25 Mar, 2010 @ 14:08
1 min read

Caution when buying in Spain

A BRITISH Euro MP is advising his constituents not to buy in Spain.

Roger Helmer launched an attack on the prospective demolition of properties in Spain.

The Conservative criticised Spain for not respecting property rights.

“I am recommending that my constituents don’t buy in Spain,” he said.

Meanwhile Labour MEP Michael Cashman said Spain is suffering from significant amounts of corruption and branded it a “totalitarian country”.

He made the comments after numerous complaints by expatriates about their treatment in Spain.

Despite many investing their life savings in property and buying in good faith, their homes are said to breach Spanish laws and may be pulled down.

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 [email protected]


  1. We have a number of businesses in Spain all of which come under fire from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security which has a labour tribunal that treats businesspeople like criminals and fines and thousands for so called minor negelct which they imagine. It is dangerous to employ people here since they know how to use the system to extract fortunes from unguarded emplouyers. I was also expropriated from land I owned at the airport on which I established the first ever long term carpark which they did not have. I was paid a relative paltry sum of less than 5% its real value and not paid for the business or the ruin it would cuase it. I had to flee from there and accept the pittance by so called “mutual agreement” under threat. Behind the scene is a dictatorial base which works in unison – police – judiciary – local councils – political parties etc. It is very sinister and not difficult to invoke.

  2. This whole business of demolishing legally built homes (almost all owned by expats who opted to live in Spain for its “easygoing” lifestyle) is an absolute disgrace and an ongoing outrage. It has completely destroyed confidence on the part of overseas buyers in the Spanish property market, and decimated the Spanish real estate industry. Every time a family is evicted from their home, or a house is bulldozed, the images are published in newspapers and on TV programmes around he world. The message that is being sent out is very clear: Don’t buy property in Spain or you may lose your investment and find yourself homeless.
    What many Spaniards don’t seem to understand is that the Spanish property market to overseas buyers – and the tourist industry, with which it is intricately connected – is still the backbone of Spain’s economy, especially in coastal areas. Yet, instead of taking decisive action to resolve this deplorable situation, the authorities seem to be intent on making things worse instead of better. The regional authorities in Andalucia are applying the law retrospectively to declare legitimately built properties illegal. Thus, people who have lived in their homes for decades and settled into their local community now face the prospect of being evicted and having their homes razed to the ground.
    A Facebook campaign has been launched to oppose the demolitions. For further information go to:

  3. Sad isn’t it,that even the housebuyers that can prove to have bought in good faith,still have to pay the price (demolition),whilst the greedy,fraudulent ones (developers,ayuntamientos,lawyers),reap the rewards,and can move on to the next “suckers”.Only in Spain… and other 3rd world countries. Scandalous and shameful.

  4. Did anyone see the Sur In English 64 page supplement about buying a home in Spain. Not one mention of all the illegal builds, corrupt town halls and officials. What a joke that paper is – propoganda weekly.

  5. With reference to your comments posted in The Olive Press dated 25/3/2010. Whilst everyone here in Spain has some sympathy with ex pats who have purchased “illegal homes” There are some points that I would like to point out to you on this subject:-
    a. Not all provinces have these problems. Many buyers are more than happy with their homes in Spain.
    b. Please do not presume that all people who work in the property market are doing so just to take any client to the cleaners.Some of actually take great care of our clients as we both live and work in the same area. So subsequently we are around our patch every day. We do not wish to have to run down a side street when Mr & Mrs Blogs is walking up the road.
    c. Not all of the Town Halls act in this manner.
    d. From experience not all the clients that come to Spain to find a second home behave in ex-actually the way they would complete the purchase of a property Uk . Would any client purchase a house from a “man in the Pub” of course they would not.

    So in closing I will be looking forward to your reply. I do not know how much time you have actually spent in Spain but please do not tar us all with the same brush.
    Yours in Spain Phil Markham

  6. @ Phil Mrkham

    While it is true that not all areas have been affected by this problem, it has largely affected those areas that are – or, rather, were – most popular among buyers from abroad. And, in any event, the variation in laws and the way they are applied from one region to another is lost on most foreigners. All they see, in newspaper, magazine and TV reports, is that people from the UK, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and so on who bought property in Spain have either lost that property to the bulldozers, or are under threat of losing it.
    The impact this has had, and continues to have, on the Spanish economy – and particularly in Andalucia – cannot be understated. These demolitions have had a devastatingly negative effect on people’s perception of Spain as a place to live, visit, buy a holiday home or set up in business.
    It is difficult to see how the Spanish property market can possibly be revived – even when the recession ends – while homes continue to be demolished.

  7. Phil Markham,
    Would you be kind enough to pass on information, on where in Spain it would be safe to purchase a home?
    The laws in Spain work exceedingly slow, and proceedings mostly for many years behind closed doors, so unknowingly your legal property documents could at this very moment be revoked.
    We could then also have SOME sympathy for you.
    Your comments could also be construed as,”let´s celebrate, many are surviving”

  8. Please be so kind as to pass this information. From my own personnel experience, the province of Cadiz is more transparent than most. This are takes in from the the outskirts of Sotogrande right up to Jerez and the city of Cadiz on the Costa del Luz.The area of the Campo of Gibraltar takes in the towns of La Linea next to the boarder to Gib, San Roque, Estacion of San Roque, Pueblo Nuevo, Secerdero, San martin. These towns are all situated close to the beach at Sotogrande. Coming a little further in land are the towns of Casteller, Estacion of Jimena de la Frontera and Jimena de la Frontera (Where I actually live and work and have done for 5 years and truly enjoy it. For further information please get back in touch. Regards Phil Markham

  9. Phil,

    What about the swathe of illegal builds stretching along the coast from Tarifa through Bolonia, Zahara, Los Caños, El Palmar, Conil right up to one of the biggest “problem” towns in the whole of Andalucia, Chiclana?

  10. Phil,
    Many thanks for your information, on safe areas to buy a home in Spain.
    These areas are governed by the Junta de Andalucia, the very people abusing the human rights of European citizens rights with regards to their notorious methods of dealing with the Spanish property scandal. Also the same people who are indorsing the assistance of developers who are subject to criminal proceedures for their activities in building and selling illegal homes.
    Maybe I should listen to the man in the pub.

  11. Whilst I agree that we are all part of the Junta, The part where we live have not experienced the same problems that have been having to the east of Malaga. Another difference in this area is that we do not have miles of development so by extension keeping the client away from criminal activities.

  12. Phil you cannot keep your clients away from criminal activities, who do you think are the criminals?
    The criminals are the Junta de Andalucia, the local town halls, the lawyers, the developers, the builders, the estate agents, the banks and the judiciary.
    Even if you find a decent lawyer for your property transactions, they have to work within a corrupt system, so inevitable also become tainted. Remember your lawyer carries no liability for your clients losing their homes.
    We belong to a European community where many members have a much better record of protecting citizens rights.
    Why not try selling property in Morocco, still close to the UK and possibly much safer.


    The word “SPANISH” synoymous for the meaning “ODD AND TRICKY”.
    Eleven thousand Spanish home owners, mostly British, in the Almanzora Valley have been branded as criminals by the “Despot” of Andalucia, JUAN ESPADA, when he said all the owners of homes dictated to be illegal, will have to pay, NOT the criminal developers, builders, lawyers or authorities.
    What a shame, it will be many years before we trust a word coming out of the mouths of these Spanish authorities, “odd and tricky”
    Is it now time to let Spain know it is no longer a welcome member of the European Community?

  14. My comment/query relates to the process of fining owners for an illegal build. One would presume that the payment of the fine is the punishment. How then can the Junta square this with coming along at a later date to demolish the same property they have made money on, via the imposition of the fine ? Have the Junta ever considered an amnesty, thus allowing for a tidying up of the existing mess while ensuring that new builds would comply with all necessary updated planning legislation? It would seem to me that most of the costal area of Andalucia is illegally built, a problem for the national and international community who keep this economy afloat.

    The very people responsible for the “Property scandal”, victimising thousands of mainly elderly expatriates, generaly the weakest targets in our communities. These rats appear to be making plans to save their skins and run from the misery they have created.
    I understand the ministry for housing has been closed as an exercise in cost cutting. Can we assume that they are running scared and away frome the scenes of their crimes.
    Is it possible that their ill gotten gains are already lodged in Panama or Costa Rica?
    We should already be able to hear the time honoured.
    excuses, “those responsible are no longer in office”, or “we have to learn a lesson from this”.
    “COME ON SPAIN STOP KICKING THE WEAKEST IN YOUR COMMUNITIES”, a little democracy and decency will not go amiss

  16. We were thinking of retiring to Spain. Is there any where in Andalucia where we can legally buy a property. We are quite keen on Torrox and surrounding areas. Also, what are the roads like up to Competa and Vinuela. Any info. negative or otherwise would be helpful.

    Many thanks

  17. “Thinking of retiring to Spain” – Try contacting S.O.H.A (Save Our Homes Association).
    They should be in the best position to provide advice on buying a home safely.
    Advice from the legal profession should be treated with extreme caution.
    Good luck.

  18. Hi,

    It is still time for Buying Bank Owned Properties. I would say, probably, it is the best moment to get a house/flat for a really good good price.

    Those properties goes back to the mortgage company after an unsuccessful foreclosure auction. You see, most foreclosure auctions do not even result in bids. After all, if there was enough equity in the property to satisfy the loan, the owner would have probably sold the property and paid off the bank. That is why the property ends up at a foreclosure or trustee

    Now it is time to contact the banks directly. They have a big stock of properties

    Contact with the bank to express your interest in the property. When you call the foreclosing bank, you should ask for the REO (Real Estate Owned) department, bank-owned homes department or asset management department. Be patient and persistent at this point because it may take some time to get through to this department.
    If you have trouble contacting the bank by phone I CAN HELP YOU. I am Spainish (obviously We are a company and charge a small fees for doing all the process with you and the bank)

    [email protected]

    Good luck!

  19. “Buying bank owned properties”
    Be warned, unlike most other countries, bank owned properties in Spain, does not mean that you can assume they are legal.
    The Spanish regional and local governments still cannot agree on which properties are legal and still have not the slightest idea on finding a solution. Together with the corruption and dubious legal proceedings, not to buy in Spain seems like sound advice.

  20. Not true. The vast majority of Spanish properties are perfectly safe to buy. My company, Granada Properties, only handles properties whose legality has been checked out thoroughly by experienced property lawyers, and we have never sold a property in the ten years we’ve been in existence which subsequently turned out to be at risk in any way.
    Our advice to anyone from abroad thinking of buying property in Spain is to go ahead (while prices are at an all-time low: sooner or later they will rise to “normal” levels), but to make sure to have the property checked out by a local (preferably Spanish) lawyer who is familiar with the area, and who specializes in property law.
    From a business/investment point of view, there has never been – and there may never be again – a better time to buy property in Spain.

  21. Paul Z Martin,
    “Not True”, The vast majority of Spanish properties are perfectly safe to buy.
    That is just not good enough, approximately 250,000 homes in Spain, of dubious legal status, even if considered to be a minority, is far to high.
    How many lawyers did it take to create this scandal?
    How many illegal properties carry bank mortgages?
    How do we find out which properties are legal’, when not even the responsible governments know the answer.
    Please Paul, do not suggest that all the thousands of people with illegal Spanish properties are stupid.
    How would you suggest the victims of demolition orders, many elderly and infirm deal with the injustice. The judicial system is expensive and takes more time then many have available.
    Maybe you are also suggesting that the democratic vote in the European Parliament, accusing Spain of ignoring it´s citizens human rights with regards to “Spanish Homes Scandal”, is also not true.
    I would listen to the people doing their best to fight this injustice and scandal, once these problems are solved, then by all means make your money selling houses.

  22. Re: “It is still time for Buying Bank Owned Properties”
    Spanish Logic, an extract from an article by a Spanish lawyer.
    Lawyer Says:
    Dear Sir,
    This is a common blunder foreigners make on buying property in Spain. The logic behind this is that if a bank has to give you a mortgage on a property then, even if it’s for their own sake, they will make all the legal checks on the property verifying it is legal. In fact, why bother using a lawyer at all if the bank checks everything? The mistake underlying this flawed logic is that it’s not the bank’s job to check the legalities of a property and they simply don’t do it; it is your duty, as a buyer, to check them out.

  23. It would appear to be unwise to purchase in Spain during our lifetime! Such a shame,we have spent some very happy holidays in Andalucia. Perhaps Spain is best kept as a holiday destination and not as an investment in our future home.

  24. Rosaleen,
    Europe has many wonderful holiday destinations, why not consider some of them, at least until such time Spain ceases the persecution of your friends and their parents and grandparents.
    The mass of decent Spanish people are also the victims of their corrupt politicians. Sooner or later they will see through the propaganda and understand that elderly British retirees are not criminals, most come to Spain in their twilight years, in an attempt to enjoy some sunshine and immerse themselves within some of the Spanish culture.
    Many of the rogue politicians are already on the run, so hopefully, the rules and laws of decency will be restored and the time to invest will once again return.

  25. My Wife and I have travelled to Spain many times over the years, and love Contry and To a learge degree the Spanish Culture. Unfortunately there seems to a sub-culture running the Country…a band of powerful modern day thieves and thugs!

    It seems like Spain may have awoken from it’s long sleep to quickly, and enetered the modern world like a poor relative who decides murder is the best way to get what it wants.

    The metaphor may sound to strong, but I don’t believe so.

    Corruption at the level we see going on in Spain makes Mexico look like a modern marvel of democracy and human rights!

    The Spanish need to take there arrogance down a notch or two, and realize that true demacracy starts with fairness and justice for all, not just for developers, lawyers and politicians. This is called a DICTATORSHIP!

    In closing… we would love to buy a property in Spain, But to put it bluntly…We are sacred Shitless!! And we would not trust a single word that a Spainish lawyer, realtor or Bank might tell us about the legitimacy of a property in certain affected areas of Spain.

    Frankly is a “DICE ROLL” with hundreds of thousands of Euros of life savings. At our stage in life that represents a fatal risk if we purchase a nightmare!

    The best advice is to pressure Sapin through economic bouycot. Since it seems the dearest thing to some Spaniards hearts is money!

  26. A savage and brutal campaign.
    Spain is orchestrating a savage and brutal campaign against elderly British expatriates, plundering their homes and extorting as much as they can, to the point where many have already fled, abandoning all.
    An appropriate message to Spain, would be stay away and advocate sanctions.
    Support the victims of the 300,000, so called illegal homes in Andalucia alone, a possible 1000,000 inhabitants being persecuted by the savage Andalucian authorities.
    In the Almanzora valley, almost every week we hear about court cases asking for the demolition of homes all owned by British retired expatriates.
    An extract from The Junta de Andalucía’s new housing tzar, Rosa Urioste, at a recent meeting, she shrieked “We have rules and they must be obeyed”. Is it any wonder that many now find it expedient to abandon their homes and flee from Spain

  27. I have used two Spanish solicitors and they have both been bent. Don’t use the solicitor that is recommended by the estate agent, that is your first mistake. Don’t give them power of attorney, that would be another mistake. The problem is that if you try to do it by the book the estate agent will not want to sell you the house as they will not add their €20k on and receive in cash from their bent solicitor.

    My advice use the estate agent to find the owner and then go back and find out the real price and then negotiate and use your own independent solicitor. My estate agent and solicitor had €20,000 euros away. The solicitor is in Albox, and well known to many here.

  28. One more point, even when I had cancelled the power of attorney, he, the solicitor still went down to Banco de Andalucia to take money out of my account. It was not much money but learn from other peoples mistakes.

    All the people I have dealt with are bent. Probably 80% of this circle are crooks, so even if I knew only 5% were crooks, I would say you have to treat them all the same otherwise you will not be able to tell a good one from a bad one. Don’t trust anyone and you will not go far wrong in Spain. You would be better off taking out a long term rental in Spain and renting your house out in UK. Don’t forget in hospital your relatives have to look after you and feed you, the nurses do not. Better to have a place to come back to.

  29. Re:Comments by reap on Spanish solicitors.
    Only two, you have been lucky so far.
    Watch out for the Spanish lawyer, Antonio Raya, based in Almeria,a real “con man”, under investigation and subject to criminal proceedings.
    Does one of the albox solicitors operate near the BP Station?
    Does the cther other have a name like a motor manufacturer?
    We have to be careful here.
    How many lawyers does it take to create 300,000 illegal homes

    There is confusion over whether their homes are safe as the government has refused to give details. One government official played down the threat. He said: ‘We’re not talking about mass demolitions here. It would be done on a case by case basis, and only in isolated cases.’
    Consider the words of the Andalucian minister for housing, 300,000 illegal homes, followed by her comments of, ” We have rules and they must be obeyed”,
    Even if they succeed on a case by case bases, it would create a greater catastrophy then the demolition of Seville the capital city of Andalucia.
    “Have they gone completly mad?

  30. RE: Licensing Realtors In Spain…One Thing at a Time!

    In my opinion the whole mess is easily traked to it’s ultimate source…REALTORS! In Spain you can become an unlicensed, Un-literate, Un-reliable, Un-honest and Un-accountable agent and liar for the most important purchase in any human beings life!

    Without penalty of law, for misleading or outright fraud, why would realtors involved in land deals act any differently? It’s the Wild West all over again!

    In almost every civilized country in the free world Realtors are licensed, and accountable to an association, governed by the laws of the land. If they committ breaches of trust they are subject to (a)Cancellation of their license, and if appliaclbe prosecution by the courts of the land.

    As long as Spain treats buying and selling of propery in Spain as a simply “Grocery shopping trip”! you will have carpetbaggers infesting the business!

    The first start to strighting out this mess is to weed out the realtors involved in multiple fraudulent transactions, which is probably about 90% of all who have specialized in holiday home sales in Spain. Now license the “profession” and train them to a high standard of morel and ethical behaviour while conducting business. This subjects them to penalties that included exclusion from practicing Realestate sales (Cancelled license or Criminal Prosecution) if found in contravention of the Standards and rules in Place!

    You know what they say “Shit Rolls Down Hill” It all starts with these people…REALTORS!

    Finally, This horrible practice of properties listed with multiple agents…how much confidence does an astute buyer have in a market where you will see the same house listed with 12 agents starting at 125,000 and going all the way to 200,000!!!!

    Multiple listings contrary to what sellers might think will not only slow down the sale of your property. but will leave buyers suspicious.

  31. Well, HMS, you certainly have it in for “realtors” (or estate agents as they are known on this side of the Atlantic).
    Estate agent bashing is always a popular sport, of course, but the fact of the matter is, however, that the current problem was not caused by estate agents, but by incompetent and dishonest officials.
    Contrary to the myth – which you obviously believe – most estate agents are honest and hard-working. Yes, of course there are a few sharks in the water (as there are in every profession); but by and large estate agents do a great job in the face of an archaic and unnecessarily complex bureaucratic system which conspires to make even the simplest legal transaction lengthy and problematic.

    The “horrible practice” of sellers listing their properties with multiple agents only exists because most sellers are not prepared to sign an exclusive right to sell contract with a single agency, which is the norm in most other countries. Try looking at it from the agent’s point of view. Agents are presented with a property to sell, and then, after they have invested time, energy and money in finding a buyer (this can involve creating website listings, visiting and taking photos of the property, corresponding with potential buyers, and driving long distances on multiple occasions to show the property), they discover that the property has already been sold by another agency.
    The “free for all” is dictated by the sellers, not the agents, most of whom would much prefer to handle sales on an exclusive contractual basis (whereby they are guaranteed to receive a commission when the property is sold).
    It is also not at all unusual for sellers to quote different sale prices to different agencies.

    What needs to happen is for the government of Spain to declare an amnesty on all residential properties that were built “illegally” but with the approval of local authorities. The people who bought these properties bought them in good faith. The government then needs to give an absolute assurance that no residential property bought in the future with local authority approval will be demolished.
    Unless and until buyers are made to feel 100% confident that the Spanish property they buy will not under any circumstances be threatened with demolition, the market will never fully recover.

  32. Well, Paul Z. Martin

    Why should I not attack the very people who turned a blind eye to sales of land for the purpose of urban contruction knowing full well that the land was Rustico zoned!

    Having a unregulated, unlicensed, unaccountable sales force transacting slaes on illegal properties is not Agent bashing as you call it, it’s simplty the truth.

    In most civilized countries even a door to door vacuum cleaner sales man has to be licensed!

    So in your esteemed opinion letting realestate agents go unregulated will help towards cleaning up this cancerous situation????

    Regulation of realtors would go along way to weed out the crooks, sure many cooks would slide under the crack at first but given time they will revert to there crooked ways and loose their license. The way it stands now you can lie, cheat and commit outright fraud and get away with it.

    These people have to operate under a standardized code of ethics, not the law of the jungle!

    Oh..and how about the exhorbitant fees realtors charge in Spain…as high as 20%!!!!! The average is 12%

    The average for North American agents is 3-6%

    British Agents 3-6%

    Why do people get stuck with high fees…because the industry can get away with it!

    There are no Competing Agencies, just thousands of Merceneries!

    Case in point: Property listed on Kyero in the Almanzaro Valley near Zurgena. I contacted listing agent and asked if property was legal. I was informed it most certainly was, upon getting the calle I went to http://www.goolzoom.com/
    did the Castro+ search for the property found it and checked the status…GUESS WHAT… Shows as RUSTICO!!!
    The house is on illegal land for Urbanization. Traslation Illegal Build, probably why it’s a bank repo the owners fleed before they would be fined as well as pay for their own demolition! Do you think the gaents, lawyers, town hall did not know when they gave a building permit?

    By the way, I’am a licensed realetate agent in Canada.

    PS. Try to find any news stories about illegal sales and bad faith dealings with agents in Canada…you won’t find any, you know why? We are regulated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You should be ashamed of yourself and your profession if you are as I suspect, in the realestate business.

  33. Reading this I find people who are perfectly happy to call us thugs, thiefs, dictatorial, liars… I have just one thing to say, you won’t see me (and I dare to believe that many others also) shedding tears in dispair at the airport when you decide to leave this “iraqui-like” nation.

  34. RE: Carlos

    Of course now it’s time to recriminate! This is the last vestage of the coward!

    I tell you what Carlos, Why don’t we do a test, OK. Lets get all the local realtors in the area to a conference room and ask those who have been ripped off in a illegal build scam In the area to raise their hands. I would be willing to bet my life savings not one would raise their hand!

    Every profession has a culture, and part of that culture is imperical information relating to the profession that others do not know, such as where the problems with illegal land sales are happening and such.

    My point in all of this was not to paint realtors as villans but rather, out of control children in a candy shop!

    You said “ARAQUI LIKE NATION” not me! If you read all of my comments you would of seen the one where I clearly stste I love Spain! Do I have to love the realtors there as well to receive you approval.

    I can see from the comments and another posted, the attacks are coming from bitter agents who’s “gravy train is over”

    I’m not the one sending in 15000 petitions to Brussells, I’m not the one marching down the streets in Malaga by the thousands, I’m not the estimating over 300,000 illegal builds exist, which took 300,000 agents to sell. Maybe you would like to send all those people packing as well!

    I would think that honest agents would welcome regulation, this would clean up the profession, and add safety to the process, Why, becuase now the spanish government would be forced to revamp is antiquated land registry system.

    So you go on Carlos crying and moaning for the good old days when all you needed was your “six shooter” and plenty of ducks were flying around!


  35. 6th July 2010
    Zapatero rejects Mugabe comparison
    The Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, angrily rejected comparisons between Spain and Zimbabwe made by the UKIP MEP, Marta Andreasen in the plenary session of the EU Parliament yesterday.
    Just look how quickly the figures of 250,000 illegal homes have increased to 300,000, consider the Junta de Andalucia succeeding with their plans, the demolition of Andalucia´s capital city of Seville would pale into insignificance.
    Carlos you can then wave goodby to your gravy train.

  36. You sound like a very angry individual, HMS. You seem to have a particular axe to grind. However, you really are way off base with your comments. Again, the problem of homes being demolished was not caused by estate agents, but by incompetent and corrupt local officials. The whole system here in Spain, in which the government’s left hand doesn’t know what its right hand is doing, creates too many grey areas – “no man’s land” – in which the crooks and the “cowboys” are free to operate. As you said yourself, the land registry system here is antiquated. However, it is ridiculous to blame estate agents for this state of affairs. The multiple layers of bureaucracy that are such a distinctive feature of Spanish life, government and law are remnants of the Franco era. Estate agents in Spain have to navigate through a jungle of red tape and rules that change from one day to the next, and from one government to the next. This state of affairs is in no-one’s interests, least of all estate agents, the vast majority of whom are trying to do their job to the best of their ability in an environment of corrupt government and council officials and shifting sand regulations.
    Estate agents don’t have any power. They don’t make the rules or set the policies. Regulating estate agents is not going to change the basic problem here, which is rooted in the incompetence and dishonestay which pervades every layer of Spanish bureaucracy. Reform has to take place from the top down, not from the bottom up.
    Those who are now trying to scapegoat estate agents for the crisis in the real estate industry are merely trying to misdirect people’s attention from the real culprits.

  37. You sound like a “HORSES ASS” What would you know about me?

    Pro agent..are you one?

    Your anology is like placing unlicensed untrained pilots in the drivers seat of planes, an then, when they fall out of the sky, claim the industry is at fault!

    It’s the old blame game…everybody pointing the finger at everyone else.

    We all know the whole system is to blame that is exactly the point I made, and you missed it!

    So in your conspiracy theory, who do you think I’m working for? Or I guess you think I’m an evil man who just decided to pick on the poor agents in Spain.

    If some opf these properties built on illegal land were as early as the mid nineties, don’t you think it is possible that many agents were aware of the problem, and said noting to their clients?

    Another fact that has eluded you, many agents are Spanish who must of known full well what was going on in Spain.

    What about the new offplan builds being sold by “AGENTS” and “DEVELOPERS” knowing full well they were going under! Did those agents say anything or resign?

    They would of been talking if they knew they were under threat of prosection if they commited fraud!

    The way it stans right now, you and your bretheren can say and do anything you want and get away with it!

    Stop trying to “Kill The Messenger” and clean up your own house first! The profession needs to be regulated like verywhere esle in the FREE WORLD!


  38. A most interesting thread that has the andrenalin pumping.

    It is good to see a realtor/agent like Paul talking directly in a forum like this. Paul, you gave a link to your website and I had a look, and I have a few questions.

    Can I ask what your job title actually is? If I look at your website it does not say what you actually do. Are you a licensed UK estate agent, a virtual agent, an unlicensed web-based property reseller, a licensed Spanish agent, or something else?

    You also don’t seem to have any houses for sale on your website, which is a bit strange given you are “the South of Spain’s leading property website”. Does this mean that you just re-market other agents houses? I typed in lots of town names in Granada and not many houses turned up. There were a lot of broken links.

    Also, do you comply with Decree 218? And why is your company registered in the UK? Why not register in Spain, if you are dealing in Spanish real estate? Do you think a website with hardly any houses for sale and no other advice or information can really be described as the “South of Spain’s leading property website?

    By the way, you have a very nice office address just off Drury Lane in London. Can clients call in at this address as I am in High Holborn to see a client soon. Thanks!

    Now even the Spanish Prime Minister points his finger at the housing sector, amongst others that includes the estate agents.
    SPANISH PM Jose Luis Zapatero said he was ‘indignated’ by the comments made by a British MEP after she drew a comparison between Spain’s illegal housing problems affecting British expatriates to the colonial repossessions in Zimbabwe under President Mugabe.
    Addressing Zapatero at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday MEP Marta Andreasen said: “You have done nothing to resolve the menace affecting hundreds of thousands of people across Spain who face confiscation and demolition of their houses.” She told Zapatero that 300,000 houses are affected in Andalucia alone
    She said one of her constituents wrote to her saying he “fears he is facing a situation similar to that experienced by British subjects at the hands of President Mugabe in Zimbabwe, and wonders why he receiving this treatment in a friendly European country.”
    Zapatero expressed his indignation at the accusations by Andreasen stating “I cannot accept the comparison that has been made” and that Spain “respects and enforces the laws”. He added that “we feel for the people, in this case British, who have been victims of fraud by the housing sector.”
    This was the second time Andreasen blasted Spain’s handling of the housing issues affecting British expatriates in Spain, the first being in January 2010.

  40. @ Fred,

    I am not here to promote my own business or to defend dishonest or incompetent estate agents. Nor am I claiming that all estate agents are blameless. But there are crooks in every profession. The estate agent business is no different from any other: the vast majority of agents are honest and take their work seriously. The problem, as I have said, is that they are forced to operate in a quagmire of contradictory and shifting sand rules and regulations. Properties that are deemed to be fully legal one government department are deemed to be illegal by another. This is not the fault of estate agents. This is a problem that arises when local authorities are given partial autonomy without proper ongoing accountability, and when there is a lack of consistency across the whole system.

    Regarding our website, the reason our property database is currently down is because the site was recenly hacked by self-styled “Marxist activists” (“all property is theft”, apparently) and we are having new software installed. I’m not aware of any broken links on the site, however, and I will certainly look into that.

  41. Paul, I find your reply strange. I mean I don’t know of any person in business who doesn’t want to promote their own business. You don’t, it seems. Also, you did not answer any of the very simple and reasonable questions that I put to you? Is it not reasonable to ask what your title is and what you actually do?

    I would say that you are doing nothing to improve the image of your own company, indeed your response actually arouses more suspicion.

  42. Fred,
    I find it strange that you see office address on my website which, as far as I am aware, are not there. And broken links that no-one here can find (could you be more specific?)
    My website is at the top of all the main search engines, and at the moment – for the reasons I explained – we don’t have a property database (in fact most of the site was destroyed by the hackers and is currently under reconstruction). But if it makes you feel better I’ll come back and promote my site when the database is running again. Right now we have more prospective buyers than properties to offer them.
    As to what I do, I would have thought that was obvious. I run (as in I own) an online real estate business. I find buyers for people with properties to sell. My site also carries listing from sellers who want to sell directly, without going through estate agents.

  43. Paul, if you had a backup of your data, you could restore your property database in a few minutes, no? Did the Marxist hackers erase your backup as well?

    And are you saying you have a lack of properties to sell? There have never been more houses for sale! Couple of million at the last count I recall. As for your broken links, there are online tools that do all this stuff; try Google.

    Your office address is on your public domain record alongside the incorrect Spanish phone and fax numbers. Oh and btw, that Ryanair logo could do with removing as they departed Granada I recall, and now only fly to a couple of non-UK destinations.

    It would make me feel so much better if you could come back and promote your website on here, when it is rebuilt, of course. I’m sure others will comment in due course too.

  44. Hi Paul, it goes against the grain, I´ll help you and your prospective clients out.
    I live in Spain under duress and consider myself a hostage.
    An opportunity for you to sell my beautiful Spanish home, well below title deed value, just to escape from Spain.
    That should be one less client waiting for their Spanish dream.

  45. Well, I must say it’s very nice of you to go to the trouble of critiquing my website (though I don’t quite see how it is relevant to the current discussion).

    Did the Marxist hackers erase our backup too? Actually, yes, they did. They hacked into the root server and compromised at least 200 websites, including ours. The backup real estate software was left intact, but all the property listings, including photos etc., were permanently deleted. (Our web host is 4Domains.com. I’ll be happy to fowarward their acknowledgement of this hacking attack if you are really interested.) We are now having to install new software and retrieve the details of all the properties that were on our database from emails and other correspondence. Which is, of course, a major headache.

    Are we short of properties to sell? Well, actually yes. Even before our website was hacked and our database destroyed (it contained over 800 properties), we were having trouble finding houses for sale in certain areas, particularly in the over 300k price range.

    Regarding broken links, we can’t find any. If you are finding broken links, please let me know where they are so that I can have them repaired.

    Ryanair logo: Approximately 50% of our buyers are Irish, and Ryanair flies to Malaga, which, unfortunately, is the airport they now have to use to get to Granada.

    And now that we’ve discussed my website and all the things that you think are wrong with it – do you actually have any thoughts to contribute to the subject under discussion?

  46. You’re welcome Paul. Critiquing websites is probably a full time profession for some and it is probably highly paid as well, so you’re getting it for free and should be grateful lol. A person who accepts constructive criticism is always a good businessperson I find.

    As for the Marxist Hackers, well what do you expect if you keep your backup on the same computer? Backups should always be kept separate.

    As for you having or owning an “online real estate business”, what you really mean to say is that you own a “website” that displays some properties for sale and shows some associates that you may or may not use in any subsequent transactions? Do you employ all of these people shown on your website?

    I would urge anyone considering purchasing a property to only use a licensed estate agent who conforms to Decree 218 and who has an insurance scheme in place. They do exist, just look in the OP, so why should I use you?

    Nothing else to add really; my opinions on the mad Spanish property system can be seen across the various other threads. This is a forum for discussion and you provided a link to your website, which I am in turn discussing. Looking forward to seeing the new website…

  47. Dear Paul,

    You know, you are a real winer! Also, you seem to like to put yourself in the middle of the lions cage and then scream for help.

    My web site this, and Ryanair air that, and bla bla bla…At least you are entertaining from a comedy standpoint.

    The comment made regarding your london address was refering to your domain contact information which is (in case you didi not know) public information. One just needs to do a whois for any IP or domain (web site name) and the information is available. I guess you forgot or just pulled that address out of your hat?

    Yes, Paul you have done much to further the rights and cause of all those poor and suffering realstate agents operating in Spain!

    Lets fix everything else that’s funadamentaly wrong with the
    property system in Spain, but let the agents continue in their untrained, unregulated, unrespected, overpaid, practices.

    OK Paul…You Da Man!

  48. Screaming for help? You’re confusing me with somebody else. We’ve never been busier.
    You asked me about my website and, out of courtesy, I replied. Now you’re berating me for talking about “my website”!
    Let’s get it straight. I’m all in favour of regulating the real estate industry. I just don’t happen to think that this has anything to do with the problem of houses being deemed “illegal” and demolished. As usual, of course, it is estate agents – the majority of whom, I repeat, are honest and hard-working – who are made scapegoats for problems that are rooted in the (antiquated and corrupt) system.

  49. Like I said ZAK, you just can’t keep up with the threads…Fred commented on your web site! I merely followed up with the comments about your address which you found perplexing, as you stated it was not published on your web site (Granada Properties
    27 Old Gloucester Street
    London WC1N 3XX
    London, Wc!N 3XX
    You really need to remove that huge chip from your shoulders, and get some help for your “persecution complex”

    No one asked you too take the vanguard for all the realtors in Spain…That you did yourself, hence the comment about your screaming and crying about the woes of the poor agents in Spain!

    Seems to me, what you would like to see happen is the whole system revamped, except agents…I can see why, who would want to mess up the great deal you folks have had for years…Maybe the 300,000 who are up shit creek!

  50. Hi Pedro, “what should you look out for”.
    I would suggest you accumulate professional advice and information.
    Visit at least six lawyers, a few Notaries and as many major estate agents, your town hall planning department, go through the internet,seek out your local action group, they are busy fighting urban abuse, these people employ town planning specialist and legal advisors, they will give you the real picture.
    Assimilate and do not trust anyones advice, no matter what wonderful legal titles they have.
    It is all very time consuming, just do not bury your head in the sand.
    The Spanish PM´S advice “Spain respects and enforces the laws”. you should disregard completely.
    The Andalucian housing ministers ranting, “that we have rules and they must be obeyed”, is also a lot of nonsence.
    Always remenber a legal binding contract, in Spain, is not worth the paper it´s written on.
    If it is not too late try to get out, otherwise prepare to defend yourself against local authorities extortion, they are all out to raise revenue.
    You are in Spain, try not to apply logic.
    If you are religious, pray a lot.

  51. It amazes me that there are still thousads of pidgeons out there? People who apparently never read the papers, watch the news on tele, or do any checking on the internet except to use the search string “dream vacation home in Spain” If you are reading this and have not already purchased in Spain my advice would be to nothing…but definately use these search strings on the internet and have you eyes opened wide!

    1. Valencia land grabs
    2. Mayors arrested in Spain
    3. Nightmare in Andalucia
    4. Spains Disgrace
    5. Almanzora illegal builds
    6. Andalucias illegal homes
    7. Almeria illegal builds
    8. Albox illegal builds
    9. Zurgena illegal builds
    Finally go to, http://almanzora-au.org/index.htm

    Don’t mean to be depressing, just want people to know the facts and stop buying in Spain until the existing wrongfully scammed owners are protected and no other foreign buyers are dupped the future!

    Those that have contributed to their own demise through their own greed should of course pay the consequences for their actions. But these people are far and few between, the vast majority were just plain ripped off!

    So remember…when the agents and lawyers tell you the paper work is legal, even though they know it probably is not, they are technically telling the truth but moraly lieing through there teeth because they probably know this paperwork is worthless if the regional authorities exam it later on down the road they will deem it illegal if it meets the criteria! One day you are legal the next you are looking out the window for the bulldozer…Disgraceful!!

    It would appear in Andalucuia,registered properties with title deeds, and note simple are more conspicuous, consequently more likely to be the subject of legal proceedings and demolition orders. These properties readily identified by the Junta de Andalucia, for their political wranglings with local authorities.
    Whatever their motivation, foreign settlers become a target and collateral damage.
    Which ever way you look at it, Spain has decided to solve their problems by attacking the most vulnerable and defenceless, cowardly and short sightedly.
    Comments welcome.

  53. HMS,
    yes there are plenty of pidgeons out there, why – just google – books on buying a home in Spain.

    I did just this only a couple of months ago – there was’nt one book that warned about the nightmare of buying in Spain. Personally I think that these ‘authors’ are complicit in the whole embroglio.

    Dunn – I see you have picked up my baton, well done mate. You will of course be abused by those with vested interests, just as I was.

    Just for a moment forget the whole corruption thing and look at the fundamentals – Spain is trapped in an ongoing desertification. It is paying a huge price for the stupidity of previous generations cutting down the once great forests without replanting. The top soil long gone, so reforestation is impossible.

    What’s left – two points which are incontravertable – all Spanish housing is crap built and will collapse when the big quakes hit – the whole Med coastline is on a fault line running from southern France to Agadir in Morocco.

    Water – the most important element in our lives. The Spanish have no idea how to handle water in an intelligent way. They squander this most precious substance on golf courses and the insane way they irrigate.

    So even if your house is deemed legal, it is crap built and your water supplies are almost exhausted.

    There was an excellant article in the FT(Financial Times) just over a year ago that painted a picture that was truly frightening in it’s implications – by 2050 (no problem for me, long gone) the whole of southern Europe will be permanently drought stricken – that includes the whole of Spain/90% of France/90% of Italy/Greece/Portugal and north Africa.

    Instead of wasting vast sums of money on Metro systems for small cities like Seville and Granada (trams would have been far cheaper)and a TGV train system when what they needed was dedicated freight lines, the Spanish need to build more and more desalination plants.

    These fundamental points are far more important than the illegal builds. Yes I know there are so many innocent foreigners petrified at the thought of the bulldozer arriving tomorrow but these are points that cannot be ignored.

    I selected the Guadix area as the only possible place for us to live in Andalucia simply because of the huge aquifier that lies beneath – I give this aquifier 20 years max. because when the snows fail year after year in the Nevadas, the levels will drop dramatically.

    Don’t accept a word I say – check it out for yourselves.

    The ministers at the Junta de Andalucia have worked hard over the last few years to resolve the problem of 250,000 illegal homes. We have had many reassuring words, “stay calm, don´t be concerned, it may not happen,we are doing everything possible, and we must remember, that in Spain, the law is the law”. How many elderly expatriates living in Spain were reassured by those words? These “Despots”, who succeeded in terrorising thousands of the most vulnerable European settlers have now been sacked, many of us breathed a sigh of relief, wonderful news, at long last the authorities have come to their senses. Unbelievable, but true we have a new Minister for housing, who is also working hard to resolve the illegal housing problems, with her slogan, “we have rules and they must be obeyed” and another reassuring message to stay calm, we should not be worried as the illegal homes would be dealt with on a case by case bases and not be demolished all at once.
    So after all the hard work put in by these “buffoons” the figures for illegal homes has increased to 300,000.
    In the Almanzora valley a figure of 1200 illegal homes was bandied about some four years ago, many voiced their opinions that these were largely exaggerated, again after much hard work and many promises over the last few years, these figures increased to an approximate 5000 to 6000.
    With these sort of numbers the Junta has now taken things serious, working even faster and harder, an Inspection team to collect an inventory of housing, of course they have learnt some lessons and know what they are doing.
    They nominate a reputable local company, which markets illegal houses built and sold by their boss who is subject to criminal proceedings.
    Now with an illegal homes builder and developer onboard, we would, if nothing else expect the numbers to be reduced.
    Having calmed our fears with explanations of work going on as fast as possible for a solution to these problems, we now find 11000 illegal homes in the Almanzora valley and an escalation of court hearings with charges for more and more demolitions.
    The Junta de Andalucia has already threatened the victims with the bill for legalising their homes. It does not take a lot of savvy who benefits by these increased number of illegal properties.

  55. Dear José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero,

    Mr Zapatero was again on the 10th of July lambasted in EU parliment for land abuses being perpetrated against Expats (illegal builds) and Spaniards alike (Valencia land grabs)!

    He, as we have been accustomed to from Spanish officials is defensive and accusatory, and as usual he offers no concrete evedence that his government is neither willing or even interested in amending the land laws in question!

    What arrogance…something we have come to expect from bull headed (no pun intended) Spanish officials at almost all levels.

    I wonder how mr. Zapatero would like it if cops showd up at his residence with demolition orders for a new shopping strip mall? Would he shout loudly…”We have Laws!!!” I was just kicked in the ass by them!

    This type of colonial mentality is still present in the people breed specifically to rule, they are totaly out of touch with reality.

    Dear Mr. President; as a person who fashions himself as a ‘Moderate who beleives in Social Democracy’ don’t you think that the land issues at this time, are paramount to a ‘Social Democracy’

    FYI: The president is also an avid trout fisherman. I would of thought that would make hime much more sympathetic and willing to take action, as a guy who likes fishing can’t be all bad!

  56. Re: The rogue lawyer Antonio Raya
    loverose, I would be more then happy to share information with you and anyone else, regarding this “con man´s” activities.
    He is subject to legal proceedings, so the sooner he gets dragged to court the safer it will be for his potential victims.

  57. Thank you for your comment Dunn.I am in the UK. Could you let me have your email address and if possible a telephone number for yourself so that I can fully explain the situation to you as Mr Raya is asking for more money from the person that I know after he has already passed over a large sum of money.
    Alternatively please email me [email protected]. Many thanks.

  58. Hello Dunn, I have not heard anything from you but really need to hear the information you have on Antonio Raya. You have my email address. Would you contact me on that please?

  59. loverose has been contacted
    Here is another warning, PROYME INGENIEROS CONSULTORIA, S.L.,in Albox, Almeria are again advertising, claiming to be in a position to solve all your housing problems, legal or structural, promoting themselves as being closely associated with a number of town halls. Be warned they are even more closely associated with building and fraudulantly selling illegal,substandard properties and are at present waiting a verdict regarding their criminal activities.

  60. hi
    I have not seen any comments lately.
    Have things got better for you all in Spain.
    I live in Ireland and would soon like to buy a property.
    We holiday in Spain every year and love it but is now a time to buy and how can you tell if you are buying legally or not just being dumped with a house someone else is selling because they are trying to flee.
    Is this land crab/house demolision just in certain parts or all over Spain.
    How do the Spanish know where to buy, its their country after all.

  61. Dear John. Its not all bad. We bought an old farmhouse and land near Ronda, Andalucia 5 years ago. No problems with the paperwork. The lawyer was very helpful and answered all my paranoid questions religiously !
    We are by a small, clean river, with our own spring for veg. and plant watering. The neighbours are lovely – very friendly and helpful. Its an old house so could fall down in an earthquake, but I hope not !
    Parts of Spain are desert-like, eg near Almeria where they made the spaghetti westerns, but around Ronda is one of the wettest places in Spain (rain from the atlantic hitting the nearby mountains). Just be cautious and think things through for yourself – new build is probably the riskiest buy.

  62. John and Kestel:

    Of COURSE it is not all bad! In fact it is a minority who have encountered problems, for a variety of reasons.

    It is vital, vital, to do the homework before buying anything. There are good and ethical lawyers here in Spain. It is good to find a lawyer on a recommendation (not a recommendation from the property agent). Important to interact with the lawyer, ask questions, take notes, then ask more questions. Make sure you are satisfied. Cheapest is not best, by any means. As with most things in life you get what you pay for. As a colleague of mine is wont to say: “Pay peanuts and you get monkeys”. Try to get that word “cheap” out of your vocabulary. Buying an apartment or house is a big undertaking, no matter where you are doing it. It is not the same as buying a designer dress or even a car. So take great pains to ensure everything is as you would want it.

    Best wishes

  63. Patricia should have also told you that doing your homework is very difficult when as many lawyers do not do proper due dilligence. Also, most of the paperwork on property registers is incorrect and out of date, and of course town halls have been incorrectly issuing building certificates and other meaningless pieces of paper (for decades in some cases) when they should not have been.

    The crux of it is that it is almost impossible to find out if a property is 100% legal, indeed people are now just finding out that the properties that they have been living in for decades are retrospectively illegal. All of those people were paying taxes as well of course.

    John and Kestel: Visit the websites of organisaions such AUN, SOHA, AULN etc etc to see a bit of reality. You should also ask yourself why all these organisations exist if there’s no problem in Spain’s legal and planning sectors? Personally, I would suggest you purchase in a EU country that has a proper land registry and who respect human rights in such matters. Spain does not, unfortunately. Being “in the EU” in Spain is meaningless and you will get zero sympathy when things go wrong, even if you are totally blameless.

  64. Hi Guys
    I have been interested in buying in Spain for a long time and the time for this to happen could be next year.
    Where I live we have a proper land registry and buying procedure.
    The problem is this in Spain and correct me if I am wrong in any way.
    It seems in Spain there appears to be no control under law and if it is not under law it is not worth the paper it is not written on.
    Am I correct to say there is no proper land registry, no proper searches by solicitors, corruption at every level, no law to control estate agents ethics, no protection at all for buyers of property under law, no justice even if one has been conned by the state officials/solicitors/town halls/estate agents/sellers/courts system/developers/ land and property speculators and no protection under European legislation.
    And of course then the nightmare of not knowing if you will
    lose everything when ever the failed system wants to change what it has allowed you to do in the first place.
    Is this all correct and if so why would someone buy in spain.

  65. John:

    Hundreds of thousands of people have bought in Spain (not just British but other nationalities) and the majority of these people have not encountered problems. Which means that evidently proper parameters are in place.
    Certainly, and very unfortunately, a minority of people have, to put it bluntly, been conned. Rogue estate agents (and to be fair the majority were British estate agents) simply waltzed people into very unsuitable deals. In the boom years there was a gold rush, people, I am sorry to say, often did not even think of what they were doing.

    The Land Registry does exist, you can obtain a Land Charges Certficate, and check the registry to see if there are charges registered against a property, the same as anywhere else. IMO it is important to take certain scare-mongering with a grain of salt.
    This is purely a personal view, but I would never buy anything off-plan.
    If you have ideas of buying, visit the area personally, talk to people who already have bought and live there, ask questions, and buy something that is up and built.

  66. Equally, it is also important to take people who say everything is ok with the property sector with a grain of salt. Most are estate agents or have an interest. Buying something that is up and built is slightly better, but it’s by no means a guarantee that everything is ok. People have lived in places for years only to then find problems.

    Be very careful John. You only have to read on this blog about how expats are treated by Spain when things go wrong.

    It is not the issue that only a minority are affected. That “minority” could extend to hundreds of thousands of people and it is the treatment of those people when they are blameless that is the real worry. They get their electric and water cut off forever, they get fines and interest on fines, they get zero tolerance from their local authority etc. Not good, not nice.

    Do you want to live in a country that treats people badly in scenarios where the system conned them?

  67. Gosh. What paranoia! LOL.
    Not everyone posting on a forum is a “property agent”. Sure, there will be some who will put a spin on things and there may well be property agents who post here.
    Of course, EVERYTHING is not O.K. in the property sector. Prices continue to fall, houses are not being sold, and this applies not just to Spain, but also elsewhere. I can only go by people I know who have bought property, some of them decades ago, and not one has encountered a problem. I actually have a couple of acquaintances who are buying in Spain as I write. It goes without saying that I gave them all the cautioning in the world, so they are going into the transactions with their eyes open.
    In the scheme of things, people will buy where they like, be it in Spain, or elsewhere.


  68. I am confused
    That is why I am asking i hope the correct questions and putting them to real people with no vested interested one way or the other.
    I think the problem for me anyway is the apparent lack of responsibility by the local/ regional/ country wide and European authorities on this.
    If due diligence is observed when buying a property in respect of employing the services of a solicitor, not jumping in to a deal that is too good to be true, getting all your paper work in order, obtaining deeds of ownership and paying all your fees to the local authority for the utility services and obtaining your proof of ownership and all the maps.
    But still run the risk some day that you will be forced from your home by government thugs after all that you have done according to the law and its servants to buy your property.
    How can thousands of homes including high rise apartment complexes get built without the proper planning being in force yet they are recognised by the authorities for years in order that they can collect your taxes and utility bills.
    Road maintenance, street cleaning/lighting/ rubbish collection etc etc how can all this be in place if the properties are not legal.
    Why have all these solicitors/ real estate agents/local authority official’s/mayors etc etc who have conned people not been sued and put in prison.
    Did all these so called professionals not have insurance and be liable.

    Example: Buying a new property in Albox (2004-2008), from a respectable builder, with licenses issued by the Hunta, with a final Habitacion certificate issued, everything should be fine right…WRONG! Along comes the same corrupt local government years later issuing letters of demolition as the property is most ILLEGAL!

    YOUR RECOURSE: ZERO…NADA…ZILTCH…NIET! Over 100,000 home owners from Valencia to Cadiz face this problem and are fighting it as we speak!

    And to you Patricia, this is PARANOIA? I think you need to pull your head out of what ever 300 foot hole it presently resided in!

    No one is saying Spain is’nt a beuatiful country, and extremely desirable to Norther Europeans, but the Spanish system of property rights and corruption that has taken place is unprecedented in any western domacracy to date!

    Ther only way to pressure the Spanish government to change it’s predatory ways is to BOYCOTT! Do not buy in Spain until the current property mess is sorted out and current owners involved in this shameful scam are made wholely legal, and in the future propery owners have legal rights and remedies, not just a knock on the door, or a secret hearing and viola your property is demmed illegal and the papers and titles you have are toilet paper!

    Get it Patricia!

  70. What is your problem HMS? LOL. My goodness. You need an anger management course, if all you can do is shout at people and be insulting. Oh dear!
    Talking of “get it”. You need to GET a psychiatrist.


  71. John, it is confusing and quite astonishing that these problems in Spain have arisen. Astonishing too that Spain actually gets away with this behaviour whilst being a full member of the EU (for now at least). I know it is an isolated case, but look at the Priors. They are living in a converted garage for 3 years since their house was illegaly demolished. No compensation, no justice. A risky business indeed.

    “and this applies not just to Spain, but also elsewhere. ”

    Patricia, please show us the stories of other European countries where hundreds of thousands of homes are made retrospectively illegal after people have all the necessary paperwork. Don’t get me wrong, if you build a Cortijo out of a goat shed then you deserve demolition, but the cases being fought by AUN and SOHA et al are not about that.

  72. John: I am not surprised you are confused. I repeat: of course there are and were problems, in some areas, and in others not. Otherwise every single building in the country would be demolished. LOL.

    There are angry people out there who have, unfortunately, got entangled in problems. Each of them will, I assume, in his or her own way, seek redress individually, or as a collective. That is their right.

    You must take your own counsel, John, and decide what you think is best IMO.


  73. Hay Patricia,

    You seem quite defensive. Just exaclty what do you do for a living in Spain? Having a hard time time haering an opposing view to what clearly in your case is “living in denial” I’am so sick of hearing people like you spout all of your uasual retoric about how things are being blown out of proporsion in Spain and actually everything is just great. My guess is your some how tied into the market some how…right?

    Asking people to boycott buying in Spain requires me to take a anger management course? Thank you for the advice which seems to be as stupid as most everything else you have to say. Your right, not everyone posting is a property agent, but my guess is you are!

    Poetic justice would be if you got an eviction order!

  74. HMS: Try not to be abusive, if you can, that is. Why ARE you so abusive? What is your problem? If you are like this in real life, then I feel sorry for your family. Or maybe it is easier to be abusive in cyberspace….

    You are so far out (and out of line too, HMS). No, I am not a property agent, nor am I connected with the property market in any way whatsoever. Are you so paranoid that you think every poster on here is a property agent?

    What I do for a living is none of your business. Did I ask you what YOU do for a living? Of course not. Then again, maybe you are a “career abuser”.

    LOL “eviction order”. You really are quite vicious aren’t you? Be careful of wishing ill-luck on others, HMS (whatever that stands for). It can boomerang.

    I certainly never said “everything is great”.

    So people who have a view which opposes yours are “automatically “stupid”?

    I feel sorry for you.


  75. Open letter by Roger Helmer MEP
    European Parliament – Speech given on 13th September 2011
    Topic: Spanish Property Law
    Mr. President,
    I have only one problem with this otherwise excellent report. It omits any mention of the issue which has generated the highest number of petitions in recent years. This was the Spanish property issue.
    Hundreds of EU citizens from many countries have spent their life savings on dream properties in Spain, only to wake up one morning to find an eviction notice on the mat and a bull-dozer at the gate.
    For a decade, Spain has refused to deal with this issue. It denies property rights and enforceable contracts to EU citizens. It defies the rule of law. It makes a nonsense of our commitment to human rights.
    This is a scandal. It shows the impotence not only of the Petitions Committee, but of this parliament, and indeed of the EU generally, to deliver on the promises we make to citizens.
    It is time to make a stand, and to tell Spain that we expect it to meet its obligations, and to resolve this problem.

  76. Some 300,000 problem properties in Andalusia, now consider the other 17 autonomous communities in Spain all with similar problems!
    Spain is politically organized into 17 autonomous communities – Castile and León, Andalusia, Castile-La Mancha, Aragon, Extremadura, Catalonia, Galicia, Valencia, Murcia, Asturias, Navarre, Madrid, Canary Islands, Basque Country, Cantabria, La Rioja, Balearic Islands and 2 autonomous cities – Ceuta and Melilla.
    I would suggest “due diligence” is and was not the answer to this problem (catastrophe)

  77. In Spain, owners of retrospectively deemed illegal properties are dealt with in the Criminal Courts of Spain; they are criminals, not homeowners. Is that how a EU country should treat its citizens?

    Roger Helmer MEP outlines exactly the issue at hand. Spain is essentially a human rights abuser of the worst kind.

  78. Hi Guys
    I am so sorry that maybe I have opened up a can of worms.
    I do appreciate all of your comments and the time needed to post them.
    I understand that there are two sides ( opposing views) but information is just that information from which ultimately I will have to make a choice on whether to buy in Spain or not.
    I am sure that there are the good the bad and the ugly stories and I just don’t want to end up conned because I did not ask.
    To say I am confused is an understatement really, disgusted comes to mind.
    We holiday in Spain every year and the next step is thinking of owning in Spain or is it.
    I am sorry but I just don’t understand how such a wide reaching and dangerous practise could have been implemented by so many people for so long.
    Sorry about the questions below.
    Is there a map of areas to avoid buying in.???
    Have all the so called illegal properties been located or assessed by the local Juntas who said they were legal in the first place???
    Has this been mainly perpetuated on non Spanish residents. ???
    Could I be offered one of these so called illegal properties to buy by an estate agent. ???
    If a property is bought now and deemed legal now could it be illegal later.???
    Are the coastal areas or inland areas more effected.???

  79. Your view that people who are in a pickle in Spain somehow dropped the ball on doing due diligence when buying they’re property in Spain couldn’t be farther from the truth! Also your assertion that buying in Spain at present is perfectly safe is so absurd as to be laughable! Banks at present are knowingly trying to flog illegal homes in Almeria and Murcia, knowing full well the proerties have been deemed illegal! The reason they have so many repossessions from these areas? The owners have fled back to they’re respectice countries, why pay for a home you do not own!

    And here you are spouting all the BS about how safe it is to buy in Spain…no one is arguing that proerties exist that are legal, and have no issues as far as the Huntas are concerned, but that could change in a heartbeat the way Spain operates!

    NO…the answer is to put pressure on the Spanish government by turning off the foreign revenue tap to force them to deal with the reality of the abonimable and illegal way they deal with property human rights!

    A reality you have surely missed!

  80. Dear John
    If you decide to buy a property in Spain, my advice is to only invest the amount you are prepared to lose as the value of your investment may rise as well as fall or be demolished and you may also find yourself a victim of state laws and undeniable corruption. Either way, bring a large contingency to cover the costs and some diazapam. If to live in Spain is your dream then I strongly recommend that you rent first for a minimum of 3 years – it takes the same amount of time to get a degree and in this amount of time you will have learnt what you need to know to decide how and if to proceed. Tienes buen suerte mi amigo!
    p.s. Don’t take anything at face value.

  81. It’s interesting to take a drive down memory lane… for instance have a look at what this poster Paul Z. Martin had to say on April 30, 2010.

    “Not true. The vast majority of Spanish properties are perfectly safe to buy. My company, Granada Properties, only handles properties whose legality has been checked out thoroughly by experienced property lawyers, and we have never sold a property in the ten years we’ve been in existence which subsequently turned out to be at risk in any way.
    Our advice to anyone from abroad thinking of buying property in Spain is to go ahead (while prices are at an all-time low: sooner or later they will rise to “normal” levels), but to make sure to have the property checked out by a local (preferably Spanish) lawyer who is familiar with the area, and who specializes in property law.
    From a business/investment point of view, there has never been – and there may never be again – a better time to buy property in Spain.”…..

    Boy was he WRONG!!!

    This illustrates perfectly why buying in Sapin at present is and has been for years (unknowingly to all) DANGEROUS!

    Until the spanish government legislates property owner rights across the board, and removes predatory land grab laws, that at present allow any greedy developers and local councils to appropriate (steal) your property, and then send you a bill for the costs! Spain will be a country to avoid buying in!

    The abuses against basic civil rights in spain are rampant!

    They seem either paralized or unwilling to admit or deal with any of the major problems (unemplyment @ 20+%,etc…) facing Spain. The country seems to be run by corrupt “FAT CATS!”

    Buying in North Africa (Morocco) is safer!

    Just say no to buying in Spain!

  82. Good lord – is “Fred” still here posting hysterical rants and dire warnings about how dangerous it is to buy property in Spain?

    For the record, my company, Granada Properties, has a very nice selection of houses for sale in the Granada area.

    And also for the record, the level of interest in properties in Granada from buyers from abroad has been higher this year than at any time since we launched our website ten years ago.

  83. It’s not just me warning people about Spain, it’s also all the press in Spain, the national press in the UK, the British Consul in Spain and just about anyone else with a brain lol.

    So are are you Decreto 218 registered yet, Paul? if not, that means you are not a proper agent.

    And did you bring the Marxist Hackers to justice?

    Do tell.

  84. Like a few other ex pats, over the years I’ve watched all the ‘Tengo una pregunta para usted’ programmes and not once have I seen a question presented to any politician regarding the appalling lack of compliance in the housing sector and the blatant abuse of property owners rights.

    Bearing in mind that the vast majority of ‘estafas’ are suffered by the Spaniards themselves one wonders why they are not more inclined towards kicking ass. Unfortunately this results in the expats being labelled as a load of moaners.

    Since we cannot vote in the national elections it’s about time our Iberian cousins demanded from the politicians immediate and positive action for which they are handsomely paid.

    But of course, España es diferente.

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