Latest Changes to the Andalucian Planning Laws are another nail in the coffin

From the AUAN:

If you buy an illegal house in good faith, it’s your fault and you will be punished according to the latest amendments to the LOUA.

AUAN, 21st November 2011

The regional government of Andalucía has announced that itis changing its planning laws (LOUA) in an attempt to revitalise the struggling real estate sector by easing the requirements for building in urban areas.

However, according to sources in Abusos UrbanisticosAlmanzora NO (AUAN), an association of homeowners who purchased homes in Andalucía only to find that these homes had fallen foul of the regions poorly managed planning regulations, the latest changes do little to encourage potential buyers to reach for their chequebooks.

“Section thirty five of the text is a classic example of how the Ministry for Housing and Planning views home buyers as a potential threat to judicial order” said Maura Hillen, AUAN president. It reads, rather ponderously, “The measures to protect planning legality and the reestablishmentof the perturbed judicial order have a real character and apply to third party purchasers of property subject to such measures because of their status as subrogated in law by the responsibilities of the person causing the planning illegality”.

“In layman’s terms this means that if you buy an illegal house in good faith, you inherit the problem” says Mrs. Hillen. “For example, if the Property Registeris inaccurate and fails to reveal the existence of a planning problem a purchaser in good faith may buy this property and may subsequently face unforeseen legalisation costs or in the worst case, demolition without prior compensation.Given that the property register currently gives a clean bill of health toHelen and Len Priors house (it was demolished in 2008), you can understand therisks that you face” she continued.

“I suppose that it is too much to expect that a Ministry whose leader,Josefina Cruz Villalon, described foreign purchasers as ‘an invasion of people,…whoare not from this country, who settled here illegally’ etc, etc, would evenattempt to solve the problems suffered by thousands of European citizens, themajority retired, who have invested practically all of their savings in Andalucía,invited by promises of a warm welcome, a sunny climate and a legally safe placeto live. We believe that perhaps it cannot be expected that such people willcreate an environment which encourages further European investment in realestate here. Many Britons, having learned their lesson have now left Andalucía;some others are abandoning their homes. ? How can one hope that more Britonswill invest in Andalucía when their compatriots have been treated in this way?”she concluded.

According to the new bill, homeowners also face penalties if they owna house that is deemed to be illegal with additional requirements in terms ofurbanisation costs and the possibility of fines.

The bill also encourages the role of the Urbanising Agent, a figurethat plans and executes the urbanisation works presenting the landowners withthe bill. “This role requires careful regulation to safeguard the rights of thelandowners and to prevent abuses, something which this bill does not do.” saidMrs Hillen.

“This regulatory change is of interest to everybody. We understandthat it is being passed via an emergency procedure in the Andalucía Parliament.We do not understand such urgency without sufficient debate. Needless to say,those affected, represented by AUAN and similar associations have not been consultedand it all seems a bit rushed”.

“In the meetings we have had with the Junta de Andalucía we haveadvocated for sensible and practical solutions like those that have beenapplied in other autonomous regions of Spain. These latest changes are neither sensible nor practical. Sadly, for everyone this regional government never listens andthis bill is just another nail in the coffin.” concluded AUANs president.

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