Villa Owned By Ex-Pats Demolished In Spain

By Editorial 25 October, 2013

A new video showing the demolition of an illegally-built Spanish villa owned by a British couple has once again highlighted the plight of expats unwittingly caught up in building scams that flourished during Spain's property boom.

The home, in Cantoria in Andalucia, had been purchased by John and Jan Brooks for GBP170,000 (EUR200,000) in 2005. The local mayor illegally arranged for it to be connected to utilities, and he and the property developer have since been given suspended prison sentences. The developer has also been ordered by the courts to pay the couple back in full, but he has recently declared bankruptcy.

John Brooks told the media that the property had been his and his wife's "pension," and that they would never visit Spain again. Footage of the demolition by bulldozer was sent to the couple by a former neighbour, and two other nearby properties are scheduled to be taken down.

It is believed that up to 300,000 properties were built illegally during the boom years. One British couple in Vera were forced to move into their garage after the rest of their home was demolished, while another couple in Albox are currently attempting to save their home through a legal challenge on human rights grounds. In some cases, illegally-built properties have been regularized by the authorities.

Earlier this month, more than 50 people including town councillors, city mayors, and a city planning chief were convicted of offences in relation to illegal properties in Marbella.

Britain's Ambassador to Spain, Giles Paxman, previously said that the UK Embassy was engaged with Spanish authorities "at all levels" in relation to property issues affecting British nationals, but that it is unable to take action on individual cases. He urged expats to encourage others "to do their research and get impartial legal advice before moving abroad."

Tags: Enforcement | Spain | Expats | Investment | Property Investment | Invest | Investment |


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