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We are hearing quite a few horror stories about people buying property in Spain moving in, and several years later the authorities declare it illegal and demolish it. And no compensation for the unfortunate purchasers.
It's beginning to sound like a game of Russian roulette to buy a house in Spain. Can anybody reassure us that this is not the case or if not what steps to take to make sure that we don't fall into that trap?
J&A
 

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Most of the illegal properties in Andalucia fell foul of a retrospective law. Nothing you do could have prevented this. Axarquia seems to be the worse area with about 30,000 illegal properties. Best to rent first and work your way through the minefield. You will be more likely to hear local gossip. Having said that there are lots of legal houses for sale...just don't rush:)
 

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Properties built outside of towns or villages are the ones most likely to be a risk of being built on rustic land, which is where the possibility of demolition arises as the land should not have been built on. However, there can still be (less serious) problems with those in towns. People we know are just in the process of buying here, in a large town. Luckily they took our advice and consulted a solicitor (after signing a dodgy contract with the estate agent) because after they'd been advised the house is fully legal, when the solicitor checked it out it turned out that the house, which had been totally reformed, was still registered as a single storey dwelling when it is now three stories. It can be sorted out, by obtaining a certificate of antiquity and getting it re-registered (plus paying the years of backdated additional IBI due as a result of the size of the house having been increased), but the important thing is that this must be done prior to the completion of the sale, and at the vendor's expense.

Never believe anything a vendor or an estate agent tells you, engage your own solicitor and not one recommended by the agent.
 

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I totally agree with Lynn and her friends experience sounds all too familiar to us.
I think the term illegal build is a bit of a red herring, most people automatically think of the bulldozers coming in when that is probably rarer than the type of situation in Lynn's post which is all too common. These things are generally fixable to an extent but it can get overly complicated.
Whilst none of it should fall on the shoulders of the buyer you do need to make sure things are being fixed correctly before it gets to the notary and like Lynn I can only advise getting a good solicitor/abogado especially if you are new to Spain and have little language skills.

Of course it depends on the area and type of house you are after, it may be extremely straightforward with no problems at all. Like it should be.
 

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We are hearing quite a few horror stories about people buying property in Spain moving in, and several years later the authorities declare it illegal and demolish it. And no compensation for the unfortunate purchasers.
It's beginning to sound like a game of Russian roulette to buy a house in Spain. Can anybody reassure us that this is not the case or if not what steps to take to make sure that we don't fall into that trap?
J&A
For every one horror story you hear there will be 10,000 other stories of Brits living happy, trouble free lives in Spain (but the Press and TV don´t tell you about them!). Use a good, independent lawyer (and, if it´s an older house, have a professional survey done) and the risks are very small. Incidentally, cash buyers in the UK have been known to have bought illegally built houses which were later demolished by their local council ... there was an example of that near where I lived in Cornwall. And thousands of other people have had their UK homes compulsorily purchased to make way for roads and retail parks. It happens everywhere!
 

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I don't think there will be many more demolitions. Although if you buy a house you cannot sell or leave to your heirs it's not good either. At one time it didn't matter if you bought a property which said 100 metres and you actually had 200 but now all the i's. Have to be dotted.

I don't think you can compare the UK on the same basis at all. It doesn't make the issue less serious anyway. The only illegals in the UK I have heard of are when the owner has blatantly broke the law. The latest figure I saw in a Spanish paper was an estimated 300,000:eek: as for compulsory purchase in the UK they get full market value. In fact many are plus 10%. Unlike Spain where they get escritura value even if years old. When the toll road was built on the CDS some large villa owners behind Estepona and Marbella received only a quarter of what they were worth.
 

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When the Vera- Cartegena toll road was built the land owners are still waiting to be paid. Hardly likely now it is in bankruptcy protection!
Then here's the new Corvera airport . Oh yes they haven't been compensated either. Same with many on the land required for the AVE line.
 

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We are hearing quite a few horror stories about people buying property in Spain moving in, and several years later the authorities declare it illegal and demolish it. And no compensation for the unfortunate purchasers.
It's beginning to sound like a game of Russian roulette to buy a house in Spain. Can anybody reassure us that this is not the case or if not what steps to take to make sure that we don't fall into that trap?
J&A
It's actually very rare, but the British media like to make a meal of it when it happens. As stated by others, get an independent solicitor (not recommended by anyone connected by the sale). Don't part with any money until he/she has checked it out and made sure (a) it was built legally and (b) there aren't any back taxes due on it.
 

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I think the term 'illegal' is widely used for a number of different situations. Many of the houses we looked at were illegal in terms of resale but would not have been in a position where they were at risk of demolition. Lots were built with agreement from the town hall but not registered on the land registry and the appropriate fees paid and docs issued. The house we ended up buying was not entirely legal , it was on the land registry but did not have all the relevant docs. We had done our homework ,engaged a lawyer and the vendor had to arrange the legalisation prior to us signing ay documentation . This cost them around 6000 euros but they were happy to do this to secure the sale. There is a most definite need for legal advice on buying a property and also lots of good advice on the forum and online to help you be in an informed situation. Its a big move and a big purchase , you need to keep your eyes wide open and your pen in your pocket until you are sure all is legal .
 

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I think the term 'illegal' is widely used for a number of different situations. Many of the houses we looked at were illegal in terms of resale but would not have been in a position where they were at risk of demolition. Lots were built with agreement from the town hall but not registered on the land registry and the appropriate fees paid and docs issued. The house we ended up buying was not entirely legal , it was on the land registry but did not have all the relevant docs. We had done our homework ,engaged a lawyer and the vendor had to arrange the legalisation prior to us signing ay documentation . This cost them around 6000 euros but they were happy to do this to secure the sale. There is a most definite need for legal advice on buying a property and also lots of good advice on the forum and online to help you be in an informed situation. Its a big move and a big purchase , you need to keep your eyes wide open and your pen in your pocket until you are sure all is legal .
Hola

I'd say you were lucky; many people would love their house to be able to be legalised but know that it will never happen. Be aware and check a million times would be sensible advice

Davexf
 

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Hola

I think something has been mixed up

Article 319.3 of the penal code has been amended to allow compensation BEFORE demolition

Article 34 of La Ley Hipotecaria was to change the catastral to say there were outstanding problems when doing a property search - it was thought "Not fit for purpose" as it didn´t give any warnings of outstanding court decisions e.g. demolition

Davexf
 

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Hola

I'd say you were lucky; many people would love their house to be able to be legalised but know that it will never happen. Be aware and check a million times would be sensible advice

Davexf
It took us 2 years to find the right house with many illegal properties along the way , some being sold by the bank , didn't think they would be allowed to sell illegal properties but apparently so ! We did check and recheck so are happy we have all the required docs , hard work but worth it for peace of mind, I guess it depends on the region if you can progress with this but it sure is a minefield !
 
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