A RETIRED British couple face seeing their luxury B&B knocked down because of an ongoing property dispute with their town hall.
Expats Patrick and Valerie Jubb, 63, ran celebrated La Vina de Linan, in Jimena de la Frontera until last year after buying the property in 2008.
But now, the stunning finca, which is for sale, is facing a demolition order from the town hall over some illegal additions made by a previous owner over two decades ago.
“We did everything by the book,” explained Patrick, 64, a former engineer from London.
“We used Spanish lawyers, contacted the Junta and the town hall, and obtained all the correct paperwork.”
The couple only learned about the legal issues when they struck a deal to sell their 4-bedroom property for €680,000 last year.
But as the deal reached its final stages the town hall declared that the first floor, kitchen and pool had been constructed illegally by previous owners in 1994 – some 14 years before the Jubb’s even purchased it.
This was despite the couple getting certification from the Junta – seen by the Olive Press – confirming there were no planning infractions when they bought the 280m2 property.
Although the previous owners didn’t have official building permits at the time, the alterations were later legalised, according to the Jubbs, at the land registry in San Roque in 2005.
The problem emerged because the home is inside the Alcornocales Natural Park, meaning the normal ‘four year rule’ does not apply.
“It means the land registry should never have approved the alterations, but of course they did,” explained Patrick.
“We are in absolute pieces over this. All we want is to go back to the UK to be with our family and friends, but we can’t. All our money is tied up in the property.”
ANALYSIS: All too common
Maura Hillen, the president of AUAN, a group set up to legalise properties in Andalucia, said cases like this are ‘all too common’ across the region.
“This is yet another variation on how foreign buyers fall foul of the way planning is badly controlled in Spain,” she said.
“It all comes back to the same thing. Failure to enforce the planning regulations and too much power in the hands of town halls.
“If it is any comfort they are not alone, many others have similar stories to tell.”