7 May, 2011 @ 07:00
1 min read

Spain’s property roadshow outrage

MEP Michael Cashman has slammed an official property roadshow, which is promoting Spain’s million-plus empty properties abroad.

The former Eastenders actor, who represents British expats in Spain, insists that the official drive by Spain’s Minister for Public Works Jose Blanco in London this week, is inappropriate, unless Spain protects those who have already bought here.

In an open letter, he writes: “I have received literally hundreds of letters from distraught European citizens who after having legitimately acquired homes with proper legal advice and the green light from officials, mayors, lawyers and developers, have been evicted and their house and life savings demolished with absolutely no compensation.”

And he added: “I would not advise any investment in Spanish property until this problem is resolved”.

Meanwhile Keith Rule from the Bank Guarantees in Spain Action Group said: “This is an insult to all those of us who stand to lose so much due to the corruption and negligence in the Spanish property sector.”

Wendy Williams

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  1. Absoluely, however it should be pointed out there a plenty (the vast majority of homes for sale in Spain) that are not in this sector or have any issues whatsover. So keep up the good work Michael Cashman and Keth Rule but spare a thought for those wanting a new life in Spain when there are plenty of properties available that remain unnafected by any issues or even pricing pressures whatsoever.

  2. What a shame Michael Cashman does’nt mention that all these properties are rubbish built, that alone should be enough for the UK government to put a block on any attempt to sell this crap.

    Christoper – no issues – are you qualified in any way to make this statement. Anyone who buys any kind of new property or one that has been cowboy renovates is a fool. Why was’nt Spain along with the rest of southern Europe forced to adopt proper quality construction materials and techniques.

  3. Stuart
    Qualified in what way?
    Besides, its common sense.
    Look around…property in mature residential inner cities, beach front, novelties, micro economies around high technology zones…there are segments and niches relativel unaffected.
    And the vast majority of housing stock was built before these problems.
    AGREED about building inspectors and controls…where are the building inspectorate at each stage of the new build? Foundations, green measures, sound proofing, drains, fit for purpose, design….answer lost in corruption of town hall planning and greedy financiers.
    Imagine the payoffs to crooked building inspectors by developers!
    The EU funds so much in Spain but exerts no policing or control?
    I don’t think Spain has any strategic leadership or culture for collectivism in the long-term. Its all about quick grab and greed.
    And I say this because the political system is corrupt yet a good chunk of politicians are still voted for so its a deep cultural issue. Why are not the indigenousness population protesting and throwing out their corrupt leaders?
    BUT no one can say that its all rotten because there are non-corrupt areas and non-corrupt politicians…these are segments and niches.
    Michael Cashman has slammed the whole market to make a point about a small section of the market and good luck to him but none the less the whole market isn’t rotten just some of it is rotten to the core
    In any private sector in UK for example accountability is essential.
    The Government in Spain (I.E. Regional Cabinet Ministers on Road Trips) are in DENIAL.
    They refuse to accept their wrongs and in doing so they just make matters worse.
    Unless they open it all up, put it right and move on how can there be any rebuilding of trust?
    So my point is there are property pockets that are inelastic to the broader market conditions and quality properties were built outside of this mess.
    So good luck to this campaign as we need open admission, accountability and correction to move forwards otherwise its a huge drag on the whole market.

  4. Well, if all is so rotten and corrupt in Spain what are 800.000 Britons doing living in that country?. I should expect them getting back to their island where everything is so great, pure, perfect, accountable ( including the City, the most corrupt place on earth together with Wall Street) and oh, yes, so, so, so British.

  5. Uf, here are those Imperial Britons accusing other countries, particularly in Southern Europe of corruption and every kind of Popish evils. Really fed up with them. Their economy is a shame, the have deficits the size of the Atlantic, their banking system, and the US’, have specialised in selling financial rubbish all around the world thus creating the current crisis and still they have the guts of insulting other nations. Why do they not stay in their country and let the rest of the world along?

  6. 300,000 illegal properties but of course that’s ok as the victims can just leave and its their own faults in any case because there’s corruption in Wall Street so that makes it ok for there to be corrupt politicians making millions out of innocent Britons.
    Even though Britain was a member of the EU before Spain and has paid in more than any other country and Spain has taken that money and pilfered it that’s ok because there’s corruption in the City of Lobdon.
    In fact its ok for anyone to be a thief and murderer becuse there are other thieves and murderers in other countries and if the victims don’t like it they can leave rather than stay and be abused by corrupt councils who you pay your taxes to and to suffer racist abuse.
    And what right does Cashman have to protest about it when we want to sell more illegal properties to innocent victims.

    Come on you Brits hand over your life savings they can then kick you and throw you to the lions.
    And it will be your fault as there’s corruption in America you know?

  7. It is people like Carlos and Luis that drag Spain down. Typical “we share no blame” attitude that will prolong Spain’s meltdown. Are you both working?

    The 800.000 expatriate residents are mainly retirees, and they bring their wealth to Spain. You should be thanking them for that Luis; you can’t help yourselves it seems.

  8. Marcelo, EU citizens have the right to settle wherever they want in Europe and they have a right to do so without then discovering that the host country abuses their basic human rights. It is quite amazing that Spain has got away with this scammy behaviour for so long – Spain are certainly quite brilliant at one thing, namely hiding the truth of what is actually going on and fooling the EU in to funding them for decades.

  9. …… afraid progressive Marcello is right. All EU residents should leave, tourists from Northern countries stop coming, EU funky funding Stopped , Foreign investment and factories shut down, after all there are other countries with good climate in Europe …….. In other words return Spain to the dark ages. Hope you Marcello, Luis and Miguel like riding donkeys, cooking by the fire and a bit of witch burning on the weekends while telling stories to each other of “How good your are” Líder Mundiales ………

  10. Why to live in this country with so many defects?

    Lots of people are asking themselves that question Marcelo. Many wish they’d never come here but moving away can be very difficult for a retired person on a fixed income and especially if they are sitting on a property which is suddenly no longer worth anything…

  11. And all this while Sr Zapatero seems to spend much of his time scratching his head wondering why the construction and real estate sectors are all but dead. Not to mention his failure to acknowledge that much of the unemployed are without hope simply because of the stagnant housing market. He and his team seem to be incapable of embracing and taking ownership of the shambolic state of affairs he presides over.

    Sr Rajoy should also wipe the smirk off his face because much of the corruption was founded during the Aznar administration and of course we all know that Sr Aznar still pulls many strings.

    Fellow correspondant Carlos should realise that for decades the UK (and others) have been a net contributor to the European funds, whereas Spain has equally, for decades, been a (substantial) net receiver without accepting in practice the implied (if not legal) obligation to bring it’s planning, construction and the legal rights of property owners into the 21st century.

    And Carlos, if Britain is in such a state, why are so many Spanish companies investing heavily in UK business rather than investing in Spain?. Don’t be such an isolationist and accept that we are ALL europeans for better or worse.

  12. Good climate in other countries but I repeat all construction in southern Europe is crap. I well remember visiting Crete in 88 and staying at an apartment called ‘ the architects apartments’ – re-inforced concrete walls – remember dense concrete is a heat sump, no simple mosquito screens fitted to windows, luckily we went in Spring – I hate to think how hot those apartments would get in the summer.

    Went up in the mountains and got invited into a traditional Cretan house – massive thick walls and ceilings made of no less than a metre depth of bamboo / blister ovens for cooking inside in the winter and outside in the summer – absolutely logical construction, full of character. If we could have bought property there then we would have done.

    Why can’t the Spanish discard their hatred of the Arabs and copy the construction techniques they employed centuries ago.

    Emiliano – what can I say, I met a lot of Spanish people like you, sadly you do not represent the majority as I’m sure you are well aware.

    I think your country has to fall apart before it can be re-created and it will have to be people like you that are in control. The crazy thing is that Spanish civil engineers are first class, why are the architects such cretinous scum – that expression was used by the boyfriend of my Spanish dentist – he is a civil engineer.

    As long as southern Europe gets bail outs from the north it will go on and on – best to let all the German/French and Belgian banks go bust – this would be the start point for a new EC – the old one is bust along with the Euro.

  13. Christopher – good point.

    Before we left Spain there was an TV expose of 3 blocks of flats built near the big commercial centrein Granada. From the outside (packaging) they looks quite nice but boy from the inside it was sheer hell for all the Spanish who had bought in good faith and guess what nothing had been done to remedy the situation in over 3 years – palms well greased in the Granada planning dept.

    Carlos do you work as a comedian, no Spanish person should ever accuse anyone of Imperialism – look what you did in Central and South America. You looted a vast quantity of silver and gold and yet Spain was bankrupt as early as the 17th century.

    We should have left you alone and never given you all that financial aid – like Emiliano said – want to go back to riding donkeys – you tonto.

  14. I am a spanish national and reading the comments of this Carlos makes my blood boil!!! Foreign residents who have bought property in spain in good faith have been wrongly treated by a corrupt gpverment that has ruled andalucia for nearly 30 years a region with the highest unemployed rate in spain and yet year after year the Andaculians vote for this goverment, this tells you something of the mentality of this people, and for the Road show currently on the road with our loser Mr Blanco bOYCOT IT..AND BAN IT. pICKET every show that this fool organises and I hope the residents can get full compensation in the future with the following Spanish Goverment.

    Good luck

  15. Stuart – the UK government cannot impose restrictions on UK citizens (or others) buying any property in another sovereign country… like Spain, France, USA, etc. The only thing they can advertise is CAVEAT EMPTOR. Surely Cameron’s government shows enough difficulty controlling problems withing the UK borders – without tackling those outside them
    NO country in the EU has been “forced” to adopt uniform Building Codes nor could they – the climactic and infrastructure differences are too great. Even if that job was turned over to Baroness Ashton with an added 5 Billion euros to her budget… she couldn’t handle that one any better than the rest of her portfolio

  16. I come from a North American Builders family and have expereicne with the spanish system as well.
    Agreed that the building permit process in spain leaves a lot to be desired to say the least. But I object the the ill informed statements about Quality in spain. The building materials ued in spain are superior to those in norhtern Europe. All houses are concrete and brick not much structural wood or drywall found anywhere in spain. (too bad they don’t have hurricanes here so you could see the difference)
    The best option for those of you concerened with what you are getting is to build your own…
    It’s unfortuante there is soo much unsold housing in subdivisions.
    But perhaps that’s not what the buyers want?
    If you got bad quality it’s because you purchased from the wrong people, that will happen in any country.

  17. John,
    I’m well aware that unless you are very rich it is financially impossible to buy a properly constructed house in the US.
    The average build is flimsy soft wood construction (which the termites love) that’s why there is so much damage when the twisters strike.

    you just don’t know what your talking about when it comes to construction materials in Europe.

    The whole of the Med Spanish coast is on an earthquake fault line and it is utter madness to build desnse concrete structures unless they have a structural steel core, which none have.

    You seem completely oblivious to the fact that dense concrete is a heat store – not what you want with high summer temps, nor inland where winters are very cold.

    You also seem to know nothing about Spanish builders in general – they are all crap and very few if any have any professional qualifications.

    Go away and study specifications for construction in the whole of northern Europe/Scandinavia becaues at the moment you are talking out of your rear end.

  18. Stuart , you should never insult some one you don´t know.
    I’ve built shopping malls and highrises in North America as well as houses, You are the one that should study construction before you shoot your mouth off about something you know nothing about. The homes in spain are built reinforced to earthquake standards.
    Concrete / Brick homes are very cool in the heat if properly designed and built.
    Find yourself a “good” architect in spain and ask him.

  19. John,
    you are just making an idiot of yourself – in fact I have to think you are a complete bullsh*tter.

    You obviously know nothing about dense concrete and even less about correct construction in earthquake areas.

    We had another idiot from the USA mouthing off about life in Spain who had never lived there.

    Spanish architects are the ones responsible for the appalling state of construction in Spain – 20 year old apartment blocks falling down. no insulation/water pipes buried in concrete/no fire doors/sub standard wiring and that is in ALL Spanish construction.

    You forget that readers of the Olive Press actually live in Spanish built pproperties – let’s see how many support your ridiculous opinions.

  20. That was an amazing display of projection Stuart.

    I see you have switched from arguing the facts to a personal attack with equally faulty assumptions.
    What makes you think I don`t live in spain?
    How long do you think I have been building second homes in spain?
    Have you ever actually spoken to an architect in spain or anywhere else for that matter?
    What makes you think I worry who supports my statments?

  21. John, your inability to answer a simple question (about the recent earthquake at Lorca in which many modern buildings collapsed) shows that you are clearly not an expert in Spanish construction by any measure. Don’t be a twit.

  22. Let me clarify, I was talking about quality of materials in a stand alone house or “villa”, not tenaments built by shoddy contracters of which there is no shortage.
    If you want to buy a unit in a tenament or multi-unit development here then buyer beware.
    Those things are a scarr on our landscape and should never exist.

    This is distracting from the issue of this article is it not?

    “I have received literally hundreds of letters from distraught European citizens who after having legitimately acquired homes with proper legal advice and the green light from officials, mayors, lawyers and developers, have been evicted and their house and life savings demolished with absolutely no compensation.”

    Many people have been victims of corrupt governments and oportunistic builders during the construction boom here that need to have their claims addressed in a fair way.

  23. >When was the last time you saw a cheap plastic Linolium
    >floor in spain Fred?

    Er, this morning, in my local supermarket. Is this a construction related question John? lol.

  24. Hahaha Fred, you must shop in some really dingy places…
    Even Mercadona does has terrazo tiles on concrete floors.

    You know full well what I´m talking about. I´ve lived and rented a lot of places in the UK and stayed just about everywhere. In rickety old wooden structers with cheap plastic or carpet floors.(finishing materials are the single biggest construction expense) Given they sometimes have brick walls.
    But this kind of talk is not going to bring the expats any closer to getting compensation in spain. All you will do by being biggoted and arrogant is make it less likly for anyone to want to treat you fairly.
    The local beaurocrats have enough atitude as it is, you don’t need to make them even worse.

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