March 4, 2015 at 12:53 pm #185165
AUAN Press Release
Spanish Senate prepares to reject amendment to guarantee compensation to purchasers in good faith
The hopes of foreign purchasers in good faith hang in the balance
AUAN, 4th March
Members of the Partido Popular (PP), meeting on 3rd March in the Senate Justice Commission to review a series of proposed amendments to the Criminal Code, voted against all amendments submitted by other political parties, including one related to illegal houses, proposed by the PSOE, to guarantee compensation to purchasers in good faith prior to demolition.
According to the spokesperson for AUAN, one of the associations representing Britons affected by the issue of illegal houses in Spain ‘The procedure for dealing with amendments to the Criminal Code is not yet concluded and the Senate is due to vote on 12th March. However, given the attitude of the PP and given that the PP has a majority in the Senate it is unlikely that this amendment will now be approved. This is a blow for the victims who need justice now and a lost opportunity’.
‘It seems that there is a lack of understanding of the impact of demolitions without prior compensation to purchasers in good faith. Not only with respect to the violation of the human rights, the fundamental rights and the constitutional rights of the individual, but also the economic impact on society as a whole with regard to the reputation of Spain abroad and the confidence of foreign purchasers in the Spanish property market. And, also there is a lack of understanding of the damage that this type of demolition inflicts on communities that rely on foreign investment. Damage that manifests itself in social and political instability and the obstruction of economic development.’
‘From AUAN’s point of view we continue to encourage all those who work towards legislation that is more just for all citizens. We always have a little hope but we are always prepared to face disappointment. Today is a day of disappointment. However, we will not give up and will continue to work for what we believe in and we believe in justice.’
March 10, 2015 at 7:20 pm #185369
The Spanish Senate is due to vote tomorrow, 11th March, on an amendment to the Criminal Code proposed by homeowners associations made up of mostly British expats.
Amendment 677 to the Criminal Code proposes to guarantee prior compensation to those who purchase a property in good faith only to find that it is illegal and must be demolished by order of the criminal courts.To date five British families have lost their home and their life savings due to this legal vacuum and more cases are in the pipeline.
It is almost certain that the British associations who have struggled for nearly 10 years to bring this amendment before the senate will lose the vote tomorrow given that the amendment does not have the support of the party that holds the majority in the Senate, the Partido Popular.
March 15, 2015 at 10:02 pm #185397
In the end the amendment was passed. Sometimes they do the right thing.
AUAN PRESS RELEASE
Legal reform brings hope to owners of illegal Spanish Homes
AUAN, 15th March 2015
British homeowners association, AUAN, welcomes the change to the Spanish Criminal Code which says that the homeowner is to be guaranteed compensation prior to the demolition of a property purchased in good faith.
Breakthrough for homeowners associations
The change, approved by the upper house of the Spanish Parliament (the Senate) on the 11th of March, represents the first breakthrough for associations such as AUAN and SOHA who have struggled for nearly ten years to bring hope to their members, mostly British retirees, who were the innocent purchasers of illegally constructed properties in Spain.
To date four British owned properties have been demolished as a result of Criminal Cases, brought against promoters for illegal construction without planning permission, leaving the purchasers in good faith with no money and no house because the criminal court was, until now, not obliged to guarantee them prior compensation.
Maura Hillen, AUAN’s president said ‘The most significant aspect of this change is that the state has recognised and acknowledged the existence of an injustice that must be put to right’.
The amendment, proposed to the Senate by the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) at the request of AUAN and SOHA, was initially rejected by the majority party in Spain, the Partido Popular (PP). However in an about face on the day of the Senate vote, the PP offered an alternative wording which was agreed in a cross party pact at the end of a day of intensive negotiations conducted in the corridors of the Senate Building.
The lawyer, Gerardo Vazquez, who represented the associations in the negotiations, indicated that the final text, which requires more detailed analysis, represents ‘an improvement for the victims’ although it does not have the ‘clarity’ of the original proposal. ‘It offers protection to purchasers in good faith but it is not all that we wished for’.
More to be done
Mrs Hillen said ‘We are of course very pleased with the outcome but this is not the end of the road. There is much more that can be done. We would like to see the same protection offered by the Administrative Courts when a planning permission is revoked. This also requires a change to state law, the Ley de Suelo.
And, in Andalucía we currently have a bill going through the regional parliament which, if passed, will amend the planning laws of Andalucia (LOUA) and allow an estimated 25,000 homeowners to regularise the situation of their home. We would like to see this become law before the municipal elections in May’.
David vs. Goliath
She continued, ‘We celebrate this success and hope for more. This change is a victory for David vs. Goliath, for the members of the associations who stood together and fought for justice and we are grateful to the Socialist Party for taking the bull by the horns and to the members of the Senate who responded to our appeal to vote with their conscience and who negotiated a pact to approve this change by an overwhelming majority (233 votes in favour, 0 against and 1 abstention). We came to the Senate without the support of the majority party and fully expected to go down fighting. Instead we won the day at the 11th hour.’
Senator Fuensanta Coves (PSOE), who proposed the amendment to the Senate commented ‘Social justice is the best way to define what we have achieved and satisfaction is the best way to define what we feel having changed a law. I will not say that it was easy but it was certainly a team effort: a well organised group of citizens, a political party who recognised their demands and echoed those demands to the Senate of Spain, and a Government that has finally recognised the drama that many citizens are living with. In these times of such distrust in politics, examples such as this show the need for representatives of the citizens’.
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