UK govt urges Spain to find long term solutions to illegal property issues

by Ray Clancy on March 24, 2010

The Spanish government is being urged to find long term solutions to problems faced by expats including the current property crisis which has left people facing poverty and having their homes demolished.

UK Local Government Minister Rosie Winterton said progress is being made in terms of better protection to UK citizens living in or considering moving to Spain but she would like to see more.

She held a meeting with Manuel Chaves, Spain’s Third Vice-President and Minister for Territorial Policy, and Gaspar Zarrias, Spanish Minister of State for Territorial Affairs, to discuss the property ownership problems some UK nationals are facing in Spain despite purchasing homes in good faith.

She welcomed, as a positive first step, agreements, announced recently by Zarrias and British Minister for Europe Chis Bryant, that will be signed between the UK and both the Junta de Andalucia and the Valencian Regional Government.

It will mean that a civil servant from each of the two regional governments will be available to advise UK citizens on integrating into Andalucia and Valencia. They will give local, informed advice to British citizens in these regions on a range of issues such as buying property, registration with local authorities, and healthcare in Spain.

But Winterton also made clear that it is important to seek longer term solutions to help those facing difficulties at present, to ensure that nationals living in or considering moving to Spain feel better protected.

‘The agreement is a positive first step and such innovative co-operation is certainly the way forward. Having regional civil servants in our consulates to advise UK citizens will help people to feel reassured and better protected,’ she said after the meeting.

‘But we remain absolutely committed to working with the Spanish Government to find long term solutions to the problems currently faced by those who bought property in Spain in good faith,’ she added.

Bryant said that the British Government is determined to do all it can to help British citizens affected by these issues. ‘I would advise people to be extremely careful with property purchases overseas. Through our Travel Advice we suggest that prospective buyers seek independent legal advice and contact relevant local associations of those affected by property problems,’ he added.

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