17 Mar, 2010 @ 16:26
1 min read

Expats protest in Spain against demolition threat

HUNDREDS of expatriates marched through the centre of Malaga to vehemently oppose the demolitions orders threatening Andalucia’s homes.

Whistles, fog horns and hundreds of signs were all on display as the 1000-strong crowd made its way through the city.

Amid chants of ‘Junta, why are you punishing us?’ the crowd embarked on its one-kilometre trail which began in the Plaza De La Marina.

Out of the scores of demonstrators that descended on Malaga, many simply wanted to show their solidarity to those facing demolition orders.

The march’s guest speaker, Euro MP Marta Andreasen, told the Olive Press: “I want to bring this to the attention of the European Parliament.

“The march is to raise awareness because there are still a lot of people who are completely unaware about this terrible problem.

Both Andreasen and Save Our Homes Axarquia (SOHA) president, Philip Smalley, made impassioned speeches to the gathered crowd.

“We came to Spain not just for the warmth of the sun, but for the warmth of the Spanish people.”

Smalley remarked: “We are the immigrants in a foreign land, but many of us have invested our life savings in property.

“For many of us it could be the last home we ever buy.”

“We came to Spain not just for the warmth of the sun, but for the warmth of the Spanish people.

“We won’t just stand by watch the dreams of thousands be destroyed.”

Meanwhile, another lobby group revealed its satisfaction at seeing such a strong turn-out.

AUAN president, Maura Hillen, explained: “What’s great is how many different groups are here.

“We are really trying to build a coalition here.”

Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

Do you have a story? Contact newsdesk@theolivepress.es


  1. I think todays march was a great success, It was well attended and organised and I think a big thank you is in order to everyone connected with it. It was really great to see people from different nationalities and backgrounds coming together, albeit in response to such a shocking situation which is blighting the lives and seriously undermining the health of thousands of innocent people who have worked hard all of their lives, and who have contributed to society in a positive manner. The majority of these have long cherished a dream of retiring to the warmth of both the Spanish weather and her people and have invested their hard earned savings to facilitate their dreams. Unfortunately, those cherished dreams have, in too many cases turned into a living nightmare. I think the response to the march today will hopefully send out a message to the authorities that we are united in fighting this outrage and that we will not, can not, just stand by and allow this to happen without puting up a very organised and conrolled fight. Let this be the start of as many marches it takes to get the authorities to take notice of us, instead of riding roughshod over us as they appear to be doing now. We all have a part to play in raising awareness of our plight, and I urge you all not to let the momentum slide, but to keep “plugging away” getting the message out to as many people as you know.

  2. Having taken part in this peaceful demonstration I just want to add that it was not just expats who took part, there were many Spanish also, who are in a similar situation.
    Solidarity between all the various nationalities affected will be the only effective way to combat this fourth-world situation.

  3. An idea to increase your news coverage. Get everybody or as many as practical to carry their national flag, make sure anybody with a spanish conection also carries a spanish flag. Take pictures of the demonstrators giving the different nationalities prominance. Ensure there are always plenty of spanish flags in the background. Notify various national newsagencies of their compatriots plight. Supply photos. May not get headlines but could get Europe-wide coverage.

  4. I found this EU website which describes the various fuctions of ‘public’ officials in Spain. Seems pretty cast in stone that if you have your Escritura properly certified by a Notary then you should be totally legal. Otherwise the office of Notary must be regarded as a sham.

    Various quotes.-

    12. What is the function of notaries?
    “Notaries are legal professionals whose main function is to perform the public service of conferring authenticity on documents in private legal transactions. They also help to draft these documents correctly and to formalise them with their authority and signature”.

    “Their legal training and practical experience enable them to provide individuals with legal certainty. This training and experience guarantees the accuracy of notarial documents, which are enforceable and are treated as preferred evidence in lawsuits”.

    “Notarial records are particularly important. The originals or protocols of documents authorised by notaries are kept by them for 25 years from the date of issue”.


  5. I recently discovered that my country property is described on the Catastro (Andalucia) as isolated and without access (via public access).

    The property was to be used a security for a loan. The valuer was graceful enough not to charge for his services and the report process was halted however the valuer’s findings led to the cancellation of the application with
    the bank.

    The property is 25 years old and came with all the legal
    papers, including a plan of the land. I bought the property in 2003.

    My question is, who would have been responsible at the time to inform me that the property had no legal public access, would it have been the lawyer or would it have been the notary or would it have been both?

    I received a copy of the Certificacion Catastral Descriptiva y Grafica from the lawyer before the completion, but this fact was not explained nor identified to me by either the lawyer or the notary.

    If you are a property owner in Spain and are reading this, I would recommend that even though you may not need to use your property as a security or even need to raise a mortgage (as I didn’t at the time of purchase), that you check your legal documents to see if your property
    (particularly if it is in the country-side) has legal public access and if not, ask the question of the legal representative who acted for you at the time why this fact wasn’t identified to you.

    I don’t think that foreigners have yet owned their
    properties long enough in Spain to uncover all the other problems that exist here and that are still hidden.

  6. Christopher, you reading? M has all the paperwork, it was looked at by a lawyer, signed off by a notary, and still it is not in order. How would Decree 218 help here, Chris?

  7. Has anyone had experience of changing an Almecen to a Viviendo?
    I have an Escritura and a Fin de Obra from 2001 but my property is stated as an almacen.

    I note an advert from a company in Coin saying that new rules will prevent this change taking place after May 7th.

  8. Stuart, I bought a rural property in 2001, using a much recommended english speaking solicitor in Alhaurin El Grande and no one mentioned the concept of Almacens. In fact it was at least 3 years later when I found out what it meant. Not that it means much but I have the Escutura and the “Fin de Obra” signed off in 2001 by the local mayor.

    In 9 years I have had no problems its just that I read it was better to convert it to a “Viviendo”, hence the question.


  9. Ferd,
    caveat emptor – buyer beware. Surely you bought a dictionary, had you done so would not alarm bells have started ringing?

    If you bought a barn anywhere in the UK in the last 30 years would you not immediately think that there are all kinds of planning obstacles in the way of doing a conversion?

    I may be wrong but I think that it is going to cost you a packet to get change of use, let’s hope it won’t be pulled down and you get to pay an enormous fine as well.

    I was warned about Andalucians and how they operate by my Galician neighbour Fernando just before we left “Stuart, they smile a lot in Andalucia but there is only greed behind the smile, don’t trust them”.

    I was offered loads of almacens, plied with wine and beer and come and join us for a barbeque – all smiling faces and the word ‘amigo’ banded around freely. Luckily my dour lowlands Scots blood (thanks dad) was too cautious.

    One prospective rip-off artist even took us to the Benelua (6K from Guadix) council. You cannot imagine how stupid they all were – treating us, Angela and I as if we were the idiots. Thick as poo is what most of them are and they just can’t see it.

    The problem is that most Brits are too passive and over the years have allowed themselves to be bullied by the pot bellied con artists known as estate agents. I remember flying back from Granada and sitting next to a couple of the London chattering class and they told me how they had been bullied by an agent into almost handing over 10% on a property. So I asked the male (you could’nt describe the pseudo intellectual as a man) how good a kicking did he give the creep – he/they were horrified by the very thought and that is partly where the problem begins – if they are English, push them they put up no resistance.

    I was visiting a bar in Granada with my Spanish antique restorer friend Enrique and there happened to be one of these creeps there. He asked me how much I had to spend “no tonto that’s not how it happens, you tell me what properties you have on your books and you tell me the prices” He started to get agressive and said “we don’t do business that way in Spain” – nose to nose I told him his fortune and asked him if he wanted to amke a visit to the A&E – he did’nt and left.

    When we visited some aquaintances living in Murcia in 2003, they told us of the stupid Brits that come on a 10 day visit and were desperate to buy a property with zero knowledge of the region, it’s water supplies or the local climate can you imagine anything so stupid – I wonder how many reading this fall into this category and would have the cojones to admit it publicly – quien save.

    When we were still seriously looking to move out of the SE rather than out of the country in 97, we visited virtually every corner of the UK – do you think we would have been so stupid as to have an offer on anything until we had returned and really found out what the craic was. I have never listened to what estate agents say, in fact I ask them to shut up so I can concentrate on things 3 dimensional. Much to the consternation of said agents I always visited neighbours on both sides to see who and what I maybe moving next to. Anything interested us we always returned at night to check out noise/drunks/smackheads etc.

    Remember what W.C Fields said “never give a sucker an even break”

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