Owners of illegal homes reject the Junta's 'regularisation' decree

Fecha Publicación: 
30 Abril 2012

Only a handful of the affected owners have requested that their homes be regularised, say campaign groups

Sur in English | Noticia

A month and a half since it came into effect, the Junta de Andalucía’s decree to ‘regularise’ the estimated 50,000 illegal properties in Malaga province is being largely ignored by the affected homeowners.

For instance, in Vélez, where there are more than 3,000 owners of illegal houses, as the properties were built on ‘non-developable’ land, and therefore are ‘illegal’ in the eyes of the Junta, less than 10 have applied for regularisation.

So, why is this?

“The decree simply means that your house could be ‘tolerated’ by the authorities. I don’t want my home ‘tolerated’; I want my home to be made legal,” says one homeowner who did not want to be identified. “Like many, I bought after being told the property had all the required permits and I refuse to pay yet more money to the Junta who have been, in my mind, complicit in the saga. A tolerated house is useless as it’s completely unsellable.”


Maura Hillen, president of AUAN, a foreign residents-run lobby group which campaigns for “illegal homes bought in good faith in the Almanzora Valley area,” says: “The first major theme to emerge since the implementation of the decree is confusion and uncertainty for the homeowners.

“We have yet to hear the voice of a happy homeowner. It is fair to say that many of our members feel that having been defrauded and misled once by their promoter, they are now being held to ransom by the Andalusian government who, through their own incompetence, allowed the problem of illegal houses to proliferate.

“We believe that citizens should not become victims of the maladministration of the State and that the decree further victimises us.”

Speaking to SUR in English after a members’ meeting last weekend, Maura says that in AUAN’s view, each town council appears to have responded differently to the decree’s instructions.

She explains: “So far, only Albox has produced an advance of its town plan and an Inspection Report which shows how they plan to deal with each house. That is to say, the advance shows if a property will be incorporated into an ‘urban settlement’ or a ‘habitat rural’ or remains outside of the town plan but can be tolerated. And then of course the Inspection Reports identify the houses that potentially have problems.

“However, there has been no public information campaign and therefore most householders, both foreign and Spanish, are unaware that they have 30 days from the 2nd of April to study the documents and object to their content, if they need to do so.

“The only common theme within the town halls is that their administrative costs are considerable. On average 600 to 800 euros for a house with a pool. This sum must be added to technicians’ costs for special documentation, the legal fees, and possible infrastructure costs.”

For her part, María del Mar Vázquez, president of the Provincial Association of Irregular Homes (APVI) says that her members “don’t see that the decree solves the problem.” 

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