New hope for owners of ‘illegal’ properties

The Junta de Andalucia has thrown out a potential lifeline to thousands of owners of illegal properties who had virtually given up on the Spanish justice system. They have identified 12,760 illegal build properties constructed within 22 municipalities situated within Malaga Province, according to the Junta’s Public Works and Housing Department (PWHD).

The Junta hopes to work with town halls to legalise approximately 11,000 of these properties.

The remaining properties are on protected land or were built less than four years ago.

This was revealed during a meeting between PWHD Minister, Josefina Cruz and mayors of 18 of the 22* Axarquia town halls included in the inventory.

The three biggest municipalities in the Axarquia: Nerja, Torrox and Velez-Malaga are not included in the inventory.

Other similar inventories are being carried out elsewhere in Andalucia.

The PWHD also revealed a forthcoming decree that would enable owners of thousands of illegal properties across the Andalucia region to request regularisation of their property through their town hall, and to be issued with a licence of first occupation.

A delighted British Ambassador to Spain Giles Paxman stated, “This was a real step forward,” and pledged his continuing support on this extremely emotive and personal issue.

In an official press statement he said, “The decree should enable thousands of people whose properties have been declared illegal to comply with the law and gain access to essential services. Of course there will be some properties built on specially protected land or in dangerous locations which it will not be possible to legalise. But the announcement will bring relief and hope to many people whose lives have been blighted by property and planning irregularities.”

Meanwhile, Save Our Homes Axarqua spokesman reportedly said: “People are getting far too excited about an announcement which just reiterates what the Junta have been saying for the last 6 months.

“I would rather the Embassy committed themselves to ensuring that ALL British citizens who have bought in good faith will have their house legalised or compensation paid.

“SOHA aim to ensure that no-one in the Axarquia will have their house torn down without compensation.”

Maura Hillen, from Almeria-based property rights pressure group AUAN:  “Whilst we hope the the Junta de Andalucia is sincere in its intentions we have had many false dawns. It is difficult to comment on this decree when the text has yet to be been published and will not be published, it appears, until after the local elections.”

“One hopes that Ambassador Paxman has access to information that we do not.”

Pablo Calderon, from Perez & Calderon Lawyers, a specialist in town planning problems said: “This decree has been underway for some time and intends to set the legal guidelines lo legalize many homes and buildings, many of which were built on rural land.”

Calderon adds: “However, in my opinion, this should be done not by means of a decree for a certain area, but by modifying the 2002 Ley de Ordenacion Urbanistica de Andalucia (LOU or Andalucian Urban Planning Law), and setting general guidelines so that any homeowner in a similar situation can request that their town hall legalize the building.”

“Similar measures have been adopted recently in Extremadura and Cataluña, and are being studied in Cataluña.”

Calderon warns that houses on protected rural land or those affected by legally imposed limitations (for example, the proximately to an infrastructure such as a road or motorway) cannot be legalized.

Junta Minister, Josefina Cruz echoed this: “Not everything can be legalised.”

By Benny Davis and John Jackson


*Almachar, Are-nas, Comares, Iznate, Moclinejo, Alfarnate, Benamargosa, El Borge, Canillas de Albaida, Cómpeta, Cútar, Macharaviaya, Salares, Sedella, Alfarnatejo, Algarrobo, Benamocarra, Colmenar, Frigiliana, Periana, Sayalonga and Riogordo.


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