Daily Mail: 100,000 Brit expats facing demolition in Spain

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This topic contains 19 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of katy katy 3 years ago.

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  • #57861
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    ‘We’re trapped in a ghost town’: The 100,000 British expats whose Spanish homes could be bulldozed any day

    Clearly terrible news for both the individuals involved, and for Spain. This will just make a poor region even poorer. Those politicians are crazy. πŸ™

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-2513960/100-000-expats-homes-bulldozed-day.html

  • #118692
    Profile photo of Chopera
    Chopera
    Participant

    Spanish government accused of pushing illegal homes to Britons

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/expat-money/10478342/Spanish-government-accused-of-pushing-illegal-homes-to-Britons.html

    (sounds like it was taken from a mail article)

  • #118693
    Profile photo of logan
    logan
    Participant

    I considered an investment in property in Zurgena in the early nughties. I spent some time there doing research and discovered the toxic smell of illegal building. The types of British who were pushing land sales were decidedly dubious and I found it difficult to believe the rural land there was legally urbanised.

    OK I have many year experience in Spanish property and these poor folks were lambs to the slaughter. Victims of crime. It was a criminal exercise operated by the local politicos, developers, lawyers and sellers. They knew full well what they were doing.

    I know it’s an old story but the real scandal is how these crooks got away with it and are still getting away with it. They are the people the Spanish authorities should go after. Seize their assets and send them to jail. Some of them are still around up to their old tricks. It’s a stain on the country and one of the reason I will never invest in Spain again.

    The authorities go after the victims because they are an easy target to make an example of. Chasing the crooks would be far more difficult and would tread on too many toes. It disgusts me.

  • #118694
    Profile photo of angie
    angie
    Spectator

    A few questions come to mind here:

    Would Spain really bulldoze illegal build 100,000 homes in one area, imagine the furore if they tried? I could see them trying with some but not that many, and how long would it take? πŸ™„

    Who were the lawyers acting for these buyers, I would think several law firms were involved so did they all overlook important detail, or was it one recommended by the developer, in which case a Class Action should be taken? πŸ™„

    Why have the crooked Developers/Agents/Mayors/Lawyers etc got away with it so far? πŸ™„

    Why drink too much Sangria in the sun as someone said? πŸ™„

    The homes are already unsaleable as it is, they are blighted until they can be legalised, if and when 😯

  • #118695
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    While the issue of illegal builds have been covered on this forum at great length. I feel this all has to do with the current diplomatic spat between Spain & UK and not mention the news papers inflaming the anti Europe feelings as the Romanian & Bulgarian arrival date is nearing.

  • #118696
    Profile photo of logan
    logan
    Participant

    This appalling situation should not be directly linked to the political issues around Gibraltar, although I do agree there is more than one way to gain sympathy for an oppressed minority. This story is about how financial criminals can act with immunity in Spain as long as the victims are foreigners.

    Ask yourself if these illegal properties were Spanish owned would they be threatening to demolish them? The answer is absolutely not.

    These victims of fraud in the Albox Valley are mostly elderly British without any political muscle or power. A soft target to make examples of, to send a message to the Spanish without any political cost. These are the unpalatable realities of so called modern Spain for which your average bar stool Brit. will never comprehend.

  • #118697
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Bar stool Brit does no not comprehend issues at home. It is their own country, language,culture,legal system. I do agree with the soft target.

    Please note that one diplomat’s baggage got searched what a big issue it has/had become. While thousands of Brits with their life savings have been ruined the Foreign office does nothing. Makes me sick..

  • #118702
    Profile photo of zenkarma
    zenkarma
    Participant

    @logan wrote:

    This story is about how financial criminals can act with immunity in Spain as long as the victims are foreigners.

    I think this is about just how corrupt Spain is, has been and continues to be. The reason the authorities don’t go after the perpetrators of this is because of where it will lead themβ€”most likely right up the political ladder and into the very offices of the authorities supposedly tasked with bringing the perpetrators to justice. Wasn’t Rajoy allegedly accused of corruption himself? If the political leader of the country can be accused of it, how much further down the chain does it go?

    As you rightly point out, it’s much easier (and safer) for the authorities to go after the innocent victims of the crime than it is to try and being the criminals to justice.

    Personally I think the EU should step in and refuse any more financial aid to Spain until this mess is cleared up once and for all. But I won’t hold my breath about that ever happening.

  • #118711
    Profile photo of The Australian
    The Australian
    Participant

    this is nuts, I am no longer interested in buying there, I will just rent!

  • #118712
    Profile photo of angie
    angie
    Spectator

    Zenkarma you are quite correct about Rajoy being accused of corruption, but then logan it seems the Gibraltar conflict was escalated to deflect attention from him and his cronies which it has πŸ™„

    However, showing how corruption goes through the political ladder as you say, here’s an article about yet another pal of Rajoy being jailed for corruption:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/spain/10476585/Ally-of-Spains-PM-convicted-over-500000-tax-fraud.html

    I’m still not sure why they cannot at least legalise the properties πŸ™„

  • #118713
    Profile photo of The Australian
    The Australian
    Participant
  • #118714
    Profile photo of zenkarma
    zenkarma
    Participant

    @angie wrote:

    …here’s an article about yet another pal of Rajoy being jailed for corruption:

    An interesting article, thanks for linking to it.

    Whilst I hate to be pedantic but the person you refer to was cleared of bribery charges but found guilty and fined for tax evasion! That’s the irony. That he’s likely to be corrupt I would suggest has a high probability but proving it seems almost impossible so they get him on tax evasion instead.

    A bit like Al Capone.

    @angie wrote:

    I’m still not sure why they cannot at least legalise the properties

    Yes, that seems the odd part.

    I suspect it’s got a lot to do with the fact that the ‘governing authorities’ are so fragmented the innocents are getting squeezed between them. Central government has little say in autonomous regional government policies with regards to house building and the issuing of building permits seems to come from the local town halls. As far as I understand it the regional authorities determine whether land is urban or agricultural and if they find houses have been built on agricultural land with permits issued from the local town hall (presumably via backhanders from developers to town hall officials) they would be well within their rights to demand the buildings be demolished.

    Ultimately it comes down to accountability and compensation. The town halls are clearly at fault here, but do they have the funds available to compensate all these home owners should their properties be demolished as the regional authority insists?

    In a way I do have some sympathy for the regional authorities. In the UK for example if Surrey County Council discovered that homes had been built on green belt land and that the local authority had wrongly allowed it I would want and expect Surrey county Council to insist they be demolished. The victims should seek to receive compensation from the local authority.

    The problem in Spain is, the town halls don’t have any money to pay out in compensation. The regional authorities won’t help them, neither will central government.

    What amazes me is how the lawyers and notaries who approved the purchase of these properties on incorrectly designated land carry on as normal. They are the ones, in my opinion, where the compensation should come from.

    What is the point in hiring, paying and using legal experts who shrug responsibility when their legal expertise and advice proves incorrect?

  • #118716
    Profile photo of angie
    angie
    Spectator

    Like you think ZK, why didn’t the lawyers and notaries check the detail, and why have they got away with this? I agree it is they who should compensate the victims who trusted and paid them for legal conveyancing. It would be interesting to know how many individual lawyers were involved in this case affecting up to 100,000 Brits, if only a few lawyers, I think a Class Action should be brought against each of them, on that basis it probably wouldn’t cost a lot of money per individual and once implemented, I wonder whether it might put a stay of execution so to speak on further demolitions until the cases were brought to court? πŸ™„

  • #118717
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Wonderful post Zenkarma. You are well informed. Few people really understand what is going on with this drama. As you say, a lot of it has to do with the lack of joined-up Government in Spain, which creates gaps down which accountability disappears.

  • #118723
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    A class action against the lawyers will not be a solution as they would not have assets to pay or they will transfer the assets to their family members. As far as I am aware the lawyers in Spain do not have professional indemnity insurance.

    I do have Spanish Lawyer friends & when I had enquired from them about the professional indemnity they have pretended to not understand.

  • #118727
    Profile photo of Aunty Val
    Aunty Val
    Participant

    Zenkarma has it spot on – the blame has to be laid at the door of the lawyer – in the majority of countries (at least those that most buyers will have come from!), your appointed lawyer would stop you from buying a property which is illegally built.

    As slippery as a grizzly’s d1ck as they say where I come from.

  • #118729
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Aunty Val, I’ll think you’ll find these victims didn’t use a lawyer πŸ™ πŸ™ – most were sold to by the local friendly Brit masquerading as an estate agent 😳 😳 !!! Still, it shouldn’t happen but then as the papers show today Spain is the second most corrupt country in the world after Syria !! πŸ˜₯ πŸ˜₯ πŸ˜₯

  • #118734
    Profile photo of angie
    angie
    Spectator

    Strangely enough Paul Ubeda I find myself agreeing with you on this one, if most of these Brits did not use a lawyer then it’s hard to sympathise. Brits masquerading as estate agents though does sound familiar in those boom days, but is this still happening in a big way? Re conveyancing etc I wasn’t aware this could be done in Spain, not using a lawyer, how does that work legally? πŸ˜•

    I did read the report about Spain being the 2nd most corrupt country after Syria, and whilst it has a bad record for corruption, there are so many different tables or graphs that contradict each other πŸ™„

  • #118736
    Profile photo of Melosine
    Melosine
    Participant

    Know a few people in Albox/Arboleas/Zurgena area in this situation and all used lawyers but not ,unfortunately, ones they had found themselves for many bought on urbanisations through the UK property exhibitions who had their own ” in house” legal team.
    Hindsight is wonderful thing but 10 years ago when all this started it would have been very easy to fall into the trap and to assume because you are buying via a Brit organisation everything would be as legal as in UK so have empathy for those caught out.

  • #118750
    Profile photo of katy
    katy
    Spectator

    @UBEDA wrote:

    Aunty Val, I’ll think you’ll find these victims didn’t use a lawyer πŸ™ πŸ™ – most were sold to by the local friendly Brit masquerading as an estate agent 😳 😳 !!! Still, it shouldn’t happen but then as the papers show today Spain is the second most corrupt country in the world after Syria !! πŸ˜₯ πŸ˜₯ πŸ˜₯

    So, you are claiming that none of the buyers of 20.000 illegal homes used a Lawyer πŸ™„

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