SOHA has spent years lobbying the Junta de Andalucía to make homes bought in good faith “Legal Fuera de Ordinación” rather than “Asimilado Fuera de Ordinación” (AFO). The politicians involved have made encouraging comments, but no progress.
Now at their AGM a proposal was put to the members, to challenge the right of the Ayuntamiento to make judgements over the legality of the homes which they were originally responsible for allowing to be illegally built. (This right is inscribed in the AFO legislation).
In other words, while the Ayuntamiento committed the crime, how can they be the judge over it?
The idea was explained by Spanish lawyer Antonia Barbara Garcia. It was then put to the vote, and passed by the members with a clear majority.
It is thought that it would cost at least 12.000€ + VAT to present the case in the Commission of Cultural Social and Economic Rights of the United Nations, and take about two years to come into practical effect, although cautionary actions could be taken at an early stage.
SOHA does not currently have sufficient funds for this, and will have to start a serious fund raising campaign to drive the initiative.
Report from the meeting in Diario Sur in Spanish can be found here.
English translation of the report below,
The Association of Save Our Homes Axarquia (SOHA), which brings together more than 400 foreign and Spanish citizens with illegal housing in the region, are not giving up in their fight for full legalization of their properties.
The group, which has distinguished itself as one that is more active in Andalusia for legalising homes on rural ground, assumes that buyers acted in good faith and that the Ayuntamiento failed to comply with the rules by granting irregular building permits.
Also, they have never agreed with the retroactive application of certain rules such as the Spacial Plan of the Axarquía (Potax) or Decree 2/2012 itself, which regulates the existing buildings and settlements on non urbanisable land in Andalusia . To SOHA, the reatroactivity of these rules is unconstitutional.
In an attempt to defend the legality of their homes, the group decided last night at its annual meeting, held in La Viñuela, to seek international support and bring the matter to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of the United Nations (CESCRUN), a procedure for which they have engaged law attorneys in Malaga.
Those affected consider that the Ayuntamiento should not be the body responsible for deciding which homes can be legalized, and which can only aspire to be Asimilado Fuera de Ordinación (AFO), (as established by Decree 2/2012), while the Ayuntamiento was the cause of the problem, especially in cases of houses built with licences that have later turned out to be invalid.
They demand total and absolute legalization of their property and the right to adequate housing.
SOHA’s intention is that the CESCRUN mediate a solution to the problem, or possibly amend regulations to recognize homes as legal housing. They also contemplate claiming their right to adequate housing, under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Another major objective of SOHA is to create the status “Legal Fuera de Ordinación” (LFO) for owners who acquired or built their homes in good faith, instead of (AFO ), which in no way legalises homes . According to the President of SOHA , Philip Smalley, the association’s lawyers have already made this proposal to the Urban Planning Board.
For those affected , there is a big difference between being Asimilado Fuera de Ordinación and Legal Fuera de Ordinación , not least because AFO carries with it a significant devaluation of their homes.