8 Nov, 2010 @ 09:00
1 min read

Squatting in her own home

EXCLUSIVE By Wendy Williams

A BRITISH pensioner is being forced to squat in her own home without electricity or hot water.

Ann Bircumshaw, 75, is facing a torrid winter after she discovered her 120,000 euro home was neither legal nor paid for.

The pensioner, from Bournemouth, had stumped up the money for the three-bedroom off-plan property in Pruna, near Olvera, after selling her own home in Fuengirola.

The developer, a British man called Ian Hollis, 48, assured her that her dream home would be finished “in months”.

But since buying the property in 2007 from Hollis´s company Showcase Developments it has been nothing but a nightmare.

Despite expecting to be in by 2008, the original property was never built and its so-called replacement – a nearby apartment, where the pensioner now lives – is likely to be seized due to unpaid debts.

“Hollis may well have started off with the best intentions but after the situation went wrong it has gone from bad to worse,” said her son-in-law Neil French.

After months of renting a nearby apartment, Hollis revealed that there had been a problem with HER house and encouraged her to switch to another apartment nearing completion.

But this apartment was forced to stand empty for over a year due to unpaid bills, claims French.

This however, did not stop Bircumshaw from moving in two months ago and she is now effectively squatting in her own home.

But she is living without electricity as she cannot find a supplier to connect the house as the property has been blacklisted.

Furthermore, the bank that funded the project is threatening to repossess the home, due to unpaid debts.

“My mother-in-law’s attitude understandably is that she has paid for the property so it is hers… but the bank doesn’t agree,” said French.

“Even if she is allowed to continue living there, she will never get the legal title.

“The lawyer has told us that it is inevitable the bank will eventually become the owners.”

When the Olive Press caught up with Hollis he insisted the situation would soon be resolved. “I have been caught up with the crisis but I am trying to put things right,” he said.

His Marbella-based lawyer, Alejandro Ponce, meanwhile insisted that the problem simply lies with the plot which has not yet been properly divided.

“It is a case of patience and paperwork,” he said. “Hollis is worried that people will think he is a crook but that is not the case.

“He has had a problem but he has done nothing wrong. He has nothing to hide.

“I hope in three months it will all be sorted out.”

For 75-year-old Bircumshaw that will be the end of the winter. If she can wait that long.

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. Can you tell me the latest on Mrs Bircumshaw as I am aware of a couple wishing to help her with accommodation during the winter if it is required. I believe this couple are of good intent and the accommodation is free of charge. Please advise. Thank you, Julia,

  2. Amazing these guys have no money for the pensioner however they as money to open a bar and a cafe in el Zoco, Calahonda, where is the justice in that.

    This should be inevstigated how can they get away with it

  3. Yes there are always 2 sides to a story, i wonder why the 75 year old pensioner went to the press? Whats wrong with a builder taking money and not delivering a completed house it happens all the time in Spain.
    Well done lets raise a glass and toast the good old pensioner, maybe she can come to the bar and have a good old Christmas lunch in the warm?

  4. Has there been any follow up on this story? are there others who bought property from this developer and if so what is being done? This guy has made money from them and seems to be living a nice life in his busy bar/restaurant.

  5. Yes there are at least 15 of us who have paid money in 2007 for apartments in Prune. I personally knew Ian from England but he has avoided ALL contact since he hit difficulties. Ian has made no attempt to explain what is going to happen to our property while he enjoys his new life as a Bar owner

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