Expat property owners in Spain were recently caught up in a controversy after the government deemed many of their homes to have been built illegally, and subsequently ordered their demolition.
However now, the Spanish government has given these property owners a glimmer of hope with a specially created “amnesty”.
The troublesome situation originated when so-called corrupt politicians allowed a number of expats to build homes on Spanish land. However, soon after, regional planning chiefs discovered the illegal properties and demanded they be destroyed.
This news was obviously devastating for the actual expatriate home owners who hav spent vast sums of money building their ideal homes. A draining set of court battles ensued but now progress appears to have been made.
Representatives from the council of Andalusia, the location of many of the disputed properties, have now claimed that many of the homes may be passed as legal. The head of the department for public works and housing in the Andalusian regional government, Josefina Cruz, recently announced that 11,025 properties were to be 'normalised' within three to six months.
Ms Cruz said: “What we are doing is recognising the existence of 11,025 homes which can start a process of regularisation.”
Phillipo Smalley, the president of Save our Homes in Axarquia, said: “Finally, we think we're hitting the home straight. At the moment it is just words, but our understanding is that finally the council in Andalucia will pass an amendment to legalise these houses. It is absolutely a step in the right direction.”
Spain is currently attempting to revitalise its economic fortunes since suffering harsh effects of the global financial crisis, this move could be seen as way of kick-starting the ailing property market.
However some expats are still wary. Maura Hillen, of another residents group said: “We've heard all of these promises before. The devil really is in the detail, and they haven't published any documentation on this so far. They are very good at making promises, and very bad at living up to them.”
Ms Cruz also warned that while many houses would be saved, some would still be demolished: “We will act forcefully so that the occurrence of illegally-built houses in Axarquia is contained, because we have to protect the countryside and the touristic value of the region,” she said.