THE Junta de Andalucia is set to demolish two more British-owned homes in Cantoria, Almeria.

Two houses in the village of Las Terrenas have already been demolished and the town’s former mayor arrested for lying about his involvement with the properties.

The two detached houses were judged to have been built on undeveloped land without the required paperwork.

The former mayor Pedro Llamas is currently serving a two year prison sentence for lying about authorising water and electricity supplies to the four properties.

119 COMMENTS

  1. I and no doubt the majority will treat the “should, could, would” comments with the view that Gus knows little, and spouts a lot, but he deserves his/her opinion.

    And conversely, I copy below those views of people who “do, did, done” below, as not a “barrack lawyer” suggestion of “Could, Should, Would” to be seen:

    ALMANZORA, CHRONICLE OF A DEATH FORETOLD

    If nothing happens to prevent it, next Tuesday British investment in the Valley of Almanzora will be buried under the rubble of two houses that are due for demolition. It will be a sad day, a day of mourning. As the bricks fall so will the dreams of the British who had the bad luck to invest their life savings in these houses and who believed they would be protected. Each movement of the bulldozer will bury the future of a multitude of businesses and jobs.

    The indications are that it is going to happen. The death sentence has been signed. The problem is that no one wants to be responsible for the body, because nobody admits to having gunpowder on their hands.

    You can say what you like on paper. However it is not paper, but human lives, that we are destroying. Foreign buyers do not deserve this treatment. The question is…Why can’t the Administration and the authorities be practical and why can’t they resolve this problem now? Why must there be a continuous drip feed of demolitions, in a large part affecting Britons? Let’s be sensible. Let’s stop making excuses and resolve these problems once and for all.

    Nobody outside of Spain can understand how material injustices of this kind can be permitted. Even here, there is social outcry for the trampling of Human Rights. So say the Mayors of the Valley of Almanzora. So say the Associations, the business people, the professionals and civil society in general.

    Have some common sense! Please!

    Hopefully we will be wrong and in the end sanity will prevail for the benefit of everyone. But the fear is that on the 18th another nail will be put into the coffin of social and economic welfare In the Valley of Almanzora. Then we must dress in black, because it will be a day of mourning.

    Gerardo Vazquez
    Legal advisor to AUAN

    Maura Hillen
    President of AUAN

  2. To keep repeating nonsense Gus, will never make it any more relevant or true. You are simply glossing over and deliberately ignoring the many rebuttals to your futile ideas.
    Give it up before you become a laughing stock.

  3. Make no mistake about it, this was a pre-meditated act of extortion right from the start. Think about it, it is a nice little earner isn’t it?

    Get a load of wealthy Northern Europeans (mostly British) to buy houses in rural Spain, get them to part with as much money as possible, let them build, use local tradesmen, buy furniture, pay taxes, wait until you think the market has peaked, declare all the properties illegal, extract more money from them for lawyers and court fees in the vain hope that they might be able to save their homes and then charge them for the actual demolition.

    Is this Spain or the People’s Republic of China? I note that some bright spark on here wants to take it even further and suggests, in a sanctimonious and patronising manner, that these houses should be regularised and not legalised and any proceeds of sale over and above the escritura value should go to the state. Who exactly, the oh so virtuous, ‘we are only upholding the law’ half-witted, Junta de Andalucia? – by the way, any news on the EU millions?

    My reaction to this suggestion and all the others he makes is very simple, the second word is ‘OFF’.

    I can already sense that this is going to be one demolition too many. The mood is very different this time around and the Spanish authorities have clearly got a real fight on their hands.

    Well I’ve got a suggestion of my own to make and it is this. To add insult to the above injury, British tax-payers give Spain £14 million a year to subsidise bull-fighting and I think the UK Government should withhold that money and give it to the victims of this vile scam. There is huge public support in the UK to withhold this money anyway on account of animal welfare but once this story hits the press next week, it will become a no-brainer because support will be overwhelming.

    I will be passing this link to as many people around the world as I can. I would urge others to do the same.

    GIVE ‘EM HELL.

  4. Firstly to set the record straight, I do not believe that the homes should be demolished. That way it’s the direct victims of the illegal act that are being penalised.

    However, there must be the rule of law. Without law we descend into bullying chaos of robber barons and the like. The law states that the buildings are illegal and so they cannot be legalised unless there is a change in the law. The Junta have done that in creating the Regularisation process. Effectively, for day to day living it’s the same as if the house was legalised and the only difference is that the title will state that it’s a regularised property. The market will become used to that and effectively there will be no value differences for the basic building. However, there can be no additions to the property as that would be compounding the illegality and that might reduce their value.

    Whilst there is the rule of law, there also has to be compassion and this is where I think the Junta are failing with regard to the demolition of properties in which people are living. If it’s their principal and only home then, as long as it’s not in a dangerous location, it should be permitted.

    However, the guilty parties should not get away with it. The people who have the rights to sue all those guilty of breaking the law and assisting those to do so (look at earlier comment for the identification of those) are the victims. It should be made a condition of the regularisation of the property that the victims legally transfer the right to sue to the Junta de Andalucía. Then it is up to the Junta to take action against all those people, which they can do much more easily as they have the legal establishment and embargo powers that individuals do not have. As stated above there can be no appeal by the guilty as they will have signed the various documents and taken the money – including the ‘B’, which could open up another can of worms! By doing it this way, there is no need for retrospective legislation as the right to sue comes from past misdeeds, which were illegal at the time of committing them. Where there is need for a change is in making such actions a criminal offence and not just a civil one, which would stop all professionals participating. It worked with the money-laundering cases where notaries and the like where brought to court, which would have concentrated the minds of many others working on the fringe of legality.

    If the two houses are demolished this week that will be a great moral wrong and show the lack of compassion in many parts of Spanish society, but will not be an injustice as its not an illegal act.

  5. @Gus, third time lucky perhaps.

    “They set the rules and people ignored them and built houses where they shouldn’t.”

    Who are the “people” you refer to in your original post, Gus?

    “However, there must be the rule of law.”

    Gus, why do you talk crap?

  6. Yes Gus, of course there must be rule of law, but the fact is in all of these these cases, justice has been delayed, so effectively denied, the perpetrators get away with little sanction or loss, the victims end up massively out of pocket with no home or real prospect of compensation. For the owners of these two houses, who bought in good faith, it very much WILL be an injustice – as it was and continues to be for the Priors!

    Clearly, in Spain, there is no rule of law!

  7. ‘Who are the people’ Fred? As Stefanjo said ‘For pity’s sake ‘Tastic, don’t have him repeat it all again. Read the damn column!’

    ‘Rule of Law’ – Whatever you want to call it Fred, that’s what civilisation and society is all about. If you’re not happy with the law, you change it, but you don’t break it. The ‘people’ broke the law and with Regularisation the Junta has changed it. They need to change it more so that houses aren’t demolished.

  8. Stefanjo – its not me glossing over things. I’m opening them up to the light. Ignoring the people who perpetrated these acts and going after the Junta is the ‘glossing over’. To end this there’s got to be a working with the Junta, which is in everyone’s interests.

    Iestyn ap Robert – Application of the law is the problem as you say. If the Junta had stopped the construction before the end buyers had bought, then the people who acted illegally would be the losers. It’s the delay of application of the law that brings it to a social problem where the ‘innocent’ party loses everything and the perpetrators appear to lose nothing – yet! Under the ‘transfer of rights to sue’ scheme I suggested they would never escape.

  9. Gus, “Rule of Law” in Spain, you’re having a laugh and “bullying chaos” – already got that, it’s called the Junta and stop banging on about things being “dangerous”, not only is it the thin end of the wedge, it’s wet. This endless, ill-thought out drivel you keep spouting is not only very, very boring indeed but also completely irrelevant. Go and practice your English elsewhere.

    Fellow commenters, please stop responding to this garbage, he is an activist who is trying to undermine our cause by playing devil’s advocate.

  10. OK Jane, I’ll go. You’re all so keen to waste your energies on the streets and sell newspapers, but not effectively to get at the greedy, selfish individuals who have caused the problem; or to stop it happening in the future. None of you have come up with any ideas of what to do – except shouting, either physically or in print. Think about it constructively with a logical, open mind. As I read your comments they are just emotion without background thought.’

    The Law is there. The ‘bullies’ as you call them, work to it so the only way to counter them is to change the law.

    PS My first language is English!

    You asked who the people were Fred so I told you.

  11. esy of Auan Almanzora

    Quote
    CONFIRMATION: Last minute appeal has not been successful. Therefore two British owned houses in Las Terreras, Cantoria are to be demolished tomorrow, Tuesday 18th of November at 12.00. With NO prior compensation for purchasers in good faith. Unquote.

    No doubt the ensuing press publicity will put even more economic migrants off bailing out the Spanish economy.

  12. and finally to the OP

    If and it now seems certain, the (Cantoria) demolitions go ahead, if you update report it, you might confirm or amend your original statement in this publication:

    Quote:
    The former Mayor (Cantoria) Pedro Llamas is currently serving a two year prison sentence for lying about authorising water and electricity supplies to the four properties. Unquote.

  13. Greedy, selfish individuals did not cause the problem. It was institutionalised corruption where Public servants were in it every step of the process, the Builders, Town Hall Architects/planners, the Mayors, Lawyers and even some Notaries. Even local residents who knew they could be illegal but shrugged and said nothing….until sold.

  14. Tomorrow will be a very sad day indeed. My sympathies go to the two couples who own these properties and my thanks to those who have been supportive which, of course, includes The Olive Press.

    Bryan, yes, UK media (don’t know about Irish) are on the case and have no fear, it will be well reported. The fallout from this will be very ugly indeed, you can be sure of that.

    So what next? Will these idiots at the Junta de Andalucia finally change the law and legalise the many thousands of other affected properties or will these demolitions go on indefinitely with yet more lives be ruined?

    Welcome to the Banana Republic of Andalucia.

  15. The deed is done:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amQAfI62uZU&feature=youtu.be

    It will be interesting to see if the foundations are demolished as well, or like the Priors foundations, remain as a reminder of how futile this action is, doubt if fruit trees will ever flourish in this area of Spain again, nor foreign investment.

    The message to incomers must be; only rent Spanish property as cheap as possible, (there is plenty to choose from) don’t keep money in a Spanish bank, and if you cannot beat the fraudsters, join them.

  16. Spanish press are covering it, and here is first of UK press:

    “http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2839782/British-couples-dream-140-000-Spanish-villas-demolished-bulldozers-losing-ten-year-legal-battle-caused-former-mayor-forging-documents.html”

  17. The work of ignorant, unimaginative jobsworths in the Junta and Courts. Get after the promoter and ALL who helped him and make an example of them. Feature photos of them on the newspapers, websites, etc. Make them financial and social pariahs. And if there are more pending demolitions, do the same for ALL those involved there, before the demolition. Keep it to the truth with no embellishments. List the money they made out of it. It won’t bring the house back nor will any compensation make amends for the grief and stress they’ve caused, but at least they should go through the same. That’s where anger and enforcement should be directed. Get the laws changed from demolition of the victims’ homes to ‘demolition’ of ALL those involved in the promotion from start to finish.

  18. Well I can tell you after watching the youtube video it made me fell very sad, sick even, not often a hard nose person like me will state that. I have also shared the youtube video and daily mail article on my face book and would urge everyone else to do the same. Some of my relatives on facebook are well travelled and have lived in many parts of the world and have over 1,000 friends on their facebook page so let us hope that this causes Spain a lot of hardship. Now, get those owners on UK TV with that footage. Maybe a photo or video after it is all gone. Max impact time is now. DON’T BUY A PROPERTY IN SPAIN, that is the only advice I can give you as a long termer, go to Portugal instead.

  19. I would go further than LaHoya and Reap and urge people to boycott Spain altogether. Hit them where it hurts, make them pay for what they have done, they do not deserve your money. Have passed on DM link/youtube link to the world and its dog and asked my MEP to get the film footage to Brussels immediately and disgrace the Spanish MEPs – yet again.

    This is a demolition too far and it is going to turn very nasty indeed, the mood music is very different this time around. The Junta de Andalucia are going to bitterly regret scoring this greatest own goal of all time. I hope they rot in hell.

  20. Keep going Jane, it is only people like you that will have any chance of changing things. I see the top post in the DM already has over 1,100 green arrows and approaching another 600 posts from individuals. I am in Spain next month but I am finding it all a little disturbing now. If I did not own properties there I would go somewhere else as the youtube video would be in the back of my mind and I would be thinking what a disgusting bunch of politicians there are in Spain, your property purchase would be safer in Afghanistan. The worker in the JCB should also be ashamed of himself, how can he sleep of a night.

  21. @ Bryan, worth looking at the Facebook sites of AUAN or SOHA to keep up with press coverage of demolitions, you don’t have to register personally to see their Facebook sites and information. They have their own press releases, and the list may not be exhaustive, so hence the rest of us are informing other media as Jane suggests. If Malaga Sur is indeed not on their lists, feel sure they will read this and add it on in future, however Junta bias media might well not choose to publish.

    I believe the villa opposite was designated for demolition today.

    @Jane, fully agree to boycott Spain, the only reason I will return to Spain, will be as and when we can sell our irregular villa, however the lure of the ex pat community to the sun will no doubt go on once the dust settles, so damage limitation might be all we can hope for,

  22. “It’s the delay of application of the law that brings it to a social problem where the ‘innocent’ party loses everything”

    It’s a lot more than a social problem Gus, it’s an injustice. Justice delayed is justice denied. Very clearly the case here and for many others.

  23. Like a good many contrubtors to the OP, I’ve lived here for a few years now and sadly, have seen the reputation of Spain go from decidedly dodgy to one of utter ridicule. We have a bunch of politicians in governmental power pontificating about the need to observe to the letter the content of the constitution (re-: Cataluña) and yet the most fundamental requirement of justice for the victims of property scams appears to have no value whatsover.

    If those culpable are supposed to have gone ‘bankrupt’ then THEIR homes should be seized, sold and the procedes handed to the victims.

    It beggars belief that Rajoy bleats on about how Spain has ‘turned the corner’ and yet seems perfectly happy to accept that property law remains in the dark ages.

  24. Quote AUAN Almanzora Facebook:

    Today, the Junta finished the job. The former home of Peter and Margaret Hegarty, demolished.

    4 years ago, this is what the Spanish Ambassador to Spain said on BBC Watchdog:

    “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MoFHho4vaI”

    The party line is crooked like everything else in Spain.

  25. I’ve been a lone voice through all this column, but Marion, repetition of these illegal promotions is what’s got to be stopped. Make involvement with construction, buying or selling an illegal property – promoter, architect, lawyer, banker, politician, estate agent, whoever – a CRIMINAL offence and then they won’t work on these jobs and it will stop.

    Get the law changed – its the only way.
    Whoopee, we’ve got press and ‘its going to get ugly’. What can the officials of the Junta and the Courts do? They are stuck with the existing laws. Get them to change the laws.

    All the ‘professionals’ listed above involved with the existing illegal properties must be individually identified and broadcast. That would get their and the local press attention and bring action.

    Also a professional has Professional Indemnity insurance so even if he/she goes bankrupt, it is there to pay. If he/she goes bankrupt he/she won’t be able to work as a professional until all debts are cleared. Contact the professional indemnity insurers of the professional Colegios and give the list of those involved to them. It will be a black mark in their ‘risk’ record and make their premiums higher next year. Find out how much ‘B’ money was paid and report them to the Hacienda and IVA people. Fight dirty. Those who have lost their homes will have all that information. More than just the sorrow for their plight, give them the assistance to fight. Don’t just get angry, get even!

    Reap shouts that doesn’t work. Well, where can I see a list of all the professionals, etc who were involved with the houses that have been demolished? I’ll certainly be avoiding them and would pass on the info to all I know. With the internet, it would get ‘global’ very quickly.

    People rant against the Junta and the Courts, but not against the individuals who made the money from the construction and have then slunk away.

  26. How do you suggest naming and shaming these individuals. All the expat forums are highly censored. Google can now remove stuff too.

    Sad reading in the Voz de Almeria about the couple. They bought the house after seeing it advertised in an Agents window. He had worked at British Steel for 33 years. They sold their house in Northamptonshire and bought in 2005. A couple of years later there was a knock on the door from the Police who informed them it was illegal. (There must be around 30’000 Brits in Andalucia dreading this) they returned home in 2011 and are now renting in Scotland. The £150,000 they spent on their dream life gone, plus Lawyers fees of course. Not long after they left the villa was vandalised with even the bathroom fittings stolen. Nice neighbours the Spanish, salt of the earth if you are a Spaniard!

  27. Gus you will always be alone in this chat.

    It is full of Spanish haters. Do I agree with demolition of houses ofcorse not but some people seems to buy without making a risc analyse. Sadly they then are hitten with high costs demolition threats and a slow Spanish legal system. So Fred Stefanjo and others are working hard for the good corse to save English people to reframe house investments in Spain.

  28. There you go Gus, you have a soul-mate at last . One with a fine, analytical brain who clearly sees where everyone has gone wrong and has the perfect answer for anyone who doesn’t agree with him. Bit like you really.

  29. Thanks KB. These people who put their trust in the promoter and all associated with them. Why should a steel worker in the UK know how to do a ‘risk analysis’ of buying property in Spain? No, he trusted all those involved to be honest and fair. And hopefully he had a lawyer to guide him, but maybe he was actually working with the developer. It wouldn’t be the first time. They all let him down.

    It’s those who took advantage and the money from him who should be identified. 150,000 GBP sterling (about 190,000€ now) to buy the property, probably plus costs. Where did all that go? How much was ‘B’ money. Who all got a share of it. Relatively easy to find out by looking through the files of the owners of the demolished property.

    Marion, the website shouldn’t be closed down as all it would be doing is listing the people involved with the developments, which would be provable because they would have signed documents or there would be at least correspondence confirming that. You are advocating defeat and rolling over without fighting back. Where is your anger? Where is your energy? Where is your sense of justice? And don’t only get angry – get even. DOGA-GE. As KB states, so many sites like this are full of haters, who just moan and groan about life in general and specific items that they pick upon, but without having a positive thought.

    So, Maura Hillen, President of AUAN, do you have a page on your website that lists the people involved with the promotion, advising, construction and marketing of every demolition and every pending one? There should be no legal risk in having it as all you’re doing is listing what is a fact. I for one would then avoid having any dealings with any of these people and would put the details on Facebook, etc so that everybody else would know of their involvement. They should not be permitted to just walk away with the money jingling in their pockets. At the same time you should be working with the Junta to get such false promotions and involvement made illegal and thus criminalised. Then the law can take over, though that won’t be fast, but that’s another matter.

  30. AUAN objectives
    • To bring about, as far as it is possible, the proper legalisation of land and houses in Andalucía that are currently considered to be ‘illegal’ through collective representation to our councils, to the Central and Regional Government in Spain and to Europe if necessary for remedies in this regard.
    • To secure a proper supply of water and electricity from the relevant providers as a legal right.
    • To prevent or mitigate, as far as possible, any potential ‘land-grab’ or infrastructure costs having to be borne by owners of properties where these should be borne by other parties i.e. property developers where owners had not been informed of the future potential expense.

    The AUAN is an official registered organisation and abides by the constitution, and the laws of Spain, The AUAN is a non-profit, non-political organisation campaigning to bring about the legalisation of homes in Andalucía currently considered to be “illegal”.

    The Association is run by committee volunteers, who give their time, knowledge and experience freely, and without payment to members who subscribe the equivalent of a cup of coffee per week. Other funding is arranged through functions, voluntary donations, again provided by an overworked non paid voluntary committee.

    The membership acknowledges the Association cannot cover individual issues, as being too time consuming, too expensive, and many members have had individual legal representative as well, but individually they go unheard, collectively their voices are louder as can be seen by the media coverage.

    the AUAN support collective members legally and financially at the European Court of Human Rights, the European Union, the Junta De Andalucia, and many other venues where they can support their membership collectively, and working within the law of the land.

    The AUAN run weekly individual advisory clinics themselves for members, along with legal and planning representation, at a cost to the membership as a whole, and also freely attend any court summons in support of those affected.

    The Spanish courts decide on punishment for the criminals, and any recompense to the victims, Court decisions are usually for the former; suspended prison sentences, token fines, and two year ban from building or office. The victims are often offered compensation and costs by the court, but as those of us affected know to our cost, this is not forthcoming, as they plead bankruptcy, or put their assets in family member accounts etc. The lengthy court process gives them ample time to cover their tracks or appeal, in order to do so.

    More illegal home criminals are yet to be tried, and victims to be summoned, and as a law abiding Association, the AUAN and it’s membership have to reluctantly accept innocence until guilt is proven.

    The only tools they have to represent members are media coverage, peaceful and lawfully organised protests. AUAN are not vigilantes, and to name criminals, whose human rights have to be respected, be it builders, lawyers, politicians or notaries would undo, all the good work of the organisation since inception. IT JUST WOULD NOT HAPPEN.

    It is well known by the good and honest people of Spain that the inroads the Association has made in respect of planning injustice throughout the country, and they are not alone in this, as they are affiliated like-minded organisations throughout Spain, including Spanish and other Nationalities..

    If you are not an AUAN member, or don’t subscribe to their web page, nor Facebook account, then your ignorance is understandable.

  31. Gus, I thought you were going away. What part of “these people just want their houses to be legalised and nothing else” don’t you understand? They don’t want to go after people, work with the Junta or anything else, they just want their houses legalised so that they can live in them and get on with their lives – end of.

    The only thing anyone wants the Junta de Andalucia to do is to stop demolishing houses, change the law and legalise all the affected properties – nothing else. No other entity has the power to change the law and legalise these properties but the Junta de Andalucia and they are refusing to do it. Nobody is interested in anything else. This is a damage limitation exercise, it is no good wasting time going after people for money when they have declared themselves bankrupt – the victims just want their properties to be legalised – have I said that enough times yet?

    Im my opinion, these properties were a good way of trying to breathe some life into dead inland towns and villages and create some local employment and business opportunities. Now these houses are being demolished, what have these places got? A dead, lifeless town with no future, a shrinking population, no work, no money and a load of ugly, scrubby, old land with rubble strewn over it.

    These demolitions have achieved absolutely nothing but the bitterness, hatred and fallout from it will have a massive impact on Spain, of that you can be sure.

  32. I know of and compliment AUAN and all those selfless individuals working with it and the other similar organisations. They are essential for collective pressure to get the laws changed. Have all the contributers to these comments taken out a subscription?

    Illegal properties have been legalised en bloc before in Spain and I’m sure that it was with this example that many illegal homes were built. ‘Wait and it will be legalised’. To do that again will just open the floodgates to it happening yet again in the future.

    Regularising gives effectively the same so why haven’t owners taken that up with open arms? Yes, there are costs to bring the property up to standards enforced by the building codes and for licences, etc as would be the case if the house was built legally. What is the solution for those that are grossly illegal in natural parks or in dangerous location?

    If an individual has signed documents related to and been involved with and gained money from constructing and marketing a property that is illegal, how can they be ‘innocent’. They should be publicly and widely named and shamed. If AUAN feel that it would prejudice their relationships with the authorities, I can understand that. However, surely another organisation can do the same. It wouldn’t take much time to go through the files of the now only landowners of the demolished house to get these names from the documents and correspondence. There are enough people spending time on these comments who could do that work. Then they can be listed against each demolished house and each house listed for demolition. That’s all. It’s not vigilante work, it’s merely broadcasting their enabling association with an illegal property.

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