British pensioner falls victim to yet another Spanish property scam

Published:  7 Mar at 6 PM
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British national Janet Hayden now finds herself in the same position as hundreds of other UK expats who trusted local Spanish builders and authorities to tell the truth about land purchase.

Expatriate Janet Hayden had arrived in Spain in 2003 and was searching for an idyllic plot of land on which her home would be built. She was offered a stunning plot, but was told she could not get permissio9n to build unless she paid a small fine. Having agreed, she went ahead and used a local solicitor to organise architects, builders, bank loans and the sale itself. At this point, Janet was happy she’d ticked all the necessary boxes and was on the way to realising her dream life.

Her worries began when she noticed the original agreed building costs were escalating fast, from the initial quote of 270,000 euros to 536,000 euros. As she’d requested a few extras, she let the build go ahead. Worse was to come when she discovered the promised build licenses had not materialised, and her bank loans to cover the extra costs meant she already owed a huge amount. In spite of the problems, the build was finally finished and she moved into her three-story dream house, hoping her problems were at an end.

Very soon, her already shaky dream turned into a homeowner’s worst nightmare as cracks began appearing in the walls and a huge hole opened under one corner of the house. Hoping her insurance would cover the necessary repairs, she was devastated to discover her lawyer hadn’t arranged her standard 10-year new buildings cover. Shortly afterwards, locals told her the plot was known in the area as the ‘land that walks’, due to its constant slipping. Janet is certain this essential detail was never mentioned by her architect, her lawyer or the builder.

As a result of the ongoing chaos in her life, her marriage failed and she now has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a potentially fatal heart condition. The bank has now repossessed the house and she’s due to be evicted at the beginning of April. In 2011, the area’s former mayor received a 27-month prison sentence for his granting of illegal building licenses.

Janet has, it seems, no recourse and no way to deal with the consequences of the scam.
She’s now 70 years old, alone, worn down and attempting to persuade the bank to let her stay, although she’s nervous about the property’s ongoing structural issues.
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