Spanish planning authorities still demolishing expat homes

Published:  21 Oct at 6 PM
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In spite of negative publicity and protests, Spanish planning authorities in Andalusia are continuing to demolish expat-owned villas built by rogue developers.

The latest villa to be torn down belonged to British couple John and Jan Brooks, who purchased it off-plan from a local developer in 2005. They used their retirement savings and intended to live there permanently when the time was right.
Within a year, their dream became a nightmare as they were told to leave as the new-build villa had no planning permission. The pretty property and its swimming pool was one of four constructed by a local developer on restricted-use land, and all were purchased by unsuspecting British expats.

The battle to save their home finally ended last week, when the bulldozers moved in and reduced it to a heap of rubble. In the meantime, the rogue developer, Francisco Pedrosa, had been given a five-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay full compensation to the expats who’d lost their homes.

The local mayor, who had unlawfully signed off for the supply of water and electricity to the properties, was also given a suspended prison term as well as being suspended from his mayoral office for two years. Tragically, the couple are unlikely to receive any compensation, as Pedrosa declared bankruptcy immediately after his conviction.

Mr Brookes and his wife are heartbroken and angry at losing their dream home to unsympathetic Spanish authorities, especially since one, the mayor, was complicit in the scam. Local feeling in the expat community is running high, with most saying that, given the circumstances, the local government should have allowed the four homes to stand.

Spain is attempting to attract overseas buyers by offering permanent residence to those who purchase a home for more than €250,000, slightly over the amount the Brookes paid for their property. It seems that non-Spanish buyers should tread carefully and investigate the legalities of any such transaction, especially in Andalusia.
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