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

2017 AGM report

Save Our Homes in Axarquia held its Annual General Meeting on Saturday 26th January at La Vinuela.  More than 100 members attended, mostly ex-patriate residents of Axarquia.
The President, Phil Smalley said that this year’s principal achievement had been to bring about the amendment to Article 185.2 of the LOUA (Andalusia’s Planning Law).  This change now permits home owners on parcelled land to apply for the designation of AFO (Asimilado Fuera de Ordinación), to avoid  the threat of demolition of their home.
He informed the meeting that SOHA will write directly to Jose Fiscal, Planning Officer to seek an urgent meeting to decide how the Junta is going to solve the problem of licences legally granted by local authorities, but later annulled by tribunals.
The Mayor of Alcaucin, and SOHA’s Spokesman Mario Blancke welcomed the support and confidence of the members at the AGM.  He explained the details of the amendment to the LOUA, calling it “a triumph for everyone”.  He went on to say that there was still a lot to be done, but that SOHA now commands respect in the Andalusian Parliament and the National Congress.
The meeting was attended by Irene Rivera, Malaga’s Deputy in the National Congress.
Irene emphasised that SOHA’s efforts were “for justice”, not only for ex-patriates, but also for a large number of Spanish who are facing the same problems.
SOHA was founded in 2008.  SOHA is a non-profit making association of mostly foreign residents, whose aim is to uphold the rights of residents of Axarquia, according to Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights, and to help those who bought their homes in good faith to protect their homes through legal action, and keep their legal title to their homes.
Images from the evening here.
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Salvemos Nuestras Casas Axarquía (SOHA) celebra su Asamblea General con asistencia de más de 100 socios
La Asamblea contó con la presencia de la Diputada por Málaga de Ciudadanos en el Congreso de los Diputados, Irene Rivera, que elogió la labor que está llevando a cabo la Asociación y destacó que esta lucha es “un tema de justicia”, no sólo de los extranjeros, sino de muchos españoles que están en su misma situación.
La Viñuela, 26 de enero de 2017. La Asociación SOHA (Save Our Homes Axarquía) celebró su Asamblea General con la presencia de más de 100 socios, la mayoría extranjeros residentes en la comarca de la Axarquía.
Su presidente, Philip Smalley, destacó el principal logro de 2016 que fue ver aprobada la enmienda al artículo 185.2 de la Ley de Ordenación Urbanística de Andalucía (LOUA) por el Parlamento de Andalucía. Esta enmienda permite a los propietarios de casas construidas sobre terrenos no urbanizables que habían sido parcelados para fines de construcción, pudieran solicitar el estado de Asimilado como Fuera de Ordenación (AFO) y así se elimina la amenaza de demolición.
Smalley avanzó que escribirán directamente al Consejero responsable de la planificación, José Fiscal, para que busque una reunión urgente para discutir cómo la Junta va a resolver el problema de las licencias legalmente otorgadas por las autoridades locales, pero posteriormente anuladas por los tribunales.
Por su parte Mario Blancke, portavoz de la Junta Directiva y alcalde Alcaucín, agradeció el apoyo de todos los socios y la confianza depositada, e indicó que “este triunfo es un triunfo de todos”. Blancke explicó a los presentes los pormenores de la enmienda aprobada, así como las demandas que todavía quedan pendientes, para lo que, añadió, están manteniendo diferentes reuniones tanto a nivel nacional, en el Congreso de los Diputados, como a nivel autonómico, con los representantes en el Parlamento Andaluz.
La Asamblea contó con la presencia de Irene Rivera, Diputada por Málaga de Ciudadanos en el Congreso, que elogió la labor que está llevando a cabo la Asociación y el tesón que están demostrando tanto su Junta Directiva como sus asociados, y destacó que esta lucha es “un tema de justicia”, no sólo de los extranjeros, sino de muchos españoles que están en su misma situación.

SOHA es una asociación sin ánimo de lucro formada por residentes, principalmente extranjeros, cuya misión es promover la protección de los derechos de los residentes en la Axarquía de acuerdo al artículo 8 de la Convención Europea de Derechos Humanos, ayudar a otros residentes a proteger sus casas por medio de acción legal u otras acciones, y realizar campañas activas para promover la amnistía a las casas de los propietarios de casas de la Axarquía.
SOHA se estableció en 2008 con el único propósito de salvar sus casas a través de medios pacíficos.