The Priors’ expat property saga continues as town hall appeals compensation payout

EXCLUSIVE: Vera Town Hall in Almeria appeals against €425,000 compensation payout

LAST UPDATED: 27 Apr, 2016 @ 12:42

the priors USE THIS, BY LENOXA TOWN hall in Almeria has appealed the compensation offer it was ordered to pay British couple the Priors after their 100% legal home was demolished.

It seemed positive when the news broke on Monday that Len and Helen Prior, both 72, who have been forced to live in a converted garage for eight years, were set to claim around €425,000 in compensation.

But a source revealed last night that Vera town hall has appealed the decision which means  ‘it will be another year before things are any nearer to settlement’.

The couple had slammed the Spanish political system as they were set to be awarded half of the €800,000 they were hoping to get after their home was wrongly knocked down in 2008.

In an emotional outburst Helen Prior insisted: “It’s complete madness – we feel like we have been dumped on from all angles and the house was 100% legal.

“To add insult to injury we cannot sell the plot for anything other than animals so it is worthless.”

The couple, who made headlines around the world, were due to receive the minimal amount despite their bulldozed home in Almeria having the correct paperwork signed off by the town hall.

It was a long way from the €600,000 in compensation and €200,000 for moral damages that they had demanded.

The Berkshire couple insisted the figure would leave them with ‘only pennies’ after they had paid legal bills.

“Spanish politicians are the dregs of the earth and we can’t afford to go back to the UK anyway,” Helen continued.

She added: “We just kept pouring money into the house and on the day it was demolished it was worth €690,000.”

Campaign group AUAN expected an appeal, describing the offer as a ‘hollow victory’, insisting that the couple must be given some ‘moral damages’.

“Enough is enough. It is not acceptable that they must continue to live in their garage suffering continuous moral damage after the house of their dreams was demolished before their eyes,” said president Maura Hillen.

“The Priors did nothing wrong except to trust the Spanish state and its legal system.”

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  1. I for one would never buy a house or apartment in Spain. Having seen what happened to the Priors and many others you would have to be mad to spend any of your hard earned cash on property in Spain.
    There is zero protection in buying any property in Spain, you would be safer investing in a farm in Zimbabwe.

    • Not what those lovely estate agents say Peter. They are constantly talking up the Spanish property market for Northern Europeans, rubbing their hands at the thought of all that good old commission.
      Have they no shame?

    • Peter, no problem if the property is legal. No doubt what I have said will open the flood gate regarding the purchase of illegally built properties. But before they start, i’m talking about legally built property.

      Perhaps Jane G could explain!.

      • “no problem if the property is legal.”

        Doh, that’s what everyone was told who now has a illegal or irregular property. Properties can become illegal or irregular overnight, just look at the Marbella mess.

        • Don’t tell me you purchased illegal property Fred, silly boy, what with all that information flying around regarding illegal properties and you fell for it. Pity you had not read and taken Stuart’s advice and rented he had mentioned it a few time. Doh

          • Clearly you have zero knowledge of Spain, Bruno. Seems like you’ve just arrived on this forum and have read and understood nothing. Such is your embryonic knowledge of Spanish property matters that you don’t realise that Spain can change the gialposts

  2. Peter, when the Priors’ demolition was all over the UK press, I remember someone saying in the newspaper comments section that they would have been treated better if they had bought a property in Iraq – many a true word and all that.

    Just what the hell is wrong with Spain, don’t they feel embarrassed? No matter how hard I try, I just don’t get it. They are in the very fortunate position of having thousands of wealthy northern Europeans who want to buy property and spend money in their country but they rubbish them and treat them with contempt, why, for what purpose? Why would anyone reading this decide to buy property in Spain?

    Most countries would pull out all the stops to make sure the laws were changed and this type of situation was dealt with swiftly, efficiently and never repeated again.

    This should have been sorted out years ago but it’s still rumbling on with SOHA desperately trying to raise money and get the wretched Junta de Andalucia to change the law to something that resembles workable.

    This is disgusting and exactly what I feared would happen. If Vera town hall won’t cough up then the Junta de Andalucia should because it was their fault it happened in the first place. The PSOE led Junta de Andalucia are a complete waste of space and responsible for the death of an entire industry and yet idiots still vote them in year after year. Not much hope really is there.

  3. Where have the elected representatives of all British citizens been all these years and of course the worthless (to ordinary people) EU.

    This corruption involving foreigners from all over Europe has been going on for decades and sad to say it began with the death of Franco. Under Franco you ripped off a foreigner at your peril. Authority found out what exactly you were worth and then fined you 1 peseta more and life in Franco’s prisons was hard and really hard if you did’nt have family to bring you extra food.

    So now we have in theory a democratic/P/R system, which in reality is a seething mass of corruption aka the ‘Roman way’.

    If I still lived in Guadix I think I would make the effort to visit them and take them out for a good meal. It’s important for those who live nearby to show them the emotional support they must need shed loads of.

  4. I spoke to the Priors yesterday. They say that, following Media exposure worldwide (from places like Australia, Florida, Tokyo, Norway and even Zimbabwe), an estimate from a Spanish politician of the losses in sales, income and employment to Andalucía following the demolition of their home would be in the region of 5,000 million euros.
    Not bad for a morning’s work.

    • And idiots still vote PSOE!!! Just think, if Sanchez wins the next GE in Spain, they can roll out their demolition program nationwide – perhaps they can give IU control of the fast track demolition department like they did at the Junta de Andalucia. What will they do with all the rubble, export it perhaps? I wonder if PSOE have got any more great ideas stashed away.

  5. Urbanization regulations regarding local zoning and construction have been in municipal hands since 1978, the year of Constitution ratification. That was the only way to get pan-national support. Until there is an amendment, the wrangling won’t change, because land control defines local hierarchy and wealth. Looking for common law style ‘justice’ remains a naive wish on the part of foreigners till a Constitutional amendment – and there won’t be one for many, many years, if ever. So all this hand wringing about ‘doing the right thing’ falls on deaf ears. They ARE doing the right thing by adhering to their Constitution, never mind what the toothless EU and other countries say.

  6. Fred, can you answer a straightforward question for a change instead of “muddling” and “waffling” as you do about the building laws in Spain. Shall repeat as in my first comment. Property is either legal or illegal and have mentioned before on this forum that I cannot vote in the referendum so perhaps that will give you some idea regarding the years I have been here and during that period have purchased and sold property which has all been legal. Btw. Taxes paid on the profit directly taken from my bank in Spain.
    Spain has not changed the laws on the building of properties but “unscrupulous” people have tried to change the law and that’s where the illegality and why innocent people have been stuffed with such properties.
    Have you seen any Hotels, blocks of flats, villas etc along the coastline of the costa that have “LEGALLY” been built demolished, cause’ matey I have not, “illegal” ones yes, such as the partly finished Hotel that had hit the headlines and is now going to be demolished and perhaps the odd villa but stress were illegally built.
    But a straight answer from you would indicate if you are one of those innocent people that have been nobbled with illegal property and if you are not sure due to Spain, as you say, changing the “goalposts” then the advice that Stuart had mentioned over a period of time on this forum had not been heeded and you should have rented.
    No muddling or waffling please, have had it all before from you. Straight answers to a straight question.

    • P.S. Strange really Fred, we have the same kind of laws in the UK. Without proper building consent from the council this farmer has had to demolish his wonderful castle. So who is wrong here, the council or the farmer who didn’t get the proper building consent.
      Now if the proper application for these villas in Spain had been applied for at the Junta no doubt they would not have had the permission to build and naturally would not have been built, so basically it was the fault of the unscupiless, builders, council’s, lawyers and to a lesser extent the agents who were under the impression that all were legal. (Btw, I’m not associated in any way or form to Agents).
      So really don’t put the blame on the Junta although, due to the vast amount of illegal building’s involved and the dramatic effect this has all been to innocent people a compromise should have been reached such as a long lease issued on the land and property similar to a long lease on properties in the UK which does not hinder the resale of the property to others. Perhaps the various Governments of all expats should have stepped in long ago to put the wrong to right. The land and all eventually would return to the Junta.
      Four years ago I increased a sixty year lease to a 999 years on one of my flats in the London area UK, total cost, at the time, including solicitors approx: £12K which has added greatly the value to its selling price. On the deeds they now call it a “Freehold” property. I should care if it’s classed as a lease or freehold.


      • Municipal councils can and do adjust regulations to favor certain buyers, denying others. If you are not a local notable you must pay to play. Appealing is useless as the same people who do the municipal zoning are the appeals board, are the local notables, etc. For example we have cases where people tried to buy and build on nice parcels immediately adjacent to village nucleus. Denied. Then a local notable or monied connection bought the same parcel and was immediately issued a building. Immediately, the area was again closed to further projects, even adding a room. No announcements of zoning changes. All behind closed doors.
        In the municipalities around Asturias, ALL projects are illegal until the envelopes cross the desk or certain architects, tecnicos and builders are hired. The excepions are apartment blocks sponsered by the ayuntamiento with inflated prices.
        The collusion doubles or triples to make certain all involved get their percentages. So of course there is collusion and corruption. As I stated earlier on this post it will continue till there is a Constitutional amendment. Comparisons with UK or other countries’ regulations are irrelevant. The corruption system in Spain is its own beast, second to none.

  7. Bruno, you will have to read my many previous posts for the answers you seek about my own property in Spain, as I have posted extensively on it. Btw, you are beginning to sound like an old poster that used to talk about all his London property portfolio and droned on for days with repeat posts. Hmm.

    Regarding the topic of the post, property in Spain can change status between legal, irregular and illegal at the drop of a hat. Retrospective changes can occur, indeed have occured, and they don’t just affect rural properties. Marbella is a case in point, where many thousands of properties were recently reclassified as being illegal in just a single day. Spain rarely demolishes buildings like hotels or apartment blocks etc, however it just closes them or reclassifies their usage (this happened to a hotel just this week, and the story was covered in the current Sur In English newspaper). I agree with you about the Junta are not solely to blame here, as town halls were complicit in most of the fake building licenses that were granted over the years. However, where were the Junta for all those decades? Where was the enforcement, where was the vigilance? As you can see, the Junta must share the blame for these failings.

    Btw, I’m glad you can’t vote in the referendum, you talk such twaddle about it that you don’t deserve a vote in my opinion lol.

    • Correct Fred. This character HAS been here before, in many guises. Starts sensibly, then deteriorates into arrant, waffling, disjointed nonsense. As illustrated by these multiple, confused posts.

      • Yep, that’s about the size of it Stefanjo but minus the American spelling this time! Don’t fall for it again, he’s trying to wind everyone up.

        • Jane G, don’t say you fell for the American spelling. Jane G, where am I trying to wind everyone up, what, by speaking the truth. I know there are some on this forum that constantly complain about Spain but are quite happy living here comparing the life of Spain with all it’s warts to a life in the UK, why. Even yourself maybe thinking of retiring here some day, which can be done regardless of Brexit. Ask Chas, has he be kicked out, lived here I believe 20 years, oh’ please don’t ask Stefanjo, he hasn’t a clue.

  8. Well Fred, it just goes to show I’m not an old poster or I would have read about your property in Spain. In that case I therefore take it your property is legal, so my point stated in my comment to Peter ie; “i’m talking about legally built property”, was correct before you butted in with your usual negative outlook.
    I agree that the Junta, to a certain extent does share the blame in not acting swiftly on the planning laws but it does not have the resources to control all that’s was being built so quickly if one is comparing it to the British system and that’s been the problem. Over the years it’s been taken for granted that anything goes because it’s Spain hence planes have been flying over to photograph area’s to see what has been built or of any other added additions that have not been applied for and approved.
    As for Marbella was it not a case where the law confirmed that properties were classed (not reclassified but confirmed) as illegal due to the parties involved fought to have them classed as legal and the Judge stated he could not change the law from something that was classed as illegal as being legal, the state law needed to be changed. Is that the case you are referring to, if not please enlighten me further.
    As for my vote regarding the referendum it’s not really required like many thousands that have lived outside the UK for 15 years or more as the “Leave” campaign are doing very nicely without us and in my opinion Spain deserve’s self seeking people who cannot make it in the UK.