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    Thread: Spanish Home Scandal


    1. #1

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      Spanish Home Scandal

      A British couple have been awarded compensation after an order to demolish their Spanish home was ruled to have been in breach of the law.
      Expats Len and Helen Prior saw their £350,000 villa bulldozed by Andalusia’s regional government in 2008 due to supposed ‘planning irregularities’, despite having all the necessary paperwork.
      But a year later, Spain’s Constitutional Court ruled the demolition was illegal because the Priors had not been informed about the case against their property in Vera, Almeria.
      The couple were subsequently advised to take legal action against the Spanish Judiciary because a judge had signed the order. Now the Ministry of Justice must pay £26,000 in damages.
      “It’s better than nothing, but if the judge who signed the demolition order had done his job and thrown the case out, none of this would have happened. It is quite ridiculous,” said Mrs Prior.


      “Around half of the money will go towards paying legal costs, but the acknowledgement that the decision was illegal is worth a lot to us.”
      The Priors moved to Spain a decade ago after selling their family home in Wokingham, Berkshire.
      They now live in a garage on the plot of their demolished property, with no mains electricity or water connection and a shed acting as a bathroom.
      The couple are continuing to fight a separate case against Vera Town Hall for having granted the original building license.
      The judge could reach a verdict as early as July, although the couple have been warned that the indebted town hall is unlikely to be able to pay them any money.
      “I am absolutely determined not to die until I have been paid,” added the 69-year-old.
      “We have worked every day of our lives for a quiet and relaxing retirement and they have stolen it from us.
      “Every day we are angry about it because it is so unjust, we shouldn’t have to fight for justice.”
      Spain is burdened with an estimated 300,000 illegal homes and around two million empty properties, many of which were built during the property boom which ended in 2007.
      “The stupidity and victimisation of it is appalling,” continued the former telecommunications worker.
      “Even a five-year-old could understand that you can’t have so many other homes in such close proximity in exactly the same situation and yet appear to be able to abide by different rules.”
      Maura Hillen, president of AUAN, a campaign group representing the owners of more than 12,000 illegal homes in Almeria’s Almanzora Valley, greeted the ruling with caution.
      “It’s a positive step but Helen and Len still have a long road ahead. While the judgement acknowledges that the Spanish court system failed the Priors through mismanagement of the original demolition hearings, it dodges the main issue of compensation for the loss of their home,” she said.

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    3. #2

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      My parents and all of their neighbours are in a similar situation. 1 has been knocked down and the others are fighting to save theirs. All because the builder (we found out after) was doing under the table deals with the local mayor which went wrong. The builders had all of the correct paperwork and everything, meetings at the local town hall were had during the build phase. But it all disappeared and the builders did a runner. The local planning office claim they knew nothing about the builds, despite the fact one of the officers lived local and drove past everyday. The list is endless.

      My parents have won the court case against the builder for fraud, they have been recognised and pay suma (? Council tax) yet they are still classes as an illegal build and can not get their bond (£15k) back which they had to put in holding to avoid demolition. How can they be asked to pay tax on something that is illegal? It has been going on for over 10 years. They just want to sell and leave Spain but they are trapped. Spain is such a corrupt country..
      Last edited by M1cha3la; 07-06-2014 at 11:36 AM.
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    4. #3

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      so sorry to hear of this M1 , hope a fellow member can help ...........
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    5. #4

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      Thanks TM, it has been going on for years, they just plod on with each day. We don't hold much hope for their money but if we can help others avoid be in the same situation then thats the main thing.
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