British builders of illegal properties say just doing things “the Spanish way”

British owners of illegally-built properties in Zarra (Valencian Community) have told a court that they were just doing things “the Spanish way”, according to an article in the Spanish daily ‘Levante’.

The authorities are investigating 87 homes in the area for lack of planning permission. Many of the owners are Britons who responded to an estate agent’s advert in a local English-language newspaper.

Speaking through an interpreter, 4 Britons who bought rural plots in Zarra told the court they were led to believe that building without planning permission and subsequently legalising the construction after 4 years was the way things are done in Spain.

This was the advice they were given by their estate agent, say the Britons, who all hired the son of the Mayor of Zarra to build their properties, also on the advice of their estate agent. Mayor Juan José Rubio and his son are also under investigation.

The prosecutor has announced that the managers of the estate agent will be called to give evidence to the court.

Surprisingly, one of the Britons took along the estate agent to act as a translator before the court. When asked where the advice on how to build and legalise a property had come from, the Briton pointed at the translator and said “From this lady here.” The judge suspended the declaration.

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