In the latest twist to the saga of illegal properties in Spain, authorities in Andalucía have ordered the disconnection of electricity and water to nineteen homes occupied by elderly British retirees, even though the same authority has already agreed that the properties can be made legal.
Each couple spent between 160,000 and 265,000 Euros of their life savings on a retirement home in the area of El Fas in the small town of Cantoria, Almería only to discover that the Dutch promoter had constructed the properties without planning permission in full view of the town hall. The promoter, Southern Spain Consultants C.B., was convicted of planning crimes in 2011 in a judgement that acknowledged that the homeowners who had assisted in the prosecution had acted in good faith. However, no order was made that they should be compensated and the promoters received a minimum sentence and fine.
In 2012 the regional government, the Junta de Andalucía, agreed that the properties could be legalised under the terms of a new Decree which, they promised, would bring order to some 300,000 illegal properties in the region.
In spite of this agreement, the same authority continues to pursue proceedings against the properties and has ordered disconnection of all public services which, apparently, cannot be reconnected until the properties become fully legal, a process which can take many years.
Facing the prospect of more legal bills and life on an electricity generator, many have decided to give up the fight and abandon their homes to their fate.
Adding insult to injury, the only property on the estate of 19 houses that continues to enjoy public services is the one owned and occupied by the developer.
Maura Hillen from AUAN, an organisation that campaigns on behalf of homeowners impacted by the problem of illegal houses in Spain, said “These people have invested more than 3 million Euros in Spain and in return they are being treated disgracefully by a system that simply does not function to protect homeowners. And I am sorry to say that this is not an isolated case. Many thousands of illegal homeowners live in fear of disconnection and the regional government’s latest legal ‘solutions’ have simply served to make matters worse”. Taken
from the AUAN website. Later:
The territorial delegate of the Consejería de Agricultura, Pesca y Medio Ambiente, José Manuel Ortiz Bono, denies the charges
against his office and suggests that the Town Hall of Cantoria may have cut the electricity and water. He does agree, however, that his office made a complaint against 'illegal' households attaching hoses to public faucets. Still Later:
The Telegraph moves in
with 'Will the Last Briton to Leave Spain Please turn Off the Lights'. More:
The AUAN said
on Wednesday that it stood by its complaint, saying that the letter to the Cantoria Town Hall from the Junta de Andalucía clearly orders the ayuntamiento
to cut the services to the nineteen homes. The association has called for a meeting between the home-owners, the Town Hall and the Delegate from the Junta.