November 5, 2013 at 12:31 pm #57843
Article from publication maturetimes (November 2013 edition):
Property experts have warned of the pitfalls of buying property abroad after it emerged corrupt developers have built 300,000 illegal homes in just one stretch of Spain.
A ten-year housing boom in the Mediterranean retirement haven has seen rogue builders build hundreds of thousands of home in Andalucia without planning permission.
Stefano Lucatello, senior partner at multinational law firm Kobalt Law, which advises Britons buying property overseas, told buyers to instruct a specialist Spanish property lawyer before parting with their life-savings. He said: “You need somebody who understands the law of your chosen country, and speaks the language fluently. Don’t use someone recommended by your developer or estate agent, they may not have your best interests at heart. Research the country for 18 to 24 months in advance using up to date and real websites. Ask what has property done in the last five years in that country? Failure to carry out necessary, basic checks, investigations and research could lead to financial ruin or worse.”
British couple John and Jan Brooks saw their dream £170,000 hilltop villa turn to dust because it was illegally built by a rogue developer. Spanish police turned up at their Andalucia home with a demolition notice and told them their prized property had been built without planning permission. The electricity and water were disconnected and devastated John and Jan, who have six children and six grandchildren, were forced to return to the UK for good. The house was one of four illegally built on restricted land in the Sierra de los Filabres, which were all bought by unsuspecting British expats. It was demolished last month and the heartbreaking final hours were filmed by a neighbour who sent the footage to John and Jan, of Taunton, Somerset.
John, 73, a retired sales manager, said: “It was beautiful and all that remains now is a dust-filled swimming pool. It had magnificent huge wooden doors and a massive roof terrace on top where you could have had a party for 50 people, it was so huge. It was a stunning spot, that’s why we were tempted by it. It was our pension and a place where in happy times we enjoyed great times with our family. We feel so angry about what has happened. Now it has been torn from the ground. Even the rubble has gone. There are no words to adequately describe our anger at the greedy, selfish, corrupt creatures who caused this situation.”
The developer was ordered by Spanish courts to demolish the homes and give the duped ex-pats full compensation. But the Brooks fear they will never see the cash because he has declared himself bankrupt.
Angry John said: “We have no intention of ever setting foot in Spain again. Why should we spend money in Spain and give them the pleasure of having any more of my money? Never again.”
Campaign group AUAN, who fight for homeowners tricked into buying illlegal properties in Spain, said the problem was widespread. Group president Maura Hillen said: “These people have invested millions of Euros in Spain and in return they are being treated disgracefully by a system that simply does not function to protect homeowners. Many thousands of illegal homeowners live in fear of disconnection and the regional government’s latest legal ‘solutions’ have simply served to make matters worse.”
A spokesperson from the group added: “Before developing either urban or rural land a number of vital enquiries have to be made. Most important is the planning status attached to it, which may prevent development. To be an enforceable plan, it must have the approval of the regional planning authority otherwise it is unapproved and means nothing.”
Note: The area “Sierra de los Filabres” where the couple bought the hill-top villa for £170,000, the region is light-years away from the beach and you wonder why anyone in their right mind would pay £170,000 for a villa that is twenty miles away from the beach? Stupid or what?
November 5, 2013 at 2:05 pm #118606
London and Madrid are many miles away from a beach – in both places £170,000 would buy next to nothing.
November 6, 2013 at 8:08 am #118609
Spanishsiesta, generally a good posting but let down big time by that final paragraph.
“The area “Sierra de los Filabres” where the couple bought the hill-top villa for £170,000, the region is light-years away from the beach and you wonder why anyone in their right mind would pay £170,000 for a villa that is twenty miles away from the beach? Stupid or what?”
Why wouldn’t anyone pay £ 170,0000 for a villa twenty miles from the beach. I paid multiple times that amount to have exactly that built in the mountains around Murcia- Not everyone wants the “British effect” in Spain. The whole point of being away from the beach is for the very reson mentioned – “it’s light years away from the beach”!
November 6, 2013 at 12:18 pm #118611
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