, but pertinent and justified.

  26. DUE DILIGENCE….people should use well known reputable lawyers to do there due diligence and check that all is as it should be when purchasing property….the lawyer has, or should have indemnity insurance should they make a mistake…..my advise is the buyer should do there due diligence on the law firm and let the lawyers do the rest.

  27. “Due diligence” is an investigation of a business or person prior to signing a contract, or an act with a certain standard of care.

    It can be a legal obligation, but the term will more commonly apply to voluntary investigations. A common example of due diligence in various industries is the process through which a potential acquirer evaluates a target company or its assets for an acquisition.[1] The theory behind due diligence holds that performing this type of investigation contributes significantly to informed decision making by enhancing the amount and quality of information available to decision makers and by ensuring that this information is systematically used to deliberate in a reflexive manner on the decision at hand and all its costs, benefits, and risks

  28. “my advise is the buyer should do there due diligence on the law firm and let the lawyers do the rest.”

    Please explain how. It is good advice, but how?

  29. ‘reputable lawyer’ Gary? Where can you find one, people have to rely on word of mouth but that’s difficult in Spain. Like estate agents, where can you find a reputable agent, the country lacks lists of reputable operators to refer to.

    Regarding indemnity insurance if the lawyer makes a mistake, is that easy for redress, then if it goes to court it can take 5 years in Spain.

  30. what about the Banana Beach complex in Marbella… all bought apartment believing all was legal…. Town hall gave licences etc…and yet…all illegal all 200 plus apartments….

  31. Too tired to comment after reading all the pompous bickering but my heart goes out to the people who lost their home. Its just terrible and I hope they are ok.

  32. Reply to Fred….the world wide web is a wonderful tool…there are many search engines available for you to look at and gather information on these firm..have a look at our web site and the media coverage that we have…and…please comment back with your views on us..i work for a company in marbella.. i dont think they will let me publish the name on here but take a look at the lawyer who owns the company Mr.Antonio Flores…please give me your views..

    angie….same as above really..you do the same…it may take 1 year 5 yaers or even 10 but at least you are covered…!!!

    lololol….ad…please see stefanjos comments
    …jajajaja….all joking apart these would never be pulled down..its not good for marbella…they will eventually be lagalised as you well know there is a process in place at the moment for this to happen

  33. Gary, if you were the last estate agent on Earth I still would not use you. Building illegal houses on purpose knowing that they will eventually be “legalised” must surely be the most crass pro-argument for purchasing a property in Spain ever uttered.

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