Galicia plans amnesty for tens of thousands of illegal properties

Plans to legalise tens of thousands of unlawful properties in Galicia were given a boost yesterday when the region’s Socialist party decided to support a draft new land law granting an amnesty to properties built without planning permission before 1 January 2003.

Tens of thousands of properties in Galicia’s wild countryside are thought to have been built without any form of planning permission, and many of them do not feature on any official register. In Galicia, like Andalucia, building without permission has been going on forever, but only become a major issue in Spain’s recent property boom.

The draft new land law, proposed by Galicia’s current centre-right government, envisages the legalisation, with a 10 Euro fine for every meter squared built, of properties built before 1 January 2003, so long as they were not built on protected land. If it becomes law, which is highly probable with support from the Socialists, it will then be easy to legalise all properties built on rural land, or ‘suelo rustico’.

In Andalucia, at the other end of Spain, the regional government recently demolished the home of British pensioners Len and Helen Prior on the grounds that it was built on rural land, even though they had planning permission from the town hall. This illustrates that, when it comes to housing laws, Spain is run along regional lines, and what applies in one region does not necessarily apply in another.

Not all the Socialist party are in favour of the draft law. Emilio Pérez Touriño, ex-president of Galicia’s Socialist and former president of the regional government, opposes it as an “irresponsible amnesty”.



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