Expat couple’s former B&B faces demolition over previous owner’s alterations

The Jimena property is facing a demolition order from the town hall over some illegal additions made by a previous over two decades ago

LAST UPDATED: 19 Apr, 2015 @ 22:51
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Jimena house dispute
TRAPPED: Valerie and Patrick Jubb

A RETIRED British couple face seeing their luxury B&B knocked down because of an ongoing property dispute with their town hall.

Expats Patrick and Valerie Jubb, 63, ran celebrated La Vina de Linan, in Jimena de la Frontera until last year after buying the property in 2008.

But now, the stunning finca, which is for sale, is facing a demolition order from the town hall over some illegal additions made by a previous owner over two decades ago.

“We did everything by the book,” explained Patrick, 64, a former engineer from London.

“We used Spanish lawyers, contacted the Junta and the town hall, and obtained all the correct paperwork.”

The couple only learned about the legal issues when they struck a deal to sell their 4-bedroom property for €680,000 last year.

Jimena house 2
THREATENED: Their property in Jimena

But as the deal reached its final stages the town hall declared that the first floor, kitchen and pool had been constructed illegally by previous owners in 1994 – some 14 years before the Jubb’s even purchased it.

This was despite the couple getting certification from the Junta – seen by the Olive Press – confirming there were no planning infractions when they bought the 280m2 property.

Although the previous owners didn’t have official building permits at the time, the alterations were later legalised, according to the Jubbs, at the land registry in San Roque in 2005.

The problem emerged because the home is inside the Alcornocales Natural Park, meaning the normal ‘four year rule’ does not apply.

“It means the land registry should never have approved the alterations, but of course they did,” explained Patrick.

“We are in absolute pieces over this. All we want is to go back to the UK to be with our family and friends, but we can’t. All our money is tied up in the property.”

ANALYSIS: All too common

Maura Hillen, the president of AUAN, a group set up to legalise properties in Andalucia, said cases like this are ‘all too common’ across the region.

“This is yet another variation on how foreign buyers fall foul of the way planning is badly controlled in Spain,” she said.

“It all comes back to the same thing. Failure to enforce the planning regulations and too much power in the hands of town halls.

“If it is any comfort they are not alone, many others have similar stories to tell.”



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12 COMMENTS

  1. What a load of old b*!!ocks. This is completely out of control now and someone in higher authority than the Junta de Andalucia needs to step in and take control. There is nothing to be gained by demolishing any of these so called illegal properties, the damage it would do to Spain’s reputation not to mention the property market renders it worthless. How many times do I have to say this – change the law, have an amnesty and then make sure the new laws are enforced thereafter.

    I have a feeling this latest swathe of demolitions is a post election act of sabotage on the part of PSOE.

  2. I’m confused. The illegal extra building came to light during the process of selling which fell through. Why didn’t it come to lihpght when they first bought the property?

  3. Steve, that’s the problem, the system is not fit for purpose. Of course this issue should have come to light during the buying process but they don’t have reliable searches and the Junta de Andalucia keep moving the goal posts for political reasons. They should admit to systemic failure, legalise affected properties and then create and enforce workable laws. There is no other way to solve this problem, it has become a damage limitation exercise.

  4. Problem with spain is, if you don’t know who to backhand or if you don’t pick up on the signals you are well stuffed. Rules are rules and not all of them are written in the rule book, my advise is wait till all the fuss dies down and pay the money to the bloke who asked for it in first place, might be a bit more pricey now but you can still pay the piper!

  5. Another story of Trust, don’t trust them, don’t trust the Abogado, the estate agent or the Notario. They all had knowledge the sale was dubious but all went ahead. Welcome to Spain, bend over and take it like a expat
    enjoy the local experience!

  6. When are they going to strike at the heart of the problem – the abogado’s?
    They are employed to ensure the law is maintained, charge high prices and get away with incompetence. The Jubb’s should have been told that it isnt possible to get planning on national park land.

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