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Hundreds of British expats stage march in Malaga over plans to demolish 'illegal' holiday homes

Hundreds of furious expats have staged a march in Malaga today over Spanish government plans to demolish illegally built holiday homes in Andalucia.

The protest group took part in a rally in the southern city carrying placards in Spanish and English which read 'we've done nothing wrong' and 'citizens betrayed'.

Demolition orders have been served on a score of houses across southern Andalucia and the regional authority passed a law yesterday which means illegal properties can be bulldozed with just one month's notice.

The owners, the majority of whom are pensioners, were either duped into buying homes by unscrupulous private sellers who had had their planning permission revoked or were granted permission incorrectly by councils.

My linkhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1258685/Hundreds-British-expats-stage-march-Malaga-plans-demolish-illegal-holiday-homes.html

I don't share any pleasure in these peoples misfortune. It's scandalous how this has been allowed to happen. Property is certainly a risky business these days, here and abroad....

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When property was flying of the shelves no one could pay the the legal asking price for a propert in Spain and 10-20% was knocked off the price and paid on the black.

Banks and Goverment knew all about this and it was part of the system but now things have turned bad the goverment is screwing everyone over.

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My linkhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1258685/Hundreds-British-expats-stage-march-Malaga-plans-demolish-illegal-holiday-homes.html

I don't share any pleasure in these peoples misfortune. It's scandalous how this has been allowed to happen. Property is certainly a risky business these days, here and abroad....

surely if they used an independent Spanish laywer to check the purchase the laywer would find out ... ????

only an idiot can come to a foreign country and just TRUST everybody ...

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surely if they used an independent Spanish laywer to check the purchase the laywer would find out ... ????

only an idiot can come to a foreign country and just TRUST everybody ...

I agree with that view for some of these Bulgarian stories we hear about but in this case we have homes built with planning permission in place so what could the lawyer be expected to do? This is the problem:

The authority, which has semi-autonomous powers, is determined to rescind planning permission granted illegally by formerly corrupt councils.

So the people who have gained are the corrupt councils. They should be sued by the people who are losing their homes for whom, in this case, I have every sympathy.

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only an idiot can come to a foreign country and just TRUST everybody ...

Believe me there are millions of them in this country alone , i know many on a personal basis even have a few within my own family .

Edited by grey shark
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Spain bulldozes its credibility into the landfill.

Hasta La Huego.

And we though Franco was an aberration.

Au contraire,

He was just the product of a fundamental Spanish dysfunction ....

That reasserts,

As for the rest ....

Who cares?

of course many of the Daily Mail reading expats on the costas moved there because they thought (and in many cases still do) that Franco was still running the country, which in a way is quite ironic given Franco`s distain for all things Andalucian

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surely if they used an independent Spanish laywer to check the purchase the laywer would find out ... ????

only an idiot can come to a foreign country and just TRUST everybody ...

Finding an independent lawyer is very difficult in Spain. The threads of corruption penetrate just bout everywhere. The legal regulatory body is a joke, and corrupt lawyers are never disciplined.

The Spanish property market was about turning dirty money (drugs etc) into clean money (selling property to Brits.) Bank guarantees amount to nothing and deposits on off-plan purchases (30%) never get returned and properties have no chance of being built. The illegal licenses mean that purchasers are left holding the problem. Buyers need to be especially careful in the Costa Blanca region. Many of these properties will just get knocked down; as the Priors found to their distress.

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Finding an independent lawyer is very difficult in Spain. The threads of corruption penetrate just bout everywhere. The legal regulatory body is a joke, and corrupt lawyers are never disciplined.

The Spanish property market was about turning dirty money (drugs etc) into clean money (selling property to Brits.) Bank guarantees amount to nothing and deposits on off-plan purchases (30%) never get returned and properties have no chance of being built. The illegal licenses mean that purchasers are left holding the problem. Buyers need to be especially careful in the Costa Blanca region. Many of these properties will just get knocked down; as the Priors found to their distress.

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Crikey! ohmy.gif

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This is all FULLY DESERVED.

I hope they bulldoze them into the ground the greedy, stupid little sh*ts

I have a place in Spain and down the road there is a National Park, it was recently voted by Lonely Planet as the Worlds Number One travel secret (although it kind of ruins the "secret" publishing it in their magazine). Anyway in 2005 they built this huge ugly apartment block into the mountain even though the national park is protected. All the locals were outraged but in true Spanish style didnt really have the energy to do anything about it, seems it was a popular local developer who handed out a few brown envelopes.

Anyway we were in the town nearby and got chatting to an English couple who were in the process of buying one of these apartments. "great views" "exclusive area", did they know it was in a National Park "of course", did they know it was illegal to build on National Parks "we are aware", where they not worried by that "My man this is Spain, not the UK, Planning Shmamming". On the surface because of the location and the views the apartments looked very good value but that was because a risk was being taken.

Further up the coast a development was being built more or less right on the beach. We popped into the little sales hut and I brought up the small point of the Spanish Coast Law (nothing can be built without a specific license less than 100m from the sea). Did they have a license "Dont worry about the license, if they followed this through in Spain we would never be building such great first line property". But it would be illegal "People are aware of that but for this price and people want to be on the beach so you know what can I say".

A couple are shown a 10 acre plot that seems too good to be true. "What you English say...Rock Bottom Price...yes Senor....". The proper checks aren't made and then a year later the land is required for the AVE. It seems the land was never legal building land. The British couple claim outrage, how could this happen.

My point is this. For years planning law was ignored, planning law that was written to protect Spains natural beauty and also to protect it from people deciding to just build random Villas here and there. OK so local and regional government turned a blind eye, may be helped out by a bung here and there but at the end of the day the law still existed and that law was being broken. For a time the Brits thought it was funny, thought it was great that the Spanish true to form sat back and just let you do whatever you liked. Who cared if a National Park was being ruined or a secluded beach suddenly had 50 apartments built on it, this was our right to just colonize and buy these illegal dwellings. Most people knew they were not fully legal and those that didn't were unwilling to delve any further because they just assumed Spain was a free for all.

Now that the Government is showing its teeth and deciding to crack down on this flagrant abuse of the law and the environment, people are suddenly up in arms. "My poor house, I had no idea it was illegal". I have no sympathy. They were trying to cut corners or trying to get a bargain. Well I am afraid the Pollo's have come home to roost.

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This is all FULLY DESERVED.

I hope they bulldoze them into the ground the greedy, stupid little sh*ts

I have a place in Spain and down the road there is a National Park, it was recently voted by Lonely Planet as the Worlds Number One travel secret (although it kind of ruins the "secret" publishing it in their magazine). Anyway in 2005 they built this huge ugly apartment block into the mountain even though the national park is protected. All the locals were outraged but in true Spanish style didnt really have the energy to do anything about it, seems it was a popular local developer who handed out a few brown envelopes.

Anyway we were in the town nearby and got chatting to an English couple who were in the process of buying one of these apartments. "great views" "exclusive area", did they know it was in a National Park "of course", did they know it was illegal to build on National Parks "we are aware", where they not worried by that "My man this is Spain, not the UK, Planning Shmamming". On the surface because of the location and the views the apartments looked very good value but that was because a risk was being taken.

Further up the coast a development was being built more or less right on the beach. We popped into the little sales hut and I brought up the small point of the Spanish Coast Law (nothing can be built without a specific license less than 100m from the sea). Did they have a license "Dont worry about the license, if they followed this through in Spain we would never be building such great first line property". But it would be illegal "People are aware of that but for this price and people want to be on the beach so you know what can I say".

A couple are shown a 10 acre plot that seems too good to be true. "What you English say...Rock Bottom Price...yes Senor....". The proper checks aren't made and then a year later the land is required for the AVE. It seems the land was never legal building land. The British couple claim outrage, how could this happen.

My point is this. For years planning law was ignored, planning law that was written to protect Spains natural beauty and also to protect it from people deciding to just build random Villas here and there. OK so local and regional government turned a blind eye, may be helped out by a bung here and there but at the end of the day the law still existed and that law was being broken. For a time the Brits thought it was funny, thought it was great that the Spanish true to form sat back and just let you do whatever you liked. Who cared if a National Park was being ruined or a secluded beach suddenly had 50 apartments built on it, this was our right to just colonize and buy these illegal dwellings. Most people knew they were not fully legal and those that didn't were unwilling to delve any further because they just assumed Spain was a free for all.

Now that the Government is showing its teeth and deciding to crack down on this flagrant abuse of the law and the environment, people are suddenly up in arms. "My poor house, I had no idea it was illegal". I have no sympathy. They were trying to cut corners or trying to get a bargain. Well I am afraid the Pollo's have come home to roost.

Greenpeace described the developments as a 'Tsunami of concrete hitting the coast'.

I guess it's true that the Brits leave their brains behind at the airport.

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This is all FULLY DESERVED.

I hope they bulldoze them into the ground the greedy, stupid little sh*ts

I have a place in Spain and down the road there is a National Park, it was recently voted by Lonely Planet as the Worlds Number One travel secret (although it kind of ruins the "secret" publishing it in their magazine). Anyway in 2005 they built this huge ugly apartment block into the mountain even though the national park is protected. All the locals were outraged but in true Spanish style didnt really have the energy to do anything about it, seems it was a popular local developer who handed out a few brown envelopes.

Anyway we were in the town nearby and got chatting to an English couple who were in the process of buying one of these apartments. "great views" "exclusive area", did they know it was in a National Park "of course", did they know it was illegal to build on National Parks "we are aware", where they not worried by that "My man this is Spain, not the UK, Planning Shmamming". On the surface because of the location and the views the apartments looked very good value but that was because a risk was being taken.

Further up the coast a development was being built more or less right on the beach. We popped into the little sales hut and I brought up the small point of the Spanish Coast Law (nothing can be built without a specific license less than 100m from the sea). Did they have a license "Dont worry about the license, if they followed this through in Spain we would never be building such great first line property". But it would be illegal "People are aware of that but for this price and people want to be on the beach so you know what can I say".

A couple are shown a 10 acre plot that seems too good to be true. "What you English say...Rock Bottom Price...yes Senor....". The proper checks aren't made and then a year later the land is required for the AVE. It seems the land was never legal building land. The British couple claim outrage, how could this happen.

My point is this. For years planning law was ignored, planning law that was written to protect Spains natural beauty and also to protect it from people deciding to just build random Villas here and there. OK so local and regional government turned a blind eye, may be helped out by a bung here and there but at the end of the day the law still existed and that law was being broken. For a time the Brits thought it was funny, thought it was great that the Spanish true to form sat back and just let you do whatever you liked. Who cared if a National Park was being ruined or a secluded beach suddenly had 50 apartments built on it, this was our right to just colonize and buy these illegal dwellings. Most people knew they were not fully legal and those that didn't were unwilling to delve any further because they just assumed Spain was a free for all.

Now that the Government is showing its teeth and deciding to crack down on this flagrant abuse of the law and the environment, people are suddenly up in arms. "My poor house, I had no idea it was illegal". I have no sympathy. They were trying to cut corners or trying to get a bargain. Well I am afraid the Pollo's have come home to roost.

Great post. I hope that the Government are treating people equally here. No doubt they are going after the villains that built this illegal property in the first place, and seizing their assets to compensate those they have defrauded?

Of course I know that the answer is no.

It is no good for Spain though, they will gain a reputation as a crooked country. I recall Spain was very poor before it joined the EU. If criminals hold sway, it will return to its very poor status again.

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This is all FULLY DESERVED.

I hope they bulldoze them into the ground the greedy, stupid little sh*ts

I have a place in Spain and down the road there is a National Park, it was recently voted by Lonely Planet as the Worlds Number One travel secret (although it kind of ruins the "secret" publishing it in their magazine). Anyway in 2005 they built this huge ugly apartment block into the mountain even though the national park is protected. All the locals were outraged but in true Spanish style didnt really have the energy to do anything about it, seems it was a popular local developer who handed out a few brown envelopes.

Anyway we were in the town nearby and got chatting to an English couple who were in the process of buying one of these apartments. "great views" "exclusive area", did they know it was in a National Park "of course", did they know it was illegal to build on National Parks "we are aware", where they not worried by that "My man this is Spain, not the UK, Planning Shmamming". On the surface because of the location and the views the apartments looked very good value but that was because a risk was being taken.

Further up the coast a development was being built more or less right on the beach. We popped into the little sales hut and I brought up the small point of the Spanish Coast Law (nothing can be built without a specific license less than 100m from the sea). Did they have a license "Dont worry about the license, if they followed this through in Spain we would never be building such great first line property". But it would be illegal "People are aware of that but for this price and people want to be on the beach so you know what can I say".

A couple are shown a 10 acre plot that seems too good to be true. "What you English say...Rock Bottom Price...yes Senor....". The proper checks aren't made and then a year later the land is required for the AVE. It seems the land was never legal building land. The British couple claim outrage, how could this happen.

My point is this. For years planning law was ignored, planning law that was written to protect Spains natural beauty and also to protect it from people deciding to just build random Villas here and there. OK so local and regional government turned a blind eye, may be helped out by a bung here and there but at the end of the day the law still existed and that law was being broken. For a time the Brits thought it was funny, thought it was great that the Spanish true to form sat back and just let you do whatever you liked. Who cared if a National Park was being ruined or a secluded beach suddenly had 50 apartments built on it, this was our right to just colonize and buy these illegal dwellings. Most people knew they were not fully legal and those that didn't were unwilling to delve any further because they just assumed Spain was a free for all.

Now that the Government is showing its teeth and deciding to crack down on this flagrant abuse of the law and the environment, people are suddenly up in arms. "My poor house, I had no idea it was illegal". I have no sympathy. They were trying to cut corners or trying to get a bargain. Well I am afraid the Pollo's have come home to roost.

My, what a pleasant chap you are!

The programs I have seen on the box investigating these matters have involved people who did the right thing - bought houses with what they thought was perfectly legal planning consent issued by the local planning authority. The problem is that the local planning authority did not have the authority to issue the planning permissions and now, a planning authority higher up the food chain is revoking the planning permissions and insisting on demolition.

THE FAULT IS WITH THE SPANISH PLANNING SYSTEM AND IN PARTICULAR THE LOCAL PLANNING AUTHORITIES ISSUING PERMISSIONS THEY WERE NOT AUTHORIZED TO ISSUE.

If anyone was guilty of being a .. what was your charming phrase ... yes a 'greedy, stupid little sh*t' ... that would be local developers and mayors flouting planning laws.

You cannot blame the buyers. It would be like me buying a house with planning permission from Bracknell Forest Council but asking the Department of the Environment to confirm that the planning permission was genuine.

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Not strictly the same but Bulgaria only got out of strict Communism in 1990 yet people were buying houses there in 2000

Loads of families in the UK had an Internet connection and some "equity" trapped in their rapidly rising house price.

We could buy a village for £10K in Romania or a seafront palace Costa Rico or a castle in Mexico.

The Spanish thing is different but how many locals were caught out by dodgy property deals.

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Great post. I hope that the Government are treating people equally here. No doubt they are going after the villains that built this illegal property in the first place, and seizing their assets to compensate those they have defrauded?

Of course I know that the answer is no.

It is no good for Spain though, they will gain a reputation as a crooked country. I recall Spain was very poor before it joined the EU. If criminals hold sway, it will return to its very poor status again.

Quite the opposite, I actually think they are starting to get the house in order a little bit. All of the crooked stuff was going on 5+ years ago, as far as I know the whole black money when buying a house is now not allowed or at least not looked on as a "given" by solicitors/local notary as it was before.

The developers ARE being investigated. Have you heard of Operation Malaya? This is what all started it off 3 or 4 years ago and since then around 20 developers have been arrested and charged as well as the officials taking the back handers.

I agree that the people doing the illegal building etc are the main perpetrators but they were driven by an almost unbelievable naive appetite by Brit buyers who believed they were untouchable.

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Also, there is a massive, did i say massive, i meant MASSIVE glut of seaside property trying to be sold in a very stagnant market. If they really decided to flatten all illegal build, it would mainly be the 'foreigners/Brits' for want of a better word - a lot of them are skint and trying to sell up, and reading other threads, may well be heading back home.

Maybe this is a mad mad way to try and liven up the seaside/2nd home prop market - it needs all the help it can get at the moment. The locals aren't really going to complain as it'll help their domestic property market, tidy the Costas up a bit and get rid of, in their eyes, some undersirables.

The Zappatero Govt is just mad enough to do this - they like to hang onto power as much as the next lot <_< and the economy is showing it's fooked cos they can't QE like you know where ;)

Just my two pence worth

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My, what a pleasant chap you are!

The programs I have seen on the box investigating these matters have involved people who did the right thing - bought houses with what they thought was perfectly legal planning consent issued by the local planning authority. The problem is that the local planning authority did not have the authority to issue the planning permissions and now, a planning authority higher up the food chain is revoking the planning permissions and insisting on demolition.

THE FAULT IS WITH THE SPANISH PLANNING SYSTEM AND IN PARTICULAR THE LOCAL PLANNING AUTHORITIES ISSUING PERMISSIONS THEY WERE NOT AUTHORIZED TO ISSUE.

If anyone was guilty of being a .. what was your charming phrase ... yes a 'greedy, stupid little sh*t' ... that would be local developers and mayors flouting planning laws.

You cannot blame the buyers. It would be like me buying a house with planning permission from Bracknell Forest Council but asking the Department of the Environment to confirm that the planning permission was genuine.

Don't believe everything you read or have "seen on the box". The planning consent they were shown was often a promise of consent or a wishy washy loophole stating that you can build on Finca Rustica if you use the land for some kind of farming (ie in the old days, just plant a few almond trees). The solicitor would often state to the purchaser "In our opinion this is usually possible without too many problems" but this isn't full consent.

In my many years of living and visiting my house in Spain I have met many Brits who think they are a bit clever. They didn't want to buy a legitimate bit of land for €25,000, ,oh no they want the little pig shed with an acre for just €5,000 which is being sold by the German man who knows the farmer and reckons a loophole means that they can knock it down and build on the land because it is Finca Rustica and the local municipal council have issued a promise of consent although not verified officially it means a kind of pre-consent. So they think they are getting a complete bargain and "playing the system, cos that's the Spanish way init". The legitimate man trying to sell his legitimate land which he has all the documents for etc but wants a legitimate price is overlooked because at the end of the day Brits like to brag about how they "bagged a bargain".

It is no different to the people complaining about being ripped off by Madoff but for the past 10 years they were happy bragging about their 18% return on investment even during the bad times without questioning things further.

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My, what a pleasant chap you are!

The programs I have seen on the box investigating these matters have involved people who did the right thing - bought houses with what they thought was perfectly legal planning consent issued by the local planning authority. The problem is that the local planning authority did not have the authority to issue the planning permissions and now, a planning authority higher up the food chain is revoking the planning permissions and insisting on demolition.

THE FAULT IS WITH THE SPANISH PLANNING SYSTEM AND IN PARTICULAR THE LOCAL PLANNING AUTHORITIES ISSUING PERMISSIONS THEY WERE NOT AUTHORIZED TO ISSUE.

If anyone was guilty of being a .. what was your charming phrase ... yes a 'greedy, stupid little sh*t' ... that would be local developers and mayors flouting planning laws.

You cannot blame the buyers. It would be like me buying a house with planning permission from Bracknell Forest Council but asking the Department of the Environment to confirm that the planning permission was genuine.

+1.

The victims here are not fools who bought without using a lawyer or who bought places either without permission, or not checking if they had permission.

They bought in good faith.

This wouldn't happen in the UK. Here, if the local council gave you planning permission, and you built or bought based on that permission, then that is that.

If it turned out later that the permission itself was wrongly granted, the national or regional government could not simply deprive people of their homes, when they had done nothing illegal.

If this happened to me, and I couldn't get justice, I would be waiting for some of the town hall officials to knock off work. Waiting with a buket of petrol and a fag lighter, to burn them ugly. Or a jar full of ague fuerte to fling in their face. And I would be justified.

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Also, there is a massive, did i say massive, i meant MASSIVE glut of seaside property trying to be sold in a very stagnant market. If they really decided to flatten all illegal build, it would mainly be the 'foreigners/Brits' for want of a better word - a lot of them are skint and trying to sell up, and reading other threads, may well be heading back home.

Maybe this is a mad mad way to try and liven up the seaside/2nd home prop market - it needs all the help it can get at the moment. The locals aren't really going to complain as it'll help their domestic property market, tidy the Costas up a bit and get rid of, in their eyes, some undersirables.

The Zappatero Govt is just mad enough to do this - they like to hang onto power as much as the next lot <_< and the economy is showing it's fooked cos they can't QE like you know where ;)

Just my two pence worth

Actually the MASSIVE glut of property in Spain is slightly inland (about 1km and beyond). The seaside property (front and second line) is the most desirable. It may be that it is overpriced but as this changes in a falling market then there wont be any problems selling this type of property. The real problem is trying to sell a shoebox a mile inland in a man made development with some posh sounding name like Alhambra Falls. The Spanish wont buy this crap and if prices are rock bottom other buyers when returning to the market will head for the coast first.

My theory is that the government see an opportunity to destroy illegal builds and throw a few noses out of joint because they have nothing to lose. If they had done this 5 years ago they would have risked millions of Brit money, tax revenue and thousands of jobs. As it stands today they can clean out the system and lose very little. It is the optimum time to act on what was a huge elephant in the room, corruption associated with property at a local level was running out of control.

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+1.

...

If this happened to me, and I couldn't get justice, I would be waiting for some of the town hall officials to knock off work. Waiting with a buket of petrol and a fag lighter, to burn them ugly. Or a jar full of ague fuerte to fling in their face. And I would be justified.

The irony of this response in support of another poster who urged for more civility is highly amusing...

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Actually the MASSIVE glut of property in Spain is slightly inland (about 1km and beyond). The seaside property (front and second line) is the most desirable. It may be that it is overpriced but as this changes in a falling market then there wont be any problems selling this type of property. The real problem is trying to sell a shoebox a mile inland in a man made development with some posh sounding name like Alhambra Falls. The Spanish wont buy this crap and if prices are rock bottom other buyers when returning to the market will head for the coast first.

My theory is that the government see an opportunity to destroy illegal builds and throw a few noses out of joint because they have nothing to lose. If they had done this 5 years ago they would have risked millions of Brit money, tax revenue and thousands of jobs. As it stands today they can clean out the system and lose very little. It is the optimum time to act on what was a huge elephant in the room, corruption associated with property at a local level was running out of control.

Yeah, I think you're partly right. The inland stuff is an irrelevance, it's not gonna sell, just rot - no need to flatten it. The problem's that even good resort property is sticking (unless it's going for a song), and that's partly due to lots and lots of crappy resort stuff, which is just deflating the entire market and making some resorts look and fell like ghost towns. And yeah, I think it is a populist move by the government

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+1.

The victims here are not fools who bought without using a lawyer or who bought places either without permission, or not checking if they had permission.

They bought in good faith.

This wouldn't happen in the UK. Here, if the local council gave you planning permission, and you built or bought based on that permission, then that is that.

If it turned out later that the permission itself was wrongly granted, the national or regional government could not simply deprive people of their homes, when they had done nothing illegal.

If this happened to me, and I couldn't get justice, I would be waiting for some of the town hall officials to knock off work. Waiting with a buket of petrol and a fag lighter, to burn them ugly. Or a jar full of ague fuerte to fling in their face. And I would be justified.

No you wouldn't be justified

When in Rome.

My pub, my rules.

Or maybe you prefer the law in Nazi Germany.

You really are a pathetic, self-contradicting fool.

I've got your number Kingsgate

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I don't share any pleasure in these peoples misfortune. It's scandalous how this has been allowed to happen. Property is certainly a risky business these days, here and abroad....

oh i do. i like it. see how they like to be on the sharp end of draconian planning regulations. if i built a small home on the 'greenbelt' next to these nimby silverbacks it would be torn down. sheadufruadernede -you know what i mean.

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No you wouldn't be justified

When in Rome.

My pub, my rules.

Or maybe you prefer the law in Nazi Germany.

You really are a pathetic, self-contradicting fool.

I've got your number Kingsgate

I would be justified, to myself, and that's the only the person who matters to me. In situations like this, no rules apply to me. They don't anyway, only as "guidelines".

If someone comes along and expropriates my property and says "I can do this and you can't do much about it because I am stronger than you" then they are effectively declaring war on me.

And, when fighting an opponent who is much stronger than you, and has power on their side, the best way is terrorism: find their weak spots, hurt any individual when they are on their own. Burn their houses, hurt their families, you name it. What else could you do? If they just say "its the law, we are entitled to ruin your life", then I will try my best to ruin some of theirs too. Or maybe their wives, or their kids.

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