There are still reckoned to be 300,000 illegal homes in the Andalucia area of Spain, many of them owned by Brits. The owners claim that they were ill informed by property agents and town hall officials during the buying process. Without the proper legal paperwork, many are unable to get proper electricity and water supplies but even worse, they live under the constant threat of demolition.
The owners in the Valley of Almanzora set up an association to represent 12,000 homeowners.
The AUAN Association has now successfully petitioned the Spanish parliament to amend the penal code which will now allow a stay of execution of demolition until compensation has been paid. This move represents progress but still does not guarantee that the homes will be legalised which is what AUAN were pressing for. They are currently fighting in the European Court of Human Rights to save the home of a British couple in Andalucia.
Why were the homes built illegally in the first place?
Developers, keen to cash in on the demand for property during the boom years, sought permission from local town halls to build. The town halls, eager to gain the money from building licences, granted permission without approval from the regional government. The developers went ahead and built the homes which were then sold by agents who again had a vested interest in their sale. The solicitors involved hastened the process without proper investigation and searches. Thus the homes were built, sold and occupied. Only at this stage did the Regional Government intervene and declare the houses illegal. By this time it was too late, the builders had gone out of business as had the agents. Even those who were entitled to claim compensation could not do so. They had been duped by a system that was corrupt to the core.