Andalucia to improve law for sorting out illegal homes

Demolition illegal houses in Cantoria, Andalucia

Demolition of a house in Cantoria, Andalusia

The Andalusian regional government has announced plans to improve an ineffective decree intended to sort out the problem of illegal homes.

It’s no secret that Andalusia has a big problem with illegally-built homes, and thoughtful people will be able to guess that the incompetence of the regional government is a big part of the problem.

Andalusia has an estimated 300,000 homes built without proper planning permission (20,000 of them in Marbella alone). Back in 2001 the regional government, or Junta, introduced a decree offering ways legalise the majority of them, whilst denying any semblance of an amnesty (see article Andalucian Government announces illegal homes amnesty). Now it turns out that decree was impractical and ineffective, and needs to be modified, to the surprise of nobody but the politicians.

When the decree was introduced in 2012 the Junta claimed it would directly legalise 10pc of homes built on land not zoned for building (suelo no urbanizable), and offer a route to legal recognition and basic services for another 80pc. Only 10pc – some 30,000 homes! – would end up illegal and at risk of demolition, in theory at least.

In reality, the decree failed to achieve its objectives, and the problem is nowhere closer to being solved. So now the boss of the Junta’s environmental and town planning department, María José Serrano, has announced plans to change the decree to make it more effective, whilst continuing to claim there will be no amnesty. “This does not signify an amnesty for all the homes that contravene planning laws,” sources within the department told the Spanish press. Homes built in specially-protected areas and flood zones still get no route to legal recognition.

“We have to continue developing the decree to see what’s been done well and study what can be improved,” says María José Serrano. I would argue the Junta should have got it right first time.

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One thought on “Andalucia to improve law for sorting out illegal homes”

  1. Mark Goodwin

    The previous decree was inept. Such an important issue should have been dealt with properly from the get go, but lets see how far reaching Mr. Serrano’s new proposals turns out to be. The problems in Marbella stem, almost entirely, from corruption in local government, leaving some purchasers in no mans land, both figuratively and literally. A totally unfair situation that needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency if credibility is to return to the Spanish property market.

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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 ms@spanishpropertyinsight.com.