THE Government of Spain is reportedly considering reversing a recent ruling in Andalucia which saw more than 300,000 homes granted AFO status.
According to activists, the national government may challenge the ruling before the Constitutional Court.
It comes after Decree 3/2019 allowed some 327,000 illegally built properties in the region to be environmentally and territorially adapted.
Under the legislation, homes older than six years and not built on protected or flood risk land are able to gain assimilado al regimen de fuera de ordenacion (AFO) status.
Effectively this allows homeowners to access services legally and register their property at the Land Registry.
The decree allows some of the many expats, who were duped into buying what they thought were legal properties, connection to water or electricity.
But after years of campaigning, that hard fought victory could now be snatched away.
Maura Hillen, president of Abusos Urbanísticos Andalucía No (AUAN), said in a statement: “The European Union has announced possible actions against Spain for its inadequate treatment of sewage from houses, and here in Andalucia there are hundreds of thousands of irregular houses without adequate sanitation.
“For example, it is known that in Chiclana thousands of people have been in this position for years, without any action from the national government to resolve this problem. It is the same in Carmona, and I could mention many more areas where this is happening.
“For this reason, the regional government of Andalucia developed Decree 3/2019 containing urgent measures for the environmental adaptation of irregular houses in Andalucia. This Decree was preceded by other measures promoted by the PSOE with the support of Izquierda Unida in some cases.
“This decree has been very well received by society in Andalusia and now we see with horror how the acting national government is trying to overthrow this much wanted measure. We do not understand and we hope that it is a misunderstanding”.
Hillen added: “What is not acceptable is that people continue to bathe in water contaminated with faecal matter as happens in many places. Not only is this a third world situation, but it runs the risk that some day there could be a disgraceful epidemic, and questions will be asked about who is at fault.”
Gerardo Vazquez, legal advisor to AUAN and spokesperson for the National Coordinating Committee for Justice in Planning said ‘it would be terrible if the Spanish government attempts to reverse the Decree in the Constitutional Court.’
He said: “It is not only an environmental issue; we are talking about the most basic rights of people, the right to a home, to a residence and to a house; and this are real issues, not paper theories. It is not only the environment; it is people’s lives.
“I am sick and tired that people are dying without solutions. I do not understand the attitude of the government. Last week yet another of those affected, someone known to me, died without being able to obtain paperwork for their house.
“And I have been contacted by another poor lady whose house has been demolished, after cutting off the electricity to her house whilst she was on dialysis in the house, and this lady has nowhere adequate left to live. Please, we need to be sensible and work together to resolve these issues urgently.”