Expat homeowners march in Sevilla

Andalucia Day (Tuesday) in Sevilla saw property pressure groups from Almeria and Malaga join forces to call for changes to the planning laws of Andalucía and to reject the recent decree to regularise properties built on non-urban land.

Some 300 members of SOHA (Save Our Homes Axarquia) and AUAN (Abusos Urbanisticos Almanzora No) met at the headquarters of the Popular Party (PP) in Sevilla, and were joined by the PP spokesperson on planning in Andalucía, Alicia Martínez Martin.

The groups represent foreign homeowners who are experiencing problems with the legality of their homes, some of which are likely to be demolished. Some 250,000 properties across Andalucía are though to have been built illegally.

AUAN president, Maura Hillen, said “It is one of the few occasions on which we felt that we were being listened to and understood, apart from Izquierda Unida who have also been receptive to our concerns.”

“I just hope that the good intentions of the PP are put into practice,” Hillen added.

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Illegal homes still at risk

Although new laws have been passed to “protect” buyers who bought in good faith campaigners say the latest changes are “another nail in the coffin” for the continuing property crisis in Spain.

The latest amendments have been made in what looks like a desperate attempt to breathe life into the Spanish real-estate market by relaxing the requirement for urban developments. However, the changes do not help those with illegal property in rural areas.

Almeria based pressure group AUAN say that those buying in good faith will still be held responsible and could still face losing their homes.

Maura Hillen, president of AUAN said “If you buy an illegal house in good faith, you still inherit the problem, according to section 35,”. This represents hundreds of home-owners who, through no fault of their own, have ended up with an illegal property. Worryingly, this could even apply to people who’s homes were wrongly entered into the property register.

Hillen went on to say “Given that the property register currently gives a clean bill of health to Helen and Len Priors house (the home famously demolished in 2008), you can understand the risks that you face.

“These latest changes are neither sensible nor practical. Sadly this regional government never listens and this bill is just another nail in the coffin.”

AUAN estimates the number of illegal homes in Andalucia at around 300,000, affecting just under 1 million people, and with a total value of  around 60 billion euros.

Visit AUAN website