5 Nov, 2010 @ 11:52
1 min read

British OAPs’ agony over bulldozed home continues

PENSIONERS Helen and Len Prior, who saw their dream home demolished nearly three years ago, have faced another setback in their ongoing fight for justice.

Following a retrial of the case ordered by the Supreme Court in April last year, the Administrative Courts have
upheld the original decision made by the Junta de Andalucia calling for the demolition of their Vera home.

The Priors bought the land in 2002 and, after securing all necessary permits and permissions via the town hall, built their house in 2003.

But in May 2006 they received notification from the regional government that the permissions had been awarded illegally and their 400,000 euros house could be demolished.

They sought legal help but in January 2008 the bulldozers arrived and the house was pulled down, making international news.

Last year, after spending two years living in what was formerly the garage of their demolished property, they were offered temporary housing by Vera council.

But now the Priors’ will have to seek compensation for the loss of their home from Vera council who incorrectly issued the planning consent, and that could take years.

It’s a bad omen for the eight homeowners in Albox who face similar proceedings after falling foul of Spanish regional planning laws.

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.

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  1. Spain is nothing but red tape and injustices, i ruined my life after moving to Spain thinking my husband and I would have a Lovely retirement, everything that could go wrong went wrong! It happens in the UK but in Spain there is no support system, why if we are all members of the EU we have no help? If any immigrant was treated badly in the UK there would be an uproar.
    The young ones in the village we lived in were very racist. We went to Spain in 2006 and left in 2008. We spent money in the local shops,etc. We were disheartend after being ripped off by our own nationality cow- boy ENGLISH Builders and have had our property broken into Twice since we left it Unsold! The Local Police do not want to know and the neighbours turn a blind eye, the Village was full of young druggies the same as anywhere else.
    Nothing seems to get better! Pensioners buying property abroad with Hard Earned Cash should not bother!!! I Feel sorry for anyone that has had their homes taken way, it should not happen!

  2. I have to say this website does bring a lot of doom and gloom for us ex pats that live here,but unfortunately the majority of what is written is true.

    I think many of us come over here and expect that when dealing with solicitors,property developers, banks and other officials,we initially take what is said to us at face value, as generally one wouldn’t question these people in the U.K.

    I don’t know of one person who hasn’t been subject to a scam or literally been ripped off in one way or another.

    It is a learning curve,and usually quite costly.Of course things are far from perfect back home, but corruption is just as rife over here as it was ten or twenty years ago.

    We sold our property some four years ago and have absolutely no intention of buying here again in the near future.Why pay near 11% costs,sheer madness IMO.

  3. Reading one of the comments above sounded very familiar. My family moved to Spain five years ago. I had sold my home in the Uk and bought a nice little home in a rural village on the proceeds. I still do not own that home due to countless red tape issues. We dealt with a dodgy lawyer who ripped us off and who has been talked about in this very paper recently. We had building work done that left our home uninhabitable by English builders. We have been burgled twice and the police did nothing about it. I have had indications of who did it and it has left a very sour taste in my mouth and I have felt thouroughly murderous on occassions!

    Now there may … just may be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. We have moved from the rural village and settled in rented accommodation in Granada. There is hope that the village house paperwork may be dealt with and that we can finally get our lives back on track. I think that some of this has been my own fault. I knew what to look out for when moving here and ignored it. I have been throughly miserable and depressed for years but now think that I can move on and build a life in this country. I will not give up. My love affair with this country is not over and I will fight on!!

  4. I try not to spend too much money in Spain now out of protest and also what is the point. No point in investing when you can’t sell anything anyway. I don’t know if Spain will ever pick itself up with the way it carries on. I think the unemployment in Andalucia is the highest in the Country for a reason!! 26 / 27% now? Spain is racist, not just with colour either.

  5. I have had posts deleted on this forum but it does’nt detract from the fact that the Olive Press is as far as I can see the only publication that is telling the truth about life in Spain, with of course it’s emphasis on Andalucia naturally.

    Yesterday I googled Spanish ex-pat forums and was shocked at what I found – on most forums there is not a mention of illegal properties or the corrupt nature of most Spanish professionals involved in the lucrative business of ripping off ex-pats and Spanish people alike.

    On one forum these ex-pats actually blamed most of the Brits themselves for their problems. Just take a look at what appears in the UK press and you will be disgusted.

    Hopefull – if only more would be as honest as you have been on this thread. I have lived now in 3 different countries in Europe and it is always your own people who will try to rip you off first. BTW I have never been a lover of cities but Granada is the exception and my friends there are something I miss sorely – all without exception had no blinkers where Spain was concerned and through them I experienced aspects to Granada that no tourist could ever hope to know about.

    Before we moved to Spain we, or I should say my partner got caught up in the scandal of leasehold property in the UK and amongst all the different local council depts we had to deal with was Environmental Health and at that time the head was a lovely man who had bought a property in that hell hole Torrevieja before it became a hell hole.

    He specifically warned us not to deal with the Brits as they would rip you off before the Spanish.

    Duke, I simply can’t agree about solicitors in the UK. It is in their greedy financial interests NOT to warn potential purchasers of leasehold properties about how easy and lawful (lol) it is to rip-off leaseholders. Also most of the honest solicitors (unfortunately not many) are really hacked off at how much they have to pay into the compensation fund to cover the actions of all the bent ones. In our dealings over the leasehold flat, we encountered 3 that got struck off for various frauds against clients.

    Of course it should be the British government that should issue warnings about Spain and all it’s corruption and it is them who should defend us, those who pay their generous salaries and even more generous expenses and gold plated pensions but until they feel that their existence is threatened by a population that is’nt serflike, that will never happen.

  6. Stuart, Spain has one of the highest levels of Internet censorship in the World, indeed the number of take-down requests (to remove content) that originate from Spain is also one of the highest.

    Nothing surprising about the spanish forums; they remove all content that tells the truth about Spain, which of course is a shame for all the saps at “A Place in the Sun” exhibitions who purchase like lemmings not understanding the realities of what they are getting themselves into.

  7. En España existen personas que tambien estamos en contra de que se produzcan esas injusticias con la viviendas que se compraron de buena fe y despues resultaron estafados por indeseables de nuestro pais, los Prior merecen que la justicia sea justa con ellos.

  8. I agree, good comments, but when the people running Spain are corrupt and have the power, justice will not happen. People power and bad publicity here and on the TV is helping to bring justice but unfortunatley the people of Spain are suffering because of the incompetant leadership. Spain needs people spending money there but it will not happen the way they carry on.

  9. I to am one of those people who have been ripped off by my own countryman, it has now been over two years since we started legal proceedings against them and of course they did a runner from Spain letting out their palatial home . Goodness knows how much it has cost us in legal fees so far and up to this present moment are not one step nearer to recovering our money. The actin of these people has resulted in my husband suffering from health problems through the stress of it all. I really do not know how they sleep peacefully at night!!!!!

  10. Stuart Crawford you’re complete right about some Spanish ex-pat forums. I’ve been trying to contact quite a few of them and I agree that most forums don’t mention illegal properties or the professionals who make a living out of ripping off ex-pats and the Spanish. I work for a company fixing these problems and it’s hard to connect with a lot of people. Most will use the first company that say they can help when in these situations you need a company that has dealt with similar cases.

    I think that’s why a lot of people get stuck.

    It’s perhaps one of the most stressful things you can go through. The risk of losing all your hard earned money and knowing that someone is sitting there greedily rubbing their hands together only adds salt into the wound.

    It doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, purple or pink and Spanish, English or from Mars! If there’s a scam to be had, they’ll get you if you’re not careful. It’s never personal and usually it’s not something that can be avoided. But it is something that can be fixed.

    I truly feel sorry for anyone that gets stuck by these horrible companies, and I’m grateful to the Olive Press for getting the word out there.

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