By Eloise Horsfield

HOMEOWNERS who have had no electricity for up to five years have been left in the lurch after a ‘disappointing’ meeting with their town hall planning boss.

Over 10,000 people in Chiclana de la Frontera, Cadiz – of whom around 1,600 are foreign residents – are not connected to the grid, despite most having done everything by the book when they bought their houses.

“We are so tired of this,” said Roger Alan Homes, president of foreign residents’ association Chifra.

“It is just not fair.

“Lots of the people I represent have health issues, and many have been threatened with demolition, and yet they cannot even put the lights on in their homes.

“Many do not want to admit to having no electricity because they are worried about the legal consequences of using neighbours’ meters.

“When in fact, these are people who bought their houses through lawyers and notaries, spending their life savings and often coming here to live out their retirements.

But when four Chifra members met with the town hall planning boss Marisol Ayala (PVRE party) last week, they said she hardly listened to their requests.

“Her party was formed with the sole aim of addressing the illegal homes issue,” said Homes. “And yet she hardly listened to what we had to say.”

The independent PVRE party, or ‘Neighbourhood Regionalist Party’, was created in 2010 with the objective of ‘solving all types of irregular or illegal planning matters’.

It won two seats in Chiclana Town Hall in the May 2011 election.

The main point of contention was Chiclana’s town plan, which after being thrown out last year resorted back to the plan of 1987 – meaning many homes do not even appear on it.

“Mrs Ayala’s answer was that the new plan would be written up at the beginning of 2013 at the earliest,” said Homes.

“This is very bad news for the thousands of citizens, both expats and Spaniards, with irregular housing in Chiclana.”

Subscribe to the Olive Press


  1. The attitude shown by various political parties to what must be the biggest con since the South Sea Bubble Company is why Spanish Bonds hover around 7%. Spanish Banks are on the point of going under as the mortgages they have on Spanish property rapidly devalues.

    This crises is of Spain’s own politicos making. They do not give a care about the tens of thousands who have lost their life’s savings in the “Spanish Dream”. Spaniards and other nationalities treated with the same contempt.
    Government, lawyers and notaries all knew that they were selling homes that were not legally habitual. They filled their pockets in their fine suits when they are better than the hooded mugger by the cash point. These crooks disguising them selves as protectors of the people should hold their heads in shame. This is the Shame of Spain.

    Now the markets are judging Spain and the market is saying.”We don’t trust you.”

  2. And in spite of the many new homes not being legalized (“regularized” is far different)the government is urging banks and tourist agencies to spread the word that buying new homes in Spain is legal and safe! In Marbella there are several large new apartment blocks that have DEMOLITION Orders on them from the Court… being advertised For Sale by a R E Agent.

    Of course if the stuff hits the fan, bankruptcy is declared and the Agent personnel have no accountability for their acts.
    How can anyone market and sell a property they KNOW is not free and clear of all legal claims/encumbrances! Wrong!!

  3. Spain is Spain, rotten to the core when easy money is involved, top to bottom and will be so for the next 50 years.
    I’d like to get out but like many thousands of others, we are trapped, possibly planned by the same crooks who put us all in this situation. The idea now is to milk us for all we are worth.

  4. Dear Antonio2, you have my sympathy – the Spanish people deserve better. The UK government is far from fault free, however, when you buy a house in the UK you know its yours.
    Spain has a massive potential and was doing very well until the housing crisis, 45% of Spain’s GDP. For any sales process to work the buyer must have full confidence other wise the market goes and people take their money elsewhere. The Spanish government fails to see this.
    If the Government declared an armistice for all those buyers who used lawyers, notaries and due process, giving them full legality and then made it illegal for notaries and lawyers to process house purchase with out planning permission, with massive fines as penalties, the market would return.
    Spain would have a house purchase system that could be trusted and jobs would be created.
    We need to get together, Spanish and expats who have suffered this massive con and demand law changes. Together being the important word.

  5. “Many do not want to admit to having no electricity because they are worried about the legal consequences of using neighbours’ meters.”
    I simply do not understand this. People bought homes that had no legal electricity supply and yet they say they did “everything by the book when they bought their houses”.

    Can someone explain this for me?

  6. I was lucky I have a meter that is legal I was told this after I had bought. When you are buying a house and you see the lights on you assume its legal electricity and unless you are told otherwise that is what you would think.
    I have bought homes in UK, Ireland, USA, France and Spain. Spain is the only place where it is an issue.
    All of those I know with illegal electricity find out after the house has been purchased.
    This is why the home buying process in Spain is not fit for purpose as lawyers, notaries and the state, taking all the taxes and fees, hide these facts. Non disclosure of such important facts in any sales process is regarded every where as dishonest, except it appears in Spain.
    That is why their housing market has gone as trust is the most important feature of any market.
    There are thousands of us waving bits of paper that we regarded as being the proof that we had bought a house legal to live in. We now know that this is not the case. If you can’t trust the paper work on the what is the biggest purchase in most families lifetime, why should you trust any legal documentation in Spain.
    That is why the is the the big Shame of Spain.

  7. living in chiclana is hard enough alot of people were tould lies when buying there houses by the estate agents the builders,lawers,and noteries,they are all in league with each other ,so us poor brits have no chance, because we belive that the etablishment should tell the truth
    it leave a bad taste in the mouth.

  8. You come to Spain thinking it is part of Europe but it isn’t. There are thousands in your situation Bob and now the Junta and Government seek to make even more money out of you by offering ‘legalisation’, that is unless their favourite builder-friends want to make more money by knocking your house down.
    Foreigners moving here put Spain on its feet with their enormous investments in property, businesses, pensions, etc., but the crooks raked off most of it and now Spain is sliding down the drain, where it was before.

  9. Keith Wilkinson
    Steve Cole has the one and only answer.The thousands of families affected be this scandal must unite and with one voice make these unbelievable jobsworths listen.
    Easier said than done though!

  10. Dear Keith, “easier said than done” is right. None of the Ex pats came here to end up in this legal battle field.
    Most are over 65 with their best years behind them.
    My Spanish nieghbours think that this is the norm and seem to be over come by the need to feed their family than worry about the gradual erosion of their rights.
    I think there is a lot we can do, but it must be led by the Spanish to avoid us all being labelled as interfering foreigner.
    My biggest worry is that it could all end in tears. Denying the basics, like electricity and bulldozing foreigners homes may be something the establishment can get away with. Doing this to young Spanish people may end up with a much more robust response. One individual driven to despair feeling they have nothing to lose is all it takes.

  11. We believed that we were on Builders Supply electricity when we purchased our property in 2003.We have a mains supply of water(which we have since learnt we shouldnt have had) 2 years ago we attempted to get a contract for a proper supply.We were told that the builder had not a licence to build so house was illegal.Iberdrola discovered that we were hooked up somewhere taking illegal electricity.So without any notification cut the poor supply that we were surviving on.To date we are running on a generator feeding it liquid gold .We have been like this for 14 months.Does anyone know what our legal standing is on this.Are we responsible for the payment of used electrity .Can we be fined.What redress have we with the builder.(if he still exists)

  12. Margaret,
    send your story to Rt Hon David Lidington. Foreign and Commonwealth Office, King Charles Street, London SW1A 2AH.
    He is minister for Europe. They have written to Chiclana town hall and have started making noises. Did you use a lawyer, notary and pay taxes to the state of Andalucia on completion? If the answer is yes You are the victim and need to start thinking that way. The people, including the state, who did this to you are the crooks.
    Try getting a generator that runs on gas – a gas fridge and a small solar panel with battery to run some DC lighting at essential points and you can keep the costs down.

  13. Having lived here for years i can say with confidence that the spanish get ripped off just as much as foreigners. A spanish relative, who’s a cop, got screwed by builders, lawyers, notarios, AND the town hall. And no lawyer in his town will stand against the crooks!

    Sr Cole is right. We need to apply that old british methodology of standing together, standing firm, and fighting for whats right. The bit about having the spanish head it all is very important.

  14. we bought a villa in hozenajos from a British estate agent,she told us it had builders electric and would be connected to the as soon as we moved in.Being English we believed her,after 3months we found the house was illegal,it took us over 2tears to get a meter,then we sold up.We have been in the uk now for 9years,although I loved our time in Spain it is just to corrupt,why has not even one notary been prosecuted,they are after all your legal representitive…

  15. What really gets me is that the Notaries are supposed to be the final legal seal-of-approval to the transaction, similar to the Notaire in France. But the Spanish version just extract their fee and the ‘approval’ is as meaningless as their office, as are many of the lawyers, planners, etc.
    All they want is your money, full stop, they know they will be protected by the corrupt political and legal system.

  16. If citizens can not get redress for obvious wrongs and the judicial process is seen to only work for the establishment, something else happens. Does not Spanish history teach these crooks in suits anything? Will this end up with violence? I can see it happening. A lot less led to the troubles in N.Ireland in the 60’s it all started with disputes over housing and normal people being denied justice.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.