March 8, 2008 at 12:23 pm #53758
I was wondering if anyone can give some general advice.
My wife’s elderly Spanish parents have been fined 2000 Euros for not removing some ornaments from a raised patio area that is directly outside their front door.
Their house sits in a courtyard with around 5 other properties forming the courtyard, cars are parked in the courtyard. However, there is a section approximatey 2mx2m which is raised and is directly outside their front door, in effect its a very large step. Obviously no vehicles can be parked there. This “raised step” and the courtyard presumably belongs to the council.
To cut a long story short they placed large ornaments on this raised patio and other neighbours complained to the council. They were asked to remove them, they didn’t, a fine was threatened, eventually they were removed, and now a year or so on they have received a fine for 2000 Euros.
Now before there are comments of critism, my wife’s parents are very elderly. They belong to the Spain of yesteryear, are illiterate and rely on other family members to deal with the facets of modern life. (Banks, pensions etc). Clearly they have been let down over this affair by a family member.
I have posted this here as this is a general theme that worries me greatly, from reading other stories here and my general impression of Spain and it’s system of justice. It’s my impression that small transgression from rules, whether civil or criminal, can result in fines that are totally disproportinate to any transgression. British owners renting their house out without a licence being fined 20,000 Euros, even though they are paying income tax is one such example posted here. Before I found these forums a few months ago I had a much more positive outlook on Spain!
So my question to those gratefully answering, is how to you challenge these judgements, where the fine it totally disproportionate? What higher authority can you appeal to.
(I live in the UK do not speak Spanish, and my Spanish wife has really lived all her adult life in the UK so does not really understand the way Spain is administered. )
March 8, 2008 at 1:31 pm #79716
I think the first step is to speak to a local solictor. A first consultation will be free. I would advise not to instruct a solicitor to take up your case right away as they can ask for money up front, only to tell you later you will loose the case, and subsequently your money.
Consult maybe 2 or 3 and try to gauge what the odds of winning a case are before you commit further.
It could be worth paying a local translator with some legal knowledge and go on a trip to the town hall and explain that the pots were removed long before.
Good luck with the case, as what you describe sounds like a local town hall bullying a defenceless couple with a disproportionate fine.
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