6 Mar, 2014 @ 11:00
2 mins read

Expats lose battle to save Costa de la Luz homes from demolition

By Imogen Calderwood

A GROUP of expats have lost a two-and-a-half-year legal battle to prevent the demolition of their wooden homes on the Costa de la Luz.

The residents are now suing an English developer for over a million euros after discovering that their properties are to be knocked down next week.

The group from the Atlantic Forest Park, in Zahara de los Atunes, have been ordered to leave their houses on March 12, after Barbate Court ruled on the side of the landowner.

The homes, owned by a mixture of British and Swiss owners, will then be demolished to ‘make way for another housing project’.

“It is a disgrace and we have been left with no option but to walk away,” said one owner Tony Pearson, 58, from Ramsgate, Kent.

The publican said that the financial loss to himself and wife, Shirley, is around 110,000 euros and he described the emotional stress of the loss as ‘immeasurable’.

To make back some of the money they have lost, the couple are set to sell their beloved home for scrap wood after the demolition.

“Wood has value here in Spain, but we’ll only get pittance compared to what the houses are worth,” said Pearson, who has now returned to live in the UK.

“I’ve given all the furniture away to another family who had been repossessed. They had found somewhere to live but had no furniture.”

The owners’ homes have been the focus of a heated battle including allegations of fraud and millions of euros of unpaid bills.

Of the 14 residents to be evicted next week, one British expat couple in their 80s have been left struggling to find alternative accommodation.

The couple – who do not wish to be named – paid 25,000 euros for the contract that gave them rights to the land until May 15 2036.

The pensioners are being forced to rent from a friend nearby.

The eviction comes despite overcoming many problems that should not have been their responsibility.

The group had to pay an unpaid electric bill of over 14,000 euros, repair their sewage plant, maintain the well that provides their fresh water, and repair and maintain their swimming pool.

The group are now suing Alex Joll the owner of the company that leased them the land in 2008 for fraud.

The project was launched by a company Property Surfing SL, based in Fuengirola, in 2006

It envisaged the creation of a mobile home park with space for 84 mobile homes and 15 lodges built.

However, a combination of planning problems emerged, which led to the project being ruled as illegal.

Joll didn’t wish to discuss the issue with the Olive Press.

However, a friend said he had failed to get the correct permission from Barbate town hall and had been unable to buy the land off the original owner.

“He was unable to turn things around despite selling the project to a venture capital group in 2010,” said the source.

“By 2011 the venture capital company stopped funding the project and the park ‘collapsed’.

“An attempt to buy the land from the owner in 2012 failed when he refused to sell.”

However he added: “Once they are out the owner can start the process again and seek a new permit to build homes.”


Imogen Calderwood

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  1. Why not dismantle the houses carefully and re-build them somewhere else. If the photo is of the houses themselves they are built from a series of panels bolted together at the corners. Doors and windows can easily be removed.

  2. PM,
    with timber homes this is a possibility but where would they build? and could they trust anyone to sell them land that was truly legal.

    I know here in France that if the construction was illegal it would have been stopped on day 2 by the Gendarmes.

    What a shame that Derek cacca ya ya rev. b/s did’nt have a home there – now that would be funny.

    I think all decent (Derek ya ya excepted) posters will feel for these people as Fred said disgraceful – now what will the Swiss and UK governments do about protecting their citizens – sod all.

  3. In the meantime the leader of the Junta, Susana Díaz, has recently declared that around 200 million euro are going to be spent on revitalising the construction sector. Against the background of this report (and so many others like it) Her logic escapes me.

  4. More demolitions – terrific. What a great advertisement to encourgage inward investment and persuade foreigners to invest in Spain. Fred is right, it seems to have become some sort of obsession with the Junta de Andalucia, so much so, they have set up a fast track demolitions department. What a pity they can’t set up a fast track employment department or a fast track new business department.

    Is this the best they have to offer? Are they so stupid that they can’t see how this damages the image of Spain. Perhaps it is sabotage to get at the central government in Madrid. I have not met a single Spaniard who agrees with it so why are they doing it? Do they have some sort of death wish?

    Meanwhile Andalucia, the poorest region in Spain by far and recently honoured with the title “Banana Republic of Spain” sinks further into the mire with record unemployment, thousands of unsold properties and businesses going bust all over the place.

    Junta de Andalucia = bunch of losers.

  5. Susana Díaz is a big dissapointment, one was hoping she might usher in a new era of thought at the Junta. Clearly not, it’s more of the same. Why can’t Spain break this cycle? What on earth is wrong with them?

  6. Sheer spite. If these properties are illegal, what were the Junta doing while they were under construction? If they are illegal, why were they not stopped early the construction process? This is yet another display of staggering incompetence on the part of the Junta de Andalucia who are not fit for purpose.

    Many of the people affected in Alcaucin have owned and lived in their houses for over 10 years and they have only just had their building licences revoked. WHY? What the hell were those idiots at the Junta doing all that time? They reckon that there are over 100,000 so called illegal properties in that area and yet they deny having any knowledge of their construction. Not even remotely believable.

    How cynical that they wait until people have paid builders, lawyers, purchase taxes, kitted out their houses, bought furniture and then decide to pounce and announce that their homes are illegal.

    The affect of these demolitions is really kicking in now and in some areas, expats are leaving in droves. This is really starting to impact many towns and creating a downward spiral of decline. Great stuff Junta, got any more good ideas?

    Brian, there is nothing I would like more than to tell you exactly what I think of Susana Diaz but it is unprintable to the extent I would be arrested. She calls herself a socialist but there is nothing kind or caring about her. Boot her out.

  7. I don’t see what the problem is. It’s a geat example of Spanish economics.
    Wait in a shady bar for foreigners to arrive. Buy them a couple of drinks to demonstrate what an honest guy you are. Sell whatever you can to the foreigners, issue them a reciept worth nothing, wait for the government to declare the process illegal and seize what the foreigners have bought. Wait in a bar for the next load of foreigners to arrive and repeat. It’s a win for everyone involved except the foreigners and they can’t vote and will soon leave. ¿Cuál es el problema?

  8. Let’s not forget that although it is mainly expats being hit by all this, Spaniards are as well. I read recently about a house being demolished for being illegal despite being built many years ago. It was owned by, and lived in, by Spaniards. Yes, expats have been ripped off and will continue to be so, but others are suffering as well.

  9. Boulder has it spot on,
    I met a Brit who should have known better having spent a good part of his childhood growing up in the Canaries and spoke fluent Spanish.

    Stupidly he put up €40,000 in part payment on a very old (150 years +) farmhouse, without seeing the escritura. Then he found out that it did’nt have an escritura and was actually classed as illegal. Tried to get his money back which would have meant going to court and waiting years for that to happen and making a lot of money for some Spanish lawyer.

    It get’s better – he was visited by the con man owner who threatened him with violence if he did’nt pay the rest of the agreed purchase price. He later learned that trick had been used by the owner and his agent at least twice before.

    He accepted he had been a fool and wisely wrote off the €40,000.

    Steve – I had a Spanish friend whose cave house was squatted by a German woman and her son, they refused to leave and they too threatened this very gentle man. He then hired a lawyer to get back the cave house which was legally his only to find after being soaked by the lawyer for 3 years that he was deliberately stalling procedures because – he was taking money from the Germans as well – you simply could’nt make it up.

  10. Given the decades old unenviable reputation of the real estate sector in Spain, but specifically in Andalucía, I find it difficult to understand how and why people allow themselves to be fleeced by seemingly kosher property transactions. And I don’t wish to appear unsympathetic to these unfortunate people nor to all the others that have been screwed, the majority of whom are in fact, Spaniards.

    In the English culture, if a property transaction was being promoted by a ‘Del Boy’ character who ‘know’s the turf’, most people would run a mile, but it seems to me that all caution is thrown to the wind here.

    Volumes have been written about risking the permissions of mayors especially in campo projects without first checking with the Junta for (written) verification. And of course, the Priors are the well known example.

    Yes Lou, you are right, the strategy is to let people think all is hunky dory while they spend their money and then hit them with the reality. But we KNOW this, and still people fall for it.

    Susana Díaz has no intention of solving the alleged illegal housing issue from what I can see. Equally, she (and her chums) appear to be adopting the age old socialist policy of throwing money at a problem in the belief that, as if by magic, it creates a solution. To borrow a Clarksonism, ‘how hard can it be?’.

    And in the meantime the UK housing market is leaping forward because the system is by and large trusted, and permissions, once given, are in stone, thus attracting a shed load of foreign investment. But of course Rajoy and his buddies are far too occupied in sword rattling over Gibralter and covering his own a**e in alleged corruption issues.

  11. Steve, there is no denying that Spaniards are affected too and another Spanish owned house was demolished a few weeks ago in Alhaurin. Of course they are suffering at the hands of these lunatics because their economy has been very, very seriously damaged by the tsunami of negativity which is stiffling the region. If something does not change very soon, the consequences will be very frightening indeed.

    However, Spaniards do have the power of the vote in the regional elections which is something that foreigners do not have. They should use this power effectively.

    People from all over Europe read this website, not to mention that of SOHA and AUAN etc. and I know of a couple who were thinking of buying in Spain but were put off by stuff they have read on various comment sections. This is a serious wake up call to all those who think this does not affect them – it does. Estate agents in particular please take note.

    The Junta de Andalucia have the power to regularise all these properties and bring this nightmare to an end tomorrow but refuse to do so. They are responsible for this entire situation and deserve to be hung out to dry.

  12. Reading through the article again I wonder if the people involved checked out their lawyer before hiring him to do the purchase. There seem to be several points where alarm bells should have rung. We looked at several houses that seemed OK legally but our lawyer found problems which could come back to haunt us and steered us away from them. One of them had featured on the US version of A Place In The Sun yet our lawyer fund it would never get a habitation licence. It only had permission as an almacin.

  13. Jane. As foreigners we don’t have the vote at Government or regional elections. We do have the vote however at local elections. If the local Ayuntamiento have been involved in these activities, don’t vote for the guilty ones at the next election. Unfortunately a few foreigners not voting for them may have no effect as a lot of mayors are quite well liked, regardless of their activities.

  14. Steve, most people I know carried out all the relevant checks before purchase and used reputable lawyers. They could have had 100 lawyers but the outcome would still have been the same. They have had the rug pulled from under their feet and had their licences revoked retrospectively. There was no legal precedent for this and no reason to expect it to happen. Understandably, people struggle to come to terms with it and look for deep and meaningful reasons for what has happened but they are not there.

    The whys and wherefores are largely academic now and the only way forward is to have a full amnesty and then make sure the law is properly enforced thereafter. Any other course of action is simply counter productive and the bad publicity of demolitions far outweighs any so called benefit – not that I think there is any. The only way to achieve this is to get rid of the current administration at Junta which is why the regional elections are far more important. Yes, one might be able to vote in council elections but they are far less impacting.

    Pmsl – who cares what they are called, it is hardly the point here is it? But if you insist, shall we say “expats hereinafter referred to as foreigners”?

  15. The rules are there to preserve the environment (presumably), yet we have the largest farming under plastic in the world in Almería, with conditions for the workers there like something out of the ‘old cotton fields of Georgia and South Carolina’. The ecologists say nothing about this. Switching from highly environmentally unsound plastic farming to building homes in the hugely underpopulated interior, bringing wealth and jobs, would make Andalucía more like Florida – a place for retirees to live their final years and spend their money.
    To EMSL – we call ourselves ex-pats, because we used to be pats.

  16. Pmsl I think you’ll find it isn’t just the English that call themselves expats. Include the Scots, Welsh and Irish. It’s more a term conjured up by the press and it has caught on. I hate it. However, I expect the Poles have a term for their countrymen living in UK.

  17. Forget the pros and cons of this development who in their right minds would buy into a wooden structure built amongst woods in a region where brush and forest fires have been a regular feature for hundreds of years – Steve Millar No.5 – people in the city are going insane, people in the city are out of their brains.

    Don’t think for a moment this is confined to Brits, 2 years ago in La Vendee there were people who bought houses built behind the earth sea walls where – the apex of the roofs were below the ‘normal’ level of the sea. The sea broke through and they drowned, 46 of them, did they really need anyone to tell them they were insane?

  18. Lenox is right, the so called ecologists, a minority group, are backing the Junta de Andalucia to the hilt and they are all singing from the same hymn sheet. It is a widely held misconception that environmentalists are friends of the “oppressed” and always have the interests of the “little people” at heart. The same can be said of communism and it is worth remembering that the Junta de Andalucia is a socialist/communist coalition and the woman in charge of the fast track demolitions department is a member of IU. Their political ideology is closely intertwined which is why they have formed an alliance and they are using so called environmental issues like a weapon.

    This is rank hypocrisy of the first order and it comes as no surprise to me that they spout their rhetoric on the one hand and then exploit farm workers (and numerous other people) on the other. If they had a shred of humanity, they would not preside over the current despotic regime and would not have allowed the Priors (who are now bankrupt thanks to the demolition of their house) to live in their garage for 6 years with no electricity and a campervan for a bathroom. They would not have subjected thousands of people to years of pain and misery with the threat of losing homes and the stress of a demolition order hanging over them. They see their “own people” as collateral damage and do not care how much they damage them to achieve their aims. Their environmentalism is ruining the environment and they have completely lost the plot.

    The fact that Andalucia is the most deprived region in Spain with the highest level of poverty and unemployment is of little or no consequence to them. PSOE have held the region for over 30 years but what have they actually achieved? They are like a cancer that is slowly eating away at the place until it is completely destroyed. They have no answers to anything that is relevant and if left to their own devices, will reduce the place to a pile of rubble. The cynical side of me says that it is their intention to flog the rubble by the container load to China but, frankly, I doubt they have the intelligence to pull it off.

    People of Spain, do not allow these people hold you to ransom. If you do not get rid of them and quick, your future is very bleak indeed.

  19. PMSL: You are right of course. “Immigrants” is the accepted nomenclature. “Ex-Pats” seems so much more respectable though. Makes one sound reluctantly marooned from the Home Country, but bearing up and making the best of it.

  20. An immigrant is an expat from another country. However, the term expat can refer to anyone living abroad on a temporary basis. If you are on a five year contract overseas, you are an expat.
    Personally, to me it makes not the slightest difference. My Spanish neighbours look on me as that, just a neighbour

  21. Lou,
    in part thanks to Franco who never forgave Andalucia for being so vehemently anti-Fascist he made sure no finance came their way.

    If you did’nt have first hand experience as I did at the end of the 60s’ just how poor 99% of the people were then the lust for money that came with tourism and outsiders settling here, you can’t as a rational person understand how they could effectively destroy so much of the natural beauty that Andalucia once had. In 1968, no house or business had running water in Almeria, it all had to be brought in by bowsers.

    I well remember the owner of Almeria’s only hotel where I was staying running up the stairs and banging on the door not to turn on the tap as the bowser was delivering. This same hotel is now only for backpackers.

    I was living then – hotel and all restaurant meals on less than 10 shillings/50p a day.

  22. I think the only safe properties are village houses and some are big enough to have pools, they are a bit like a tardis.

    Expats all come here and leave their brains in the uk, 80 year olds living in the real campo campo, only one drives they dont speak spanish. disaster waiting to happen.
    people really need to think and be a bit sensible coming here
    USE YOUR NODDLE, and never trust the brits around you.

  23. Stuart: I was not around in the late 60s so on that point, I bow to your far greater experience. But I think the moral of the story is “move on”, one cannot keep living in the past. Andalucia had a golden opportunity to do just that but the Junta de Andalucia decided to ruin it and murder the residential tourist industry which was very lucrative indeed. They are a dead weight and have effectively set peoples’ feet in concrete boots.

    The history surrounding the Franco era in no way justifies the mass fraud that has taken place which has led to the demolition (some actual some threatened) of so many homes. It was the Junta’s job to police the region and they failed so they should pay the ultimate price. That price is an amnesty which should then be followed up with workable and enforceable planning laws. No other solution is really going to cut it. One thing is for sure, things cannot stay as they are because as a place, Andalucia is not working is it?

    Carla: I do agree that many people were rather foolish in their choice of location but that is not the whole story is it? What about the people who were not foolish in their choice of location who have been shafted? It is all too easy to be disingenuous and blame the victim. I do agree that it is crackpot to buy a country property when only one party drives but that is not the whole story is it?

    There is no escaping the fact that many foreigners who have bought property in Andalucia have been treated very badly through no fault of their own and for what purpose? There are thousands of unsold properties and wealthy foreigners have left in droves taking their money with them. The region is desperate for inward investment, growth and jobs but there is virtually nobody to replace the people who have left because of the reputation it now has. It’s an own goal.

  24. So, if the lease of the land cost €25k and the total cost was €110k then that would suggest they paid (in the region of) €85k for a pre-fab wooden house.
    Firstly, that seems a high amount. Granted, they said they had to pay other costs such as swimming pool etc.
    But why not dismantle the house and move it elsewhere? Or sell it to someone else who has a plot? It defies logic that you would simply walk away from a house of such value

  25. Jane. You say “most people I know carried out all the relevant checks before purchase and used reputable lawyers. They could have had 100 lawyers but the outcome would still have been the same. They have had the rug pulled from under their feet and had their licences revoked retrospectively. ”

    Yet the article says the developer had failed to get the correct licences. Is that not a problem or a warning sign that at least one of your 100 lawyers should have picked up?

    I do feel sorry for the people losing their homes. They trusted their lawyers to do their job properly which, to my mind, they didn’t do. Unfortunately, as in any country, it isn’t easy to sue a lawyer. The Junta could, and should, do a better job at resolving this fairly.

  26. Steve, I am not sure who you are defending here but yes, the lawyers in this particular case were negligent and should have picked up on it but as I have said before, the Spanish legal system has serious failings and is about as realiable as their planning laws. What a pity this did not come to light 15 years ago. My 100 lawyers comment was somewhat more generic and in particular referred to the people who bought country villas in places like Almeria and the Axarquia.

    Carla, perhaps you would like to come to the next SOHA meeting and explain to the members how are why you think they should not have bought new country properties. There will be a couple of hundred people there and you may get the chance to personally express your sympathy to some of the people affected by the demolitions.

    The majority of the members bought their properties 10 years ago or more, had the appropriate checks carried out and (I will say it again) used reputable lawyers who are still practising law. Exactly what part of that means that they left their brains in the UK – to quote your over used cliche. These houses were for sale and placed with various estate agents. Why on earth would anybody (back in 2000) have had any reason to doubt their legality? Did you? If so, where were you – were your screaming from the rooftops telling people not to buy new country properties at that time? I doubt it. Your complete lack of empathy astounds me.

    Hundreds of thousand of people bought these country villas so there must be considerable demand for them. The mayors wanted them, all the Spanish people I know wanted them, people wanted to buy them so what is the problem? As Lou said, why not have an amnesty and legalise them? The Junta have the power to do this but refuse.

    Many people on these comments pages seem to hold British people in very low regard and seem to constantly accuse people of being “stupid” or “asking for it”. When I read that one of my compatriots has a serious problem, my first instinct is to sympathise not criticise. Reading this website would put a lot of people off moving to Spain because they would worry about lack of support from their compatriots and who could blame them?

    For all those Junta apologists who think that all the Brits affected by the demolitions are “stupid” this is my parting shot. The Junta de Andalucia have killed the residential tourism business and preside over a broken economy. That makes them terminally stupid.

  27. To clarify, I am not a Junta apologist. The Junta are making a real mess of this whole situation. They could easily resolve it. There are many people losing their homes due enrirely to the Junta, not the peoples lawyers. Unfortunately it seems that whenever a case appears in the press it seems to be ones where good lawyers could have prevented this happening. It certainly isn’t every case but does seem to be the ones that get the most publicity, the Priors excepted of course.

  28. Steve: Exactly. A “good lawyer” How do you tell one from t’other? Are there such creatures in Spain? In any case, you are contradicting yourself. How would your “good lawyer” outdo a bent Junta?

  29. Stefanjo, There are good lawyers in Spain. You quite rightly ask how to find one. First, you don’t use one recommended by the developer or seller. Who knows whose side they will be on? Don’t use one recommended by a “guy in a bar”. Common sense. You can only go on recommendations, but only from people that you know really well. Ours works with our gestor, a gestor we have used for over 8 years. She came recommended by a family member that had used her for several years before that. We don’t regret using this lawyer at all as she found irregularities in several campo houses we looked at. One we looked at had all sorts of paperwork, including from the bank, confirming when the house was built but she went further and found satellite pictures that showed the house wasn’t there two years after the bank said it was. Another house she found had the wrong sort of building permission from the Ayuntamiento. That appears to have been the case in this article from what is written so I am confident she would have picked that up. In the case of the properties referred to in the article the Junta isn’t referred to. Yes, the Junta does appear to be bent but no reference to that in the article. To sum up, there are good lawyers out there. Finding them is the hard part but don’t just go on the recommendation of someone you don’t know. Would you have done that in the UK? Not much any lawyer can do when the Junta changes the rules to suit themselves but that doesn’t seem to be the case with the properties in this article.

  30. In the UK you don’t normally have to worry about there being 10% good lawyers, 90% bent and that is where people are too trusting when they get off the plane, would you bet your life savings that you have managed to get one of the 10%? How many times have you had a good tradesman recommended from a neighbour only to find out they are terrible. Until Spain gets a grip people will just buy in a more trustworthy Country or not bother at all. There are many reasons why properties in Spain are so cheap and it all comes down to the corruptness of developers, estate agents, lawyers, police and the politicians. The people who should sort this out are in the scam, so it is not going to happen anytime soon so why bother with Spain, go to Portugal or France instead or if you have to go to Spain, don’t buy anything under 20 years old, DO NOT HAND OVER ANY MONEY UNTIL YOU HAVE SEEN THE ESCRITURA( title deeds) that will show you the building LAYOUT and plot. When I purchased my last place they were trying to get me to hand over money without seeing an escritura, of course I did not hand over a deposit or sign anything. They had to sort out a few things that took them about 4 months, then the estate agent very badly drew the chicken house building on before they faxed a copy over. I was not bothered about the chicken house that was quite a size but see the original Escritura before handing cash over. DON’T BUY ANYTHING OFF PLAN. I had friends stay at one of my places, befriended in a bar, handed over £2k for off plan, no building approval and never saw the money again.

  31. Reap,
    there is a lawyer scam with leasehold property in the UK. The chances of freeholders being halfway honest and maintaining the property are as rare as chickens teeth. Even when they do some kind of maintenance, they bump up the charges by using corrupt builders who play along.

    I have never heard of a single lawyer warning a client not to buy into a leasehold property. My partner who then was in no way worldy wise bought a leasehold flat that was a total cowboy job and had no building control approval, in effect she was living illegally.

    The stupid/lazy woman lawyer, rec. by the mortgage lender only did a planning check, completely useless as the house was built in 1888. Angela wasted thousands and thousands and years and years before she was able to sell.

    When the second incompetent lawyer she hired contacted the first guess what she had ‘lost’ the paperwork. After 7 years (law of Limitation) she found it.

    Eventually the last scumbag/lawyer who kept jacking his charges up started proceedings with a leasehold tribunal totally weighted in favour of freeholders, she lost but the lawyer made plenty.

    She had to buy a leasehold extension, which should have been picked up by the first incompetent lawyer (what did she do for the money?)

    It took from 1987 until 2001 before she could sell. For most of that time she refused to accept that they are all shysters.

    Apparently there are honest lawyers (never met one personally) who are sick and tired of paying into the Lawyers Compensation fund because so many of them are totally bent.

    Had I met her BEFORE she bought into this nightmare it would never have happened.

    Anyone who buys a leasehold property in the UK either has to be gullible or crazy you don’t buy anything with leasehold, only the right to live in the property for a specific time and you will pay and pay whilst you are there.

    This system was created by the Norman/Norse invaders who wanted to permanently rub the noses of the Engli and Saxons in the dirt. Until quite recently all laws were written up in Norman/French.

    Only one other country has this terrible system – Hawaii, where the white Americans treat the indigenous people in exactly the same way.

    If education was actually what children go to school for then the last year could be the one when all these scams that line the pockets of the corrupt few percent could and should be exposed – leasehold/pensions/life insurance – caveat emptor.

    It’s not only Spain where it is difficult to get one lawyer to act on your behalf to sue another and when you do guess who makes a lot of money whilst the client ends up with j/s.

    PS – if anyone knows of an honest intelligent lawyer that really does act in the interests of a client let me know – maybe on another planet but not this one.

    I had a very good client over many years, a well known English Literature professor who when he learned that I was planning to sue someone warned me in no uncertain terms – Stuart don’t go near a lawyer ever, stay right away from them – one of the best pieces of advice I ever had, I gnored it then but after that the lesson was learned.

    Will Shakespeare was right on the money – kill all the lawyers.

  32. Pmsl,

    Your correct. Expat’s are employee’s that are sent by companies to work in another country. All others are immigrants.

    As Mr Caine would say. “Not a lot of people know that.

  33. Jane,

    Again correct, we are just foreigners besides being immigrants.

    Pmsl – who cares what they are called, it is hardly the point here is it? But if you insist, shall we say “expats hereinafter referred to as foreigners”?

  34. Stuart Crawford,

    “I was living then – hotel and all restaurant meals on less than 10 shillings/50p a day”.

    Ah, the good ol’ days, three course meal and a bottle of good plonk for 10pts.

  35. To all,

    Had anyone thought of renting a nice apartment. If it’s about to be pulled down ya just move to another one. Simple really,
    know lots of people that rent with none of the problems of what I have read..

    Sorry if this may upset a certain class of people and suppose this will be followed by a deluge of articles.

  36. cacca,
    there are no ‘good’ apartments, they are all rubbish built – freezing cold in winter and sweltering in summer. Just take a look at all the Spanish kids playing outside till 1Am – bad parents no, just impossible to get to sleep until the heat inside the apartments abates a little.

    Coastal dwellers should only comment about the Med coast – it’s a different climate inland.

    Also, it was only the ‘good old days’ for those with money, there was’nt a lot of that about for the ordinary Spanish. Waiting for the night train to Paris at the border, I saw all those Andalucians leaving for northern Europe – sad because back then, family life was what it was all about and emigration meant tearing the family apart.

  37. Cacca yaya, first sensible thing you have said in a year, I doubt it will last.Stuart, I have owned leasehold in London before but I knew how long the leases were, the maintenance is slightly over the top for what you get but I knew that before I purchased and never felt hoodwinked. Likewise, in Spain I pay over 1k a year on each place to maintain, one I arrange directly the other is in a coastal concrete jungle but the value in Spain is better, as we have 24 hour security in the concrete jungle, pool cleaners, gardeners…You can buy legal properties in Spain of course and I do know a good Spanish builder, even through this recession he is still booked up for the next year, that is how good he is, built my concrete pool 10 years ago, still good.

  38. Stuart,

    There are “nice” an “good” apartments in Spain. You get what you pay for.

    It’s surprising with all the wall insulation’s, roof insulation’s and floor carpeting one still needs central heating in the U.K to keep warm. Take ya pick.

  39. Reap,
    your streetwise like me but many are’nt and the law is not there to protect them but the scumbags who feed off them.

    You say you know a good Spanish builder – would his work pass Building Regs part 2 – what is the U value of the houses/apartments he builds, would he even know what a U value was and how to arrive at a correct figure?

  40. Reap,

    How come no response to the Mexico situation.

    Anyway, I also own a flat in the London area, U.K and extended the lease to 999 years.

    Previously, when purchased, it had a 60 year lease but since then the law had changed, hence the purchase of a 999 year lease.

    Nice gardens well maintained, but at a cost. Ya get what ya pay for.

  41. Stuart,

    Now come on Stu, don’t show your ignorance by asking poor ol’ Reap such questions as to U value’s.

    Doubt if the Spanish builder would know anything about it as it’s not required in Spain. Air condition yes, takes the heat out not keeping it in.

  42. Stuart,

    You certainly have a problem. I was going to suggest you enroll into a Anger Management coarse but afraid you are too far gone. Calm down, we all know the problems in Spain, no point in keep repeating the same old tune. Some of use do like living here and it’s a pity you did not think of the poor old Spaniards when in the good ol’ days you were spending 50 pence a day.

    Give it a rest please.

  43. Steve: There are insulation requirements as part of building regs. in the U.K. so a builder in ignorance of these would not get to build many houses. Unlike Spain, where ticky tacky rules supreme.

  44. Steve,

    A British builder does not need to calculate the U value loss of a house, he builds it to the requirements of the architect who need’s to get it pass building regulations.

    Tell me, why does the builder need to calculate the U value, it’s not his job, his job is to build the house.

  45. Stefanjo,

    Building in Spain is completely different to that of the U.K.

    How many Spanish builds do you see with cavity walls. In Spain, 9 inch walls.

    How many houses, flats, villas do you see built with wooden floor joists.

    How many of the above do you see with fitted carpets.

    One could go on and on about the differences but for good ol’ Stuart to accuse the British builder of not knowing the U value is a load of rubbish.

  46. Stefanjo, you are very trusting of builders in UK. Over the years they have been the source of many programmes on TV where builders have cut corners or just not done a good job by not following the architects plans. Plans which were submitted and passed as following code but the end product told a different tale. What the inspector can’t see, or doesn’t look at, is anybody’s guess!

  47. Steve,

    We seemed to have drifted from a builder knowing a U value to bad building. It depends on what U value one is looking for and besides if a builder is asked to check the U value on a property he would re-acquire U value calculator equipment the same as a central heating installer would use a heating calculator to establish the size of radiators needed for each room which in turn indicates the size of boiler required.

    Wonderful these types of calculators, tell’s you everything needed the same as punching the tab’s on the computer to send an immediate message instead of hand writing or typing and sending by post or pigeon.

    By the way Steve, I also know something about building and pigeons. Buying plots of land years ago with building permission’s for £1400 and selling completed houses for £5850.

    Pigeons, I use to race them many years ago, even imported my stock birds into Spain.

  48. Steve,

    Your note did not appear until after my reply. Better still, there has been countless chats about the situation in Spain. Time to change the tune. How’s about finding all the faults in the U.K.

    A couple of weeks ago whilst back in the U.K I was the only person that paid cash on the bus, the driver almost fell off of his seat.

  49. I am going around the U bend here. I have looked at the Spanish builders houses and they have cavity walls and insulation. They are built as all of them I believe to local earthquake standards. I can’t believe I am saying this but caca yaya does have a point regarding the heat. They have tiled floors and no carpets for a reason and carpets are bt unpractical for many Spanish properties and tiles last much longer. Spanish properties can be cold in winter but there are many people in the UK who die from houses that are too hot in the Summer so I do not think it is quite as important as the Uk to be ultra-lagged as you would also end up with a large electric bill for A/C in the summer but yes, the old properties, just like the old Uk properties are cold in the winter, but not much colder than my last Edwardian house with original sash windows. The heating bills in Spain are a lot more than the UK December to mid-March as you have to use logs or bottled gas which is more expensive but overall with the electric being more expensive in Spain there is probably not much difference on a yearly basis with price, even in my old Spanish house in the mountains. The sun also warms the house up a little in the winter and there is not much of that in the UK. When i was in my apartment the other weekend, although it was a bit cold I did not bother with heating and yes, they had a mild Winter, a bit like the UK. As for the Spanish builders I know / use, they are very motivated and very professional, very hard to come across good builders in any Country. Granite is at least half the price of UK, labour is cheaper and if you are retired with a good pension, in one of the 99.9% of legal houses you are probably happy as Larry in Spain, many are. I ma not changing my tune here, it is just a fact, I spoke with such people last two weeks ago in Spain.

  50. “In Spain, nine-inch walls” Twenty three cm. actually, (they use metric in Spain) That is exactly the problem. Heat pours in, it’s stored in the concrete and roasts the occupants for hours at night, thus requiring air-con. The opposite occurs in winter, fuel is burnt and the heat pours out. So power needs to be consumed at both ends of the calender. The best example of coping with the environment in Spain lies in cave houses such as those in Guadix. Small windows and thick walls, that’s the ticket.

  51. I have to say my mountain property keeps nice and cool during the day without A/C, of course you have to keep the shutters almost fully down where there is direct sunlight and we even keep the windows closed after the evening air has cooled the place down overnight as it can feel like an fan oven is blowing especially in between 13.00 to 17.00. The coastal apartment is not bad as there is a breeze most afternoons but the nights can feel a bit muggy. In France though, where I stayed in an F1 hotel last summer for 7 hours sleep it felt even worse than Spain so you know, there is some kidding going on here about things being perfect in other Countries and worse in Spain. I can tell you that my house in the UK cannot cope with 35c heat, and I have double loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, double glazing, not that humid here… As stefano states, if you live in a hole you should be OK but with no natural sunlight it may drive you mad.

  52. Reap,

    That’s been my point all along, most people living here are quite happy and naturally there are some that are not. Most of the people I associate with are like myself pensioners and are quite happy to live here, some have even had birthday cards from the queen but have since past away here in Spain.

    I also know of good Spanish builders which do a first class job and some are cowboys just like those back in the U.K.

    I actually made a drawing for some Spanish builders that were doing some drainage from a high point to a lower point with intermittent manholes (proper manhole) which was most appreciated. Something new that these builders had learned.

  53. Stefanjo,

    Actually it’s 229 cm to be more precise, but that’s only the length of course.

    By the way Stef the above 100cm drainage pipe that I had mentioned to Reap had a fall of 25cm every 2mt if you wish to calculate in metric, do you know why and how it married to each manholes.

  54. Reap, you have to be joking that any property in Spain is built to withstand earthquakes wherever did you get that idea. Take a look on the net at what the Japanese and Turks are doing – that’s real earthquake construction.

    Cavity wall construction in Spain – never seen it, only country I know that uses this system is the UK. None inch walls – hilarious, even the party walls are made of cavity clay blocks that are 7cms – don’t believe me, go and take a look at any apartment/housing construction site.

    In Galicia we lived in a small apartment block built 1999 – it had a single brick external wall.

    Only the idiot Brits use fitted carpets – very bad for the health. Tiles are used because the floors are made from re-inforced concrete and c/heating pipes have zero insulation that’s why no one in our block in Guadix used the c/heating as you are attempting to heat a concrete slab.

    As someone who has personal professional experience in construction in 4 different countries there is an awful lot of uninformed waffle being spouted here.

    You mention France Reap – what you don’t say is if it was a modern or old hotel. I don’t like the materials used in French construction – too much like Spain – awful dense concrete blocks and the even worse cavity clay blocks.

    Have none of you noticed that Spanish homes ring like a bell, simple all the materials used are highly reflective.

    Reap – you can’t compare a coastal property with a mountain one, completely different climate.

    You also know absolutely nothing about cave houses – your beginning to sound like cacca. A proper cave house has a constant temperature of 19C all year round.

    My opthalmologist surgeon has a modern house (he’s not short of a bob or two) but guess what come end of May, if not sooner he decamps to his old cave house that is behind his modern one – because he can’t take the heat in the modern house.

    Stefanjo – these cave house are literally carved out of the side of a hill, so walls can be very thick. Each room that does’nt have an exterior has one of those wonderful stove pipe type ventilation chimneys and another point is that you can sleep like a baby – zero ingress of noise and in Spain that is priceless.

    Also Reap you quite obviously don’t know what real insulation is – if it’s effective then it is so in summer and winter.

    Before we moved to Spain we lived in a house that was built in 1888. I had to put right all the cowboy work. Of course I used secondary glazing behind the sash windows, did this never occur to you? we have never been warm in winter since we left the UK. The present rented house has standard thickness walls of virtually all old houses in Europe – 640mm thick made of dense stone which conducts heat wonderfully – heat is heat – there are two ends to the spectrum.

    For idiots banging on about wall thickness -completely irrelevant it’s what materials are used that dictates the insulation value – go take a look at pipe insulation used in alt. energy systems, the wall thickness is not much but you won’t feel any heat loss.

    Cacca – from what you have stated about U values – you simply hav’nt got a clue what the term means or how a U value is arrived at but you are good for a laugh.

  55. Stuart,

    Or is it Stew. You do come out with a lot of crap.

    How many houses have you built. How many pools have you built. How many covert-ions have you done, how many central heating jobs have you done, how many drawings had you done and passed by the planning department, and by that I mean personally, I have. Been personally involved in all those subjects.

    So don’t talk a lot of crap about you knowing about U values, you need instruments to check and give information as to where the heat loss is occurring.

    Each house I built had the NHBC certificate. Two lots of building inspectors, one from the council and one from the NHBC. Never had any problems.

    Are you familiar with underfloor heating in Spain. Had done it in the U.K 50 years ago where concrete floors have been laid.

    There are various forms of U value’s that one can check, but not a job for a builder, never been asked, and if asked I would call in a professional for advice, job for an architect to find these values.. So don’t talk a lot of crap about you knowing about U values.

    Asked to build a pool for Max Bygraves years ago. Thought it was one of his jokes when he said he wanted it heated by the sun. I said we don’t get sun in England. But he did explain that he had just returned from Japan and the pool on the roof at the hotel was heated with these things called solar panels.

    I had never heard of them then, and had to get information’s from my local library. Drawing’s in the books were hand drawn and instruction on how to build them, amateur stuff really. Never the less I told him I was to busy and and declined the job, didn’t wish to get involved with a law suit over hand made solar panels.

    But one of the pools I did build was for a titled Lady at her country home. (Six resident gardeners in out of sight bungalows and house staff with a butler. She lived in London all week and would visit her country home for weekends. (Daddie was the main partner of the biggest stores in the U.K, you may have heard of the stores, begin’s with an M)

    Showed her a catalog of various designs of pools. “If it’s in a book, don’t want it” she replied. Then she picked up a three leaf clover from the lawn and said, “Build me a four leaf clover shaped pool 40ft x 40ft heated and with underwater lighting. Didn’t want oil fired boilers due to the fumes. Potterson Boilers had to join two 120 btu gas boilers to give me the temperature required of 60 degrees. Ladies and gents changing rooms under the pool. All walls to changing rooms, ceilings and floor in mosaic.

    Price accepted and job done. Still have the plans I had drawn up here in Spain.

    Stew, I could go on and on so don’t talk of trivial stuff of U values on a house.

    Stick to what you know best, talk ya ya

    By the way besides the building company I was also the first person in the U.K to charge £2.50 for a 24 hour hire of video’s, VHS, Beta and 12” discs. Warner Bros films could not be hired out at the time, sale only, but I overcame that by offering a free Warner hire with a film rented. Introduced many things which eventually was picked up by other new video shops that came onto the scene. Even sold spaces for advertising on the outgoing video sleeves. Had about 4 companies on the go at one time.

    But life changes and one gets older and thought ‘Do I need all this s/t, so sold up (except for income properties in the U.K) and decided to retire to a more tranquil and happier life in sunny Spain. Made lots of new friends that had been in the same position as myself. So it’s not all gloom for some, good and bad everywhere.

    Think you said you met some contented people a few weeks back.

  56. Stuart,

    One of my last builds was a new Doctors surgery. Brick outside, slab insulation in cavity and 150cm celcon internal Blocks. And of course central heating. Had problems with the site at first, needed a structural engineers to design a re-enforced concrete slab. Digger still showing disparity in the soil as far as the boom could reach.

    Apparently when I inquired at the council as to the site it was shown many years ago as an infill. Blast. Still standing and a computer room has been added. I normally have a chat with the Doctors when I visit the U.K and have a laugh that it’s still there.

  57. Stew or Stuart,

    Prior to laying electrical underfloor heating, insulation is made thus directing the heat upwards instead of back into the concrete. When I installed this some 50 years ago back in the U.K we did use insulation and naturally today’s modern methods were not available but never the less like all modern methods they learn and are a follow up from the past.

    Recently on renovating our two bathrooms electrical underfloor heating was installed. This now comes with a built in insulation.

  58. Stuart, not sure why you are bringing Japan in and yes I have seen the programmes where their buildings are on moveable plates. I don’t think I would want a property in Spain fully insulated when it gets to 40c unless I wanted to A/C on day and night. I know what the insulation is like in Spain and it does not put me off living in Spain, I had central heating fitted at one place run by the log fire… Again, no difference in yearly utility bills compared to the UK even when I have a massive pool to run and taking into account with what I have said before I cannot see a problem. I know a couple of years ago when I said I had good Spanish builders you were on straight away telling me they are all rubbish, please you are a bit OTT with trying to rubbish everything and everyone in Spain, yes it has many problems but not everything is 100% bad. If you keep moving around the world trying to find paradise, I can tell you it does not exist. A balanced view would be more appreciated as just stating everything is terrible just reduces your credibility and you do come across as Mr Angry / Mr Nasty with your replies, keep calm with your postings it makes for a more pleasant read. Cave houses, would not like in one if you gave it to me free and yes, I have been in one, the only people who buy a cave house are the people who cannot afford a proper house.

  59. Reap,

    Well said, you have just gained another upward notch in sensibility but keep it going and don’t be distracted with negative thinking people.

    My view has been the same along but some people just don’t like hearing the truth.

  60. NikKi, These expats were given 3 weeks eviction notice only. No time to sell or decide on options available to them.
    Within 2/3 days their homes were swamped by wood and furniture buyers and suffered repeated robberies and vandalism. The Park was engulfed with removal vans, artic lorries, cranes and unscrupulous estate agents; all doing their best to make a quick buck. The bewildered residents could only do their best to get out before the Guardia turfed them off with nothing. Their retirement future hangs in the balance. They loved their Spanish homes and the wonderful country that they choose to live in. The residents’ spent a fortune on keeping their community going, paying unpaid electric bills etc when the developer disappeared to Muscat to engage on a new rampage, having failed to make his dream project work in con junction with the wealthy landowner, who promised that he would never turn them off his land. Avarice is not recommended. It causes too much unhappiness

  61. Gill. Your post is confusing me. You seem to be suggesting that they only had three weeks notice of having to move out. Yet they have had a two and a half year legal battle to try to stop it happening! Somewhat more than three weeks notice. OK, they may have only had three weeks notice of the actual eviction date and it is a horrible position to be in, but they had more than three weeks to consider their options. They knew it was coming. Again, a horrendous position to be in, but not correct to infer they only had three weeks notice that it was going to happen!

  62. Steve,

    Note. My response to some articles on these sites I don’t agree with and that’s my prerogative to question the thought’s of others the same agreeing to articles and your reply to Gill is something that I also agree to.

    From what I understand the owner of the land never intended to sell the land and the real Culprit in this fiasco is this guy called Joll who duped people to build. But also surely, some blame must be placed on the people involved in building there without an escritura and proper authorization to build.

    Would anyone build on land without

  63. It is clear Spain has big pending issues to solve here in Spain. These issues are the town hall planning in particular and the inefficiency of the administration in general which is a real mess here but I am sorry to say that the main responsible for this problem with Atlantic Parks are British (Joll is not a Spanih surname…) so people should not always blame Spain of absolutely everything as we hae many crooks here but we have also imported a good bunch of them from the UK and Germany who saddly have aimed their businesses to rip off their own country fellowmen… I really hope the owners get the problem sorted out.

  64. stuart, all houses are built with concrete pillars no walls are load bearing, and nearly always with cavity with the outer skin spayed with a spray on insulation before then building the inside wall.

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