Brit expats in Spain lose holiday villa in secret auction

Published:  31 Oct at 6 PM
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A holiday villa in Spain was sold to a neighbour in a private auction after she had complained her house was damp.

A British couple have just 30 days to give up the keys to their dream retirement holiday home after the local authority sold the property in a private auction without giving the owners notice of the pending sale. Adrian and Margo Campbell bought the two-bedroomed villa in Tozar, Granada, many years ago when their children were young, and spent Christmases and holidays there.

The unbelievable loss of the Campbell’s Spanish hideaway began when their next-door neighbour complained to the local authority that work being done on the adjoining villa had resulted in her own house becoming damp. She took the couple to court without their knowledge, and was granted 43,000 euros in damages by the judge.

The Campbells, back in Britain at the time, had no knowledge of the court case and its judgement, so were unable to defend themselves again the charges brought by the neighbour. They only found out about the auction of their home last March, and immediately launched an unsuccessful appeal against the judgement which resulted in their being told they must hand over the keys.

Adrian Campbell told local reporters the entire mess was a travesty as they’d no idea what was happening, and it was too late to do anything once the auction was over. He added the local authorities knew full well the villa was a holiday home, and did nothing to keep the owners informed of the situation.

The couple have now launched an appeal with the High Court in Madrid, but are still being forced to hand over the keys to the neighbour as a hearing has not yet been scheduled. Adrian and Margo are grieving at the loss of their home, remembering the family Christmases and New year celebrations they’d enjoyed there and the fun holidays when their children were young.
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