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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    346

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    To me the key words in the article are "Rustic land obviously makes up the vast, vast majority of all the land in Spain." i.e. over 90% of the land in Spain could be stolen from the owner and instead become a liability with huge costs which are even greater than the purchase price you paid.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    346

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    Interviews with others living in Spain who had their land "legally stolen" under the land grab laws. http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl...s/03.09.01.txt
    I was about to hear some particular experiences to shake the
    confidence of anyone thinking of buying in Spain..

    MAN: I’m Graham, my wife’s name is Jan. We’ve
    been living in Spain for approximately six years in the property
    that we own, or that we thought we owned. We were very happy
    until suddenly this Spring a bombshell dropped upon us.

    A’COURT: Graham and Jan Fisher live in the hills
    above Alicante, near Benidorm and in the region called Valencia.
    As Jan explains the bombshell dropped when shadowy figures
    started making appearances nearby...

    JAN: We did see some people walking round part
    of the land near our house, measuring. Then we went along to
    the town hall, we saw that there was a plan already prepared to
    build thousands of houses on a mountainside where there are
    fewer than a hundred and we would have to pay thousands of
    Euros towards this project.

    A’COURT: Graham, how can things like this happen?

    GRAHAM: I think that’s one of the problems that people
    in Britain are going to find this almost impossible to understand.
    They say to you, ‘Well haven’t you got your documents in order,
    you must have done something wrong, you must have made a
    stupid mistake’. No – everything is perfectly in order it’s just that
    there is a law called the Ley Reguladora de la Actividad
    Urbanistica which is being used by unscrupulous developers to
    simply get their hands on huge tracts of land irrespective of the
    fact that there are people already living there or perfectly
    legitimate landowners, house owners etc. This is an abuse.

    A’COURT: To be clear then, it's the Fishers, as the
    existing home-owners who are being asked to pay thousands
    towards building roads, drainage and lighting for a huge new
    development of homes next door to their land. If they don't pay
    they must give up some of their land for a rock bottom price and if
    that doesn't raise enough to cover the bill then they face having to
    hand over all their land and even their home for auction. Those
    caught up in the abuse believe it's so unjust that they're lobbying
    the Spanish Government and the European Union to have the
    LRAU law urgently changed or revoked. Their campaign is being
    led by a retired Canadian diplomat who also lives in the Valencia
    region. Chuck Svoboda. He claims new cases of land abuse are
    emerging every week

    SVOBODA: It is a blood curdling example of what can go
    wrong. People come here, they buy with their life savings and
    they stand a very great risk of losing their investment. In sort this
    is a legalised land-grab.

    A’COURT: So why is such a law in place? Well when it
    was introduced ten years ago it was to stop land speculators
    holding on to valuable sites that could be used for schools and
    hospitals or where reasonably priced homes could be built for
    local people. But with sales of new Spanish homes to outsiders
    now so profitable unscrupulous developers are finding it
    irresistible to grab land where they know high value homes will
    sell. Local councils could stop it but usually don't, sparking
    allegations that corrupt council officials are sometimes working in
    league with the developers.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    346

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    Another couple facing disaster are Len and Tessa Deacon who've
    lived near Benissa on the Costa Blanca for the past nine years..

    TESSA: They said that the cost of the infrastructure
    would be 112.4 Euros per square metre. Which means it’s just
    under 200,000 which includes the IVA.

    A’COURT: That’s the local tax..

    TESSA: The VAT

    A’COURT: 200,000 for the cost of the infrastructure
    that they plan to install here which you don’t want

    TESSA: No we have everything we need. They say
    that if we don’t pay they will take our land. We felt that we just
    couldn’t sit here and wait for them to take our land so we took
    advice from a lawyer. He said well yes this is what the law says, if
    you’re in the developable area you have to pay. We are British
    pensioners we haven’t got that sort of money. Hopefully we will
    hang onto our house.

    A’COURT: The Deacons aren't giving up yet. But for
    another near neighbour, Danny Loveridge, it's already too late.
    He took me to the site where his 130 year old Spanish home had
    once stood...before he was forced out and developers tore it
    down.

    (in car)

    DANNY: We’ll just park here. That was my swimming
    pool.

    A’COURT: Your swimming pool was where the
    roundabout is in the centre of the road.

    DANNY: Where that roundabout is is where my
    swimming pool was. This was the site of my house. The whole
    building was ripped down in March while we were back in the UK.
    This foundation work is where the house was.

    A’COURT: Danny lost his home under the LRAU laws
    when a builder decided his house was on prime land for
    development. Danny had tried to fight to keep his property but
    eventually threw in the towel after an offer allowing him to get out
    with a fraction of what it was really worth. When everything was
    totalled up he had lost two thirds of the market value of his
    home......

    DANNY: It would have been worth about 260,000 –
    we came out of it with about 90,000 and that makes us
    160,000 down.

    A’COURT: Do you think you were singled out in some
    way?

    DANNY: No, oh no. There were fifty three people
    affected or fifty three owners of land. We were the only British
    ones – fifty two of them were Spanish. A lot of them were
    absentee owners, in so far as they didn’t live on their land, some
    of the land was just vineyards, but we weren’t the only ones
    affected.

    A’COURT: And now you’ve had enough?

    DANNY: Now we’ve had enough – totally.

    A’COURT: Danny's experience of the Valencian land
    laws is the worst to date but he fears it won't be long before
    others suffer a similar fate. He'd like to return to the UK, but the
    financial hit that he and his family have taken in Spain means
    they no longer have the means to buy the sort of property they
    once owned in England. So they feel stuck in the small Spanish
    holiday apartment that they moved into after losing their dream
    home.

    DANNY: I believe that every newspaper that carries
    advertising for the Costa Blanca, because that’s the main area
    affected, should across the top of its page put a banner
    equivalent to a government health warning of buying property
    subject to the LRAU laws. That alone may make people think, ‘oh
    I’d better be that little bit more careful’ than just jumping on a jolly
    three day visit to Spain and buying whatever they see first.

    The Valencian regional council has talked about changing the
    laws to protect people living and buying along the Costa Blanca,
    particularly around election times, but hasn't followed up with any
    action and a recent letter from the Spanish Embassy to a British
    Euro Mp makes it clear that the Spanish Government is unlikely
    to bring about any change. Most worryingly for home buyers it
    seems likely that what's already happening in Valencia will spread
    to Spain's other regions where building land is valuable - like the
    Costa Del Sol where there are the most property owners from the
    UK. Chuck Svoboda says unless land laws are torn up anyone
    thinking of buying any Spanish property with land attached or in
    the countryside should tread very carefully...

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    1

    Default

    I know personally of two British people who bought in southern Spain eight or nine years ago and now cannot sell because the bottom's fallen out of the Spanish property market. In addition, one is a retiree, paid her pension in sterling, and over the past year has watched its value plummet like a stone.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    90

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    Unfortunately there are an increasing amount of stories emerging from Spain at the moment and the way home owners have been treated. Although I understand that this is a problem that can be faced in many countries; many Europeans would have assumed that it would be safe to purchase property in the EU under all the regulations. I agree that a lot of research needs to be done when investing in a foreign country, and unfortunately this is not done enough by home buyers. Laws are different in all countries and people have bad experiences in countries all over the world assuming it to be safe.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Eastbourne
    Posts
    1

    Default

    No wonder France has overtaken Spain as the #1 location for overseas buyers in Europe.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    7,633

    Default

    Wow - very interesting. Renting seems a better way to go rather than purchasing - if you want to spend 3+ months a year in the area I guess.

    cheers,

    Donna
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