Madrid looking at ways to avoid demolishing illegal homes around Spain

The housing department of the national government in Madrid is looking at ways to avoid demolishing illegally-built homes around the country.

Officials from the Housing Department (part of the Ministry of Public Works) have drafted a report on the laws that would need to be changed to avoid demolishing homes throughout Spain that have been built without planning permission (or with planning permission that turns out to have been illegally granted).

According to media reports, the changes being considered would only save properties being used as main homes that were bought in good faith by innocent third parties, and that do not fall foul of laws like the Ley de Costas / Coastal Law. So there is no suggestion that a blanket amnesty is being considered.

Nevertheless, this might turn out help thousands of foreigners who have bought homes Andalucia and the Valencian Region, only to discover that their homes were built without planning permission, or that planning permission had been illegal granted. Many of them are living under the threat of demolition.

Whatever comes of this will of course be too late for Len and Helen Prior (pictured above), whose home in Vera was demolished by the authorities back in 2008. They have received no justice from the Spanish state.

Video of events leading up to and including demolition of Prior’s home

The draft has been sent to regional governments and municipal authorities for consultation.



12 thoughts on “Madrid looking at ways to avoid demolishing illegal homes around Spain”

  1. vikki

    This is the one case that stops me from buying a house in Spain, when will the spanish state refund them for the lost of their home, the misery, ill health , there actions have caused this couple. Until they settle their case, many more investors like me will not touch Spain.

  2. Lynn

    They should have been doing this years ago, then the housing market may not have been in the mess it is in now. Who in the right mind would even consider buying property in Spain with all the bad press they have had, destroying peoples properties due to numerous corrupt officials.

  3. gtibruce

    When all is lost they rearange their laws to suit themselves Such hypocrisy from a “predominately catholic country” will not go unnoticed. The whole damn lot of them are corrupt.

    When all these so called illegal homes were being built the local councils must have seen them go up. It takes months and yrs for a housing developement to take place. Why did they not stop these builders at the beggining before honest trusting people gave up their hard earn savings and now their lives are left in ruins.

  4. Anthony Coles

    The Spanish property market, Govt. and Legal system have lost total credibility and many investor will be turned away for years to come maintaining a negative position for Spain and they will find it difficult not to perceived as a backward 3rd World Country….
    To gain any morsel of hope THEY MUST change their laws and ensure there is no risk for any Buyer and those with property already demolished, should be adequately compensated.
    They have to redress all off plan issues with banks and developers and only then will buyers be interested….in volume, not perhaps the isolated few looking for a bargain.

  5. Rob

    With corrupt developers in collusion with corrupt Lawyers who are colluding with corrupt planning officers and town hall officials often including the mayor and no doubt further up the political ladder. You can buy a property in Spain with all the correct paperwork, verified by all the correct people who you pay good money to look after your interests and still you find you have bought an illegal property.

    Let’s face it, Spain is corrupt to the core and bad, illegal or downright crminally incompetent practices seems to be a part of the Spanish DNA.

    What chance does an overseas buyer have in the face of all this. None is the sad fact.

    Would I buy again in Spain? Would I hell. Never!

  6. sally

    Whilst it is true that people have been seriously affected by these laws, particularly in Anadalucia & Valencia provinces, it is totally incorrect to label all Spaniards as corrupt. The majority of us who moved here have had no such problems & have been able to enjoy our lives in our chosen properties. Unfortunately corruption exists everywhere (look at Cyprus, Portugal & even France!) & the old adage “caveat emptor” – buyer beware – holds true in every country in the world.

  7. gtibruce

    It’s all very well defending them, just because you are in an “Its alright jack im alright” situation It’s this selfish attitude throughout the world that allows what should not happen in all kinds of unjust ways, in the first place?

    Just as most poeple with the same attidude sit back and let the younger generation protest especially some of them who look unkempt in apperance who may be seen unfit to enter one’s house “Well its alright later on though isnt it? if they have a victory that does indeed benifit us all later on!!?

  8. Steve Bidmead


    I understand that the people affected by this are frustrated and angry about their losses, and rightly so. I have sympathy for them and wish them all the luck rebuilding their lives… However; your comments are not proportionate to the situation and will no doubt cause offence to the Spanish people that were helping the Prior family to remove their possessions before their house before it was demolished, as well as many more good Spanish people around the world. NOT all Spanish people are corrupt to the core, bad, illegal or downright criminally incompetent; generalizing about nearly 50 million people based on a small percentage of corrupt officials will not help the situation. We don’t need you back in Spain anytime soon so I am happy that you won’t be buying here again!

  9. Profile photo of Mark

    The latest news is that Ana Pastor, Minister of Public Works, under which falls the Housing Department, is denying all knowledge of this. She says there are no plans to even consider an amnesty, contrary to all reports in the Spanish press last week.

  10. Ratherbelsewhere

    I would advise anyone who is planning on buying in Spain NOT to even contemplate it. I was ripped off for €75,000 on a golf resort backed by Jack Nicklaus who has since pulled his name from it Polaris World. It must be nice for him to be able to pull his name from a corrupt builder/developer, however us people who have paid money and cannot get it back are just left suicidal.

Leave a Reply

Profile photo of Mark Stücklin

About Mark Stücklin

Mark Stücklin is a Barcelona-based property market analyst and consultant, and author of the 'Spanish Property Doctor' column in the Sunday Times (2005 - 2008). He can be reached by email on