Owners’ plight goes overseas

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THE International New York Times newspaper has picked up on the plight of owners of approximately 5,000 illegal Almeria homes.

Kevin Brass, a freelance journalist who lives in Barcelona, spent two days in the area with Maura Hillen, President of AUAN Abusos Urbanisticos Almanzora No, before writing his article.

The non-profit non-political organisation has been fighting for many years to change the precarious legal situation of owners, many of whom are retired British expatriates in Almanzora, who unwittingly bought property which had been illegally built during the construction boom between 2001 and 2008.

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Their 10-year battle continues, and although politicians and developers have been jailed no official decision has been made on what will happen to the homes, which could be demolished at any time. In fact, in November two homes belonging to British couples were knocked down in Cantoria.

Kevin Brass notes that in October owners claimed a victory when a judge suspended demolition of four homes and for the first time ever awarded owners €140,000 in moral damages for the time they had lived with the threat of demolition.

Although the homes cannot be demolished, they are still considered illegal and cannot be sold. As they are not considered legal they have no mains water or electricity and must rely on generators and water lorries.


Although the Junta de Andalucia regional government approved a decree in 2012 to avoid demolitions, there is still a legal vacuum as the decree does not include small residential developments or sub-divided plots in rural areas, owners’ representing lawyer Gerardo Vazquez explained. 

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