Thursday, 22 July 2010

European update

Dear ,

Further to your previous email I have spoken to our Petitions Spokesman Giles Chichester MEP and he has given me an update on the current situation:

1. We had a very successful hearing a few months ago in the Petitions Committee when several petitioners of all nationalities presented their case. The Spanish government was there too. What was really significant was that unlike previous occasions when the Spanish MEPs were very reluctant to admit that anything was wrong, they were for the most part much more sympathetic to the plight of the property owners. There seems to be a real breakthrough.

2. There is now considerable pressure from some member states, eg UK and Germany , to reopen the issue to put further pressure on the Spanish Government. It is very likely that there will be another report to follow up on the Auken report from the last parliament. This time, I understand that as long as the issue focuses on the questions of the law's erratic application, unfair compensation terms and retroactive nature, the Spanish MEPs are likely to be more cooperative. They know that the issue is of some embarrassment to their country, and that many of those badly affected are Spanish.

3. The next meeting of PETI is at the end of September. We will be pressing for an immediate decision to go ahead, to visit some of the worst affected places and to start a report.

I can assure you that we will do everything in our power to put an end to the Spanish property disaster. In the end it has got to be the Member State , i.e. Spain , that sort out the problem but we will exert all possible pressure on them to do so.

Kind regards,

Timothy Kirkhope MEP

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Junta includes AUAN in working party to find solution to illegal housing problem

Abusos Urbanisticos Almanzora No

Campaigning to safeguard our homes

AUAN Press release – 21st July 2010


Junta includes AUAN in working party to find solution to illegal housing problem

In an informal 30 minute meeting with a delegation from AUAN, the Minister for Planning and Housing of the Junta de Andalucia, Rosa Aguilar, announced the creation in September of a working party to find and agree solutions to problems arising from the illegality of homes in the AlmanzoraValley.

The working party will include representatives of the regional government, the mayors of the valley and representatives of the affected families, specifically AUAN.

AUAN is satisfied with this new development which represents one of our key demands. We look forward to actively seeking solutions to the serious problems faced by our members in an open and transparent manner.

We encourage all those affected by this issue to register to vote to help maintain pressure on the working party to deliver results.

The meeting took place on Tuesday 20th July in Albox when the Minister attended the ceremony to mark the opening of the towns’ new bridge.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Property in Spain

Courtesy of Lenox:

Property in Spain
There has been a certain amount of excitement among the Northern European settlers in Spain after the head-on critical attack on President Zapatero from a rogue MEP during the plenary meeting in Strasbourg to close Spain’s six month presidency of the European Union. The attack came from Marta Andreasen, an MEP for the Euro-sceptic UKIP (an odd party perhaps for Ms Andreasen, a British citizen who lives in Barcelona and who has a marked Argentine accent, but then the Über-Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan was born and raised in Peru and he doesn’t seem to think much of foreign politicians either). Andreasen compared Zapatero’s treatment of the mainly British owners of ‘illegal homes’ as approaching something dreamed up by President Mugabe, the Zimbabwean despot. There’s a video of her comments and Zapatero’s indignant answer here.
This comes after the new housing tsar for Andalucía, the ex IU mayoress for Cordoba Rosa Aguilar, said in a recent meeting in Cadiz that there are 300,000 illegal homes in Andalucía.
And God knows how many more in the rest of Spain.
There are in fact three different problems that home-owners, whether Spanish, European or foreigners must face, although oddly, most of the ‘victims’ of these problems turn out to be Britons. The three (essential) problems, misunderstood unfortunately by both Ms Andreasen and Mr Zapatero (if he cares) are ‘Land Grab’ (a popular concept where property is expropriated and the owner charged for urbanisation costs for his remaining stake, all for publicly sanctioned commercial reasons), ‘Illegal Homes’ (homes are planned, built, marketed and sold – almost always to Northern Europeans - and only then found to be illegal, thus leaving – apparently – hundreds of thousands of property owners in a extended state of doubt, stress and judicial uncertainty) and lastly the ‘Ley de Costas’, the Coastal Law which started out as a military order to allow clear fields of fire on the Nation’s coast and beaches. Now, while no one is clear on the rules (which vary from one municipality, owner, authority and situation, to the next), the Coastal Law can mean that no one can build within a certain, variable, distance from the water-line unless the rules are bent, ignored or, in some cases, satisfied with a fine. The 1988 version of this law will, apparently, be debated in the Spanish parliament this autumn, so maybe some sense will finally be made of it.
But let us return to Andalucía and the housing tsar Rosa Aguilar. Her predecessor, recently removed from his job after masterminding the demolition of one house in Vera, Almería, in 2008 – and causing a hullabaloo across the world (oddly enough, even in Zimbabwe during their elections) – had talked of homes being ‘ilegal’ and ‘legal’ and something very andaluz between these two extremes: ‘alegal’ – which would translate as something like ‘illegalish’. An elegant solution where everyone wanders off and talks about something else. Unfortunately, many of the illegal houses don’t have water or electric connections and, not being registered officially, the owners can’t pay property taxes or, of course, vote.
Rosa Aguilar thinks that the answer might lie in forcing the owners of these properties to pay urbanising costs which, at least in Chiclana where she made the remarks (a town with 15,000 illegal homes or more), costs per household would be in the region of 40,000 euros. Meanwhile, she has set up a Citizens Forum with a number of women’s groups (for some reason) to ‘establish a permanent dialogue between the Andalucian Department for Housing and Public Works and social groups’. Very nice too, but none of the many property-owners associations or foreigners groups have been invited to join.
They might have made too much of a fuss.

Monday, 12 July 2010


Abusos Urbanisticos Almanzora No
Campaigning to safeguard our homes

AUAN Press release – 12th July 2010


For some time AUAN has been warning that sooner or later the avalanche of cases against illegal homes bought in good faith by mostly British people in the Almanzora Valley would come to light. Now reports have come to their attention that 98 more homes could eventually run the risk of being demolished.

The reports relate to summary procedure number 23/2007 in the Investigative Court Number 1 in Huercal-Overa (which accumulates preliminary investigations numbers 2188/2005 and 2352/2007 from the same court with case number 760/2007 from Court Number 2). The investigation centres on alleged planning crimes and alleged construction without a building license. It is feared that demolition will be requested when formal charges are made because this appears to be the usual practise of the Prosecutor. The homes affected are in the area of La Aljambra in the municipality of Albox. The investigation was initiated by Seprona in 2005. The case relates to several allegedly illegal urbanisation's which lack basic infrastructure. Many of the affected homeowners rely on generators to provide electricity.

The British community is distressed because of the uncertainty about legal proceedings. It is scandalous that things continue like this without the administration delivering a solution in spite of the promises offered. It is clear that the current solution will take many years and in the meantime the situation is getting worse rather than better.

AUAN recommends that anyone who thinks that they are affected by this case should take legal advice and appoint a lawyer and a procurator to defend their interests in these proceedings. Grouping together can reduce costs.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

The Boot

As Zapatero summed up his masterful leadership of the European Union at a plenary function in Strasbourg on Tuesday, it remained for Marta Andreasen, (MEP) to put in the boot, with accusations of Zapatero ignoring human rights and behaving more like Mugabe than a European leader in respect of the '300,000 illegal homes just in Andalucía'. See the video of her remarks (and Zapatero's indignant reply) here (in English).
The Spanish press (somewhat surprisingly, having kept silent on this issue for years) have joined in with some coverage of dubious value, sometimes confusing the 'ley de costas', 'land grab' and 'viviendas ilegales' (all different issues) for example here ('Preguntan a Zapatero si confiscará casas costeras a los británicos como en Zimbabue') and bringing in MEPs Magritte Auken and Marta Andreasen together in an article here called 'The two euro-houseflies'.
'Typically Spanish' covers the story here.

Monday, 5 July 2010

AUAN Press release –5th July 2010 - More homes under threat

Abusos Urbanisticos Almanzora No

Campaigning to safeguard our homes

AUAN Press release –5th July 2010


Seven homes impacted by planning crimes investigation in Arboleas

AUAN sources confirm that the Nov 2009 raid on Arboleas Town hall relates to an investigation into alleged planning crimes and ‘prevaricacion’ (wrongdoing in a public office).

The investigation involves 7 dwellings constructed by Lakes Vega SL on poligono 8 parcela 118 in the La Cana area of Arboleas.

The case (1429/2009) is currently in court number 3 in Heurcal-Overa awaiting formal charges from the State Prosecutor. Such charges often include a demand for demolition.

Anyone affected by this case would be best advised to seek legal assistance and take part in the legal proceedings to protect their interests.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

AUAN Press release – 3rd July 2010

Abusos Urbanisticos Almanzora No

Campaigning to safeguard our homes

AUAN Press release – 3rd July 2010


Zurgena: Homeowners in Llanos Del Peral given 5 days to take part in legal proceedings relating to their properties

Homeowners in the Llanos Del Peral area of Zurgena were given until the 6th of July to appear before court number 2 in Huercal Overa to take part in legal proceedings relating their properties.

The properties are located on Poligono 17, parcela 348, subparcela A in the area of Llanos del Peral. The proceedings are against CARLOS DOMINGO BERBEL FERNANDEZ. The promoter is named as TISAN SURESTE S.L and the constructor is named as TRAGARCIA S,L.

We do not know if the homes are part built or occupied.

AUAN strongly recommends that anyone affected would be best advised to seek legal assistance and take part in the legal proceedings to protect their interests. It would be foolish not to.

The announcement was made on Friday 2nd July on the official bulletins of the province (BOP). This site is monitored by AUAN volunteers.

(See below)



Procedimiento: PROCED.ABREVIADO 63/2007.

N.I.G.: 0405343P20060002428.



D./Dña. Esther De La Cruz González Secretario del Juzgado de Primera Instancia e Instruccion Numero 2 de Huercal-Overa.


Que en el Procedimiento Abreviado nº 63/2007 se ha dictado la providencia siguiente:

Practíquense las diligencias solicitadas por el Ministerio Fiscal en OTROS Y II de su escrito de acusación de fecha 15/03/2010, librando para ello los despachos oportunos, señalándose el día seis de Julio para los perjudicados que puedan ser localizados y acordándose emplazar por medio de edictos, en calidad de perjudicados, a los adquirentesde las viviendas sitas en el polígono 17 , parcela 348 SUBPARCELA A) , del Paraje Los LLanos DEL PERAL, del término municipal de Zurgena, siendo el promotor de las mismas TISAN SURESTE S.L , y el contructor “ TRAGARCIA S,L.” que no se hayan personado hasta ahora en la causa, para que en el plazo de CINCO DIAS comparezcan ante este Juzgado a fin de realizarles el ofrecimiento de acciones previsto en el artículo 109 de la Ley de Enjuiciamiento Criminal, edictos

que se publicarán en el Tablón de Anuncios de este Juzgado y en el Boletín Oficial de la Provincia, librando a tal efecto los despachos oportunos. Igualmente, se acuerda requerirles para que en el mismo plazo aporten los justificantes de los pagos efectuados al adquirir las respectivas viviendas.” Y para que conste y sirva de EMPLAZMIENTO Y REQUERIMIENTO a los referidos perjudicados, y su publicación en el Boletin oficial de ALMERIA , expido el presente en Huércal Overa a veintiuno de mayo de dos mil diez.

EL/LA SECRETARIO, Esther de la Cruz González.