From illegal to legal on the Costa del Sol

As many of you undoubtedly know, there are a few illegally built properties in Spain. If any of you saw that show recently “Spain, Paradise lost” you will know that some owners face demolition orders and are hoping and/or fighting that there property will be safe.

And although Costa Blanca has been in the limelight due to the case of the Priors, a British couple who had their house bulldozed, Andalucía has its fair share of illegal properties. Thankfully with less drama though. According to a recent article, there appears to be around 40,000 illegal homes in the province of Malaga, a high figure, but less than what most thought. And of these 40,000 around 20,000 are located in the municipality of Marbella.

So what will the Spanish government do? In a normal situation where Mr and Ms X were building a property or buying a property and tried to cut a few corners, they would get a slap on the wrist, followed by a hefty fine. In the worst case scenario the government would come in a pull down the offending structure.

But what you can do to one offender you cannot do to 40,000! Especially when a vast majority bought in good faith, either not knowing that there were any legal issues or it was hidden due to corruption as seen in Marbella. There is then the separate issue of whether the property was build on land, where the builders/developers simply did not apply for the licences to cut costs, or whether it was build on protected lands.

Thankfully, the Malaga provincial Government, “La Diputación”, together with Marbella and Mijas Town Halls, have confirmed that there are now plans to legalise the 40,000 properties built illegally.

The Mayor of Marbella, Ángeles Muñoz, has stated there will be no demolitions, and with the hopeful approval of the PGOU (urban plan), 18,000 properties in the municipality will be brought into the legal fold. A great piece of news for all those who own the properties. It should be noted however that there still seems to be around 1,000 properties whose fate has not yet been decided.

For those in Mijas, the Mayor, Antonio Sánchez, has confirmed that no more fines will be issued while the new PGOU Urban Plan is being revised.

Furthermore the President of the “Diputación”, Salvador Pendón, has stated that the illegally built property could also be saved in the Axarquía region. He stated that in a majority of cases the province the properties should be legalised as they are not built on land that is protected in any way. However, if the properties were built on protected lands, demolitions are still a definite possibility.

Andrew Belles

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