Spanish property scandal couple who lost home win compensation

Published:  21 Feb at 6 PM
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As the Spanish homes scandal rumbles on, it’s better news for at least one couple, who have been awarded compensation for the loss of their bulldozed home.

Len and Helen Prior witnessed their £350,000 villa in Andalusia being bulldozed by the regional government due to ‘planning irregularities’, even although they had all the necessary permits and paperwork. One year on they were informed that the demolition itself was illegal as they had been given no notice of the case against their property.

After taking legal advice, the couple took action against the judiciary, as it was a local judge whose signature was on the demolition order. As a result, the Spanish Ministry of Justice must pay damages of £26,000.

Given the lack of substantial damages for the loss of their villa, the Priors say it’s better than nothing, but make the point that if the judge had done his job properly, the demolition order would have been disallowed and they would still have their home. Another bitter pill is that half the award will go to clear legal costs, but the acknowledgement of the illegality of the decision means a lot to the couple, who now live in a garage on their plot and are fighting another court case against the local administration.

Vera Town Hall officials prepared the original building license and it’s likely that the verdict, due in July, will be in the couple's favour. However, it’s unlikely that the indebted local authority will be able to pay any damages levied, leaving the Priors bereft of their life savings and the money from the sale of their Wokingham home.
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