October 2015

First Success for New Law

The five family homes belonging to English pensioners in Oria, Almeria, which were threatened with demolition, will not be demolished; The Public Prosecutor decided to waive the demolition order, mindful of the recent law regarding buildings owned by buyers who bought in good faith.
This change to the Public Ministry’s charges , and the application of undue extended delay to reduce the terms of imprisonment and fines demanded for the promotors and builders for contravening planning laws, has made an out of court settlement possible. This was ratified in Almeria’s Criminal Court 2.

Gerardo Vázquez, legal advisor to AUAN (the Almerian equivalent of SOHA), and lawyer representing two of the accused, (an octogenarian British couple), stressed the importance of the decision, and hopes that it will be followed in similar cases awaiting judgement, so that step by step the problem could be resolved to the benefit of everyone.

In the same vein, Julián Cazorla, the lawyer for another of the accused, also stated that the solution found in this case has opened the door for future cases. He further said that above all, the result relieved his foreign clients, who in reality were the victims, from their anxiety.

So at last there is a recognition that owners, who bought their houses in good faith and then are threatened with having their homes demolished, are the victims of a heartless bureaucratic injustice.

It is also clear that we would still be waiting for a solution to this problem if it were not for the formation and unceasing hard work of the associations like SOHA and AUAN. With the help of lawyers like Gerardo Vázquez, they lobbied and demonstrated to make the changes to Spanish law in both the Criminal Code and the Civil Code. The Oria settlement would surely never have been made without those changes to the law. Anyone who has hired a lawyer to solve these problems will realise that this progress has not come cheaply. Your 25€ annual fee per household is now looking like incredible value!

In essence the change to the law gives a Judge the right to insist (when ordering a demolition of a house which was bought in good faith) that compensation is paid to owners before the demolition.
The Priors, whose house was demolished 7 years ago, are still waiting for the compensation to which an EU court ruled that they were entitled. Under the present law it is hoped that owners who bought in good faith will never again suffer the Prior’s appalling injustice.

Photos at soha.es

Alcaucin Plans Viewed

SOHA made the plans available to the public at La Era Restaurant, Puente Don Manuel, on Thursday.
170 interested people made their way to view the plans, and get advice from the SOHA Committee members who gave their time to help.

This event seems to have provided a good opportunity for Alcaucin residents to find out what is planned for their homes, and for SOHA to explain their aims difficulties and successes.

At and after the event, 6 Households became members of SOHA
Sincere thanks to the 6 new member households. We need your support, and we are sure you will be getting good value.
Sincere thanks, as well for the 45€ donated to the fighting fund by generous residents at the event.

Photos at soha.es

Next on the SOHA Agenda

SOHA has been invited by Ciudadanos, (the political party with whom we stand in elections) to attend the meeting at Sevilla, where the Junta de Andalucia will discuss proposed changes to the LOUA. (The LOUA is the planning law for Andalucia)
AUAN, our Almerian equivalent group, have also been invited to attend, by PSOE (the political party with whom they stand in elections).
Phil Smalley, Mario Blanke and Fernando Montero will be attending on behalf of SOHA, and Maura Hillan will be be among those attending for AUAN.
The change being debated covers the section of the law governing non urbanisable land parcelled up for construction.
The change will allow EXISTING constructions more than six years old to be declared Asimilado como Fuera de Ordenacion
The issue is rather complex, so the full explanation will be given in the next Monthly update, hopefully after the changes have been made.

Housing:
Found in BoT 130 signs of revival

‘As British property investors resume their love affair with Spain, it’s the Costa Blanca which is proving to be top choice, accounting for 27 per cent of Spanish mortgage enquiries received at Conti over the last three years. And Spain continues to be top of the list for British buyers in general, accounting for just under half (45 per cent) of enquiries received by the company in the second quarter of 2015…’. From The Economic Voice.

Insuring “illegal” Houses

This question has been raised by SOHA members in an email to Maria, the Membership Secretary. This is an excerpt from the email;

“… on the subject of …. Building and Contents Insurance on a property that has, or is likely to have, it’s building licence revoked, and therefore be deemed illegal.
Has anyone determined whether an insurance company would pay up on the event of an insurable claim such as a fire? As far as we understand it, insurers tend not to ask the question as to the legality of a house on the proposal form, but we assume that it would probably be an issue in the event of a claim. Would…….. the membership have any experience of this specific situation, and if so, what was the outcome?”

If any members have had experience of such claims, would they be kind enough to relate them to us, so that in next month’s News Update we can give some helpful information on this important topic.
Email Michael Stevenson <stevenson2ml@gmail.com> with your answers and comments, please.

Recent Posts

SOHA AGM report and more

SOHA celebrated the 10th anniversary of its formation at the 2018 AGM last week. The meeting was well attended by members and supporters as well as the Mayor of La Viñuela, José Juan Jiménez López.

Ten years seems a long time to be fighting such injustices, but we have achieved a lot during these years. Many changes in our committee over the years with each person giving their time and input as a volunteer. This of course is still the case and we would remind you all that we always welcome new committee members. Just contact us if you wish to join and help.

In this past decade we have achieved significant changes in national and Andalusian legislation that have almost made the regularization of many homes possible which without action could have received demolition orders. We are still working to protect all properties for our members and supporters and there is still a lot to do.

Philip Smalley expressed his satisfaction with the achievements reached at the AGM although he emphasized that they have been years of “hard work”. Among these, are the important modifications in the Civil Code and the Penal Code to guarantee the compensation prior to the demolition and the amendment to the Law of Urban Planning of Andalusia (LOUA) with respect to the land subdivisions in non-urbanizable land, “results of the that has meant that many non-members of the association, Spanish and foreign, have benefited to be able to sell their properties. ”

One of the major changes that have been achieved, is the reform of article 1964 of the Civil Code of October 2015 in which it was indicated that the license declared null by the courts, but without a definite deadline to demolish, prescribed the 15 years. The change means that now, those personal actions that do not have a special term prescribe after five years. Therefore, after October 2020, administrations will no longer be able to demand demolition for nullity judgments prior to 2015. “After that period, the owner will be able to benefit from the Out-of-Order Assimilate”.

SOHA will continue the work on the behalf of the members of the association and help where possible.

Join SOHA and support your friends and neighbors. Click this link to join or contribute.

Contact us if you can help or if you have questions or require assistance. Click this link to contact us.

Some images from the meeting can be found here.

Report from Axarquiaplus here.

Here is a report from Malaga Hoy in Spanish. Read more.