Marbella issues licences to regularise homes

There is light at the end of the tunnel for some of the 16,500 properties within the Marbella municipality that were built but never got their first occupancy licences. Although bought in good faith, often with mortgages, owners have waited years to see if their homes would ever become regularised. Luckily for some, a few property developers are already working with the town hall to reach solutions for the many thousands of homes that were built without the relevant paperwork. The first to receive their licences are almost 300 owners with the La Reserva de Marbella in Las Chapas, east of Marbella. Some of the blocks in the development were without licences, leading to problems in recent years with utility providers, mortgages lenders and other institutions.

Gisele Van Meer; head of property transfers at local law firms De Cotta, McKenna & Santafé, which has an office within a few kilometres of the development, is pleased to see these steps being taken, believing it goes a long way towards restoring confidence in Marbella, making people more willing to consider investing here; “The planning situation has improved and steps are being taken to legalise properties affected by planning irregularities, which should give a boost to the recovering property transfers market and confidence to prospective buyers in what has been one of Spain’s property hotspots for many years.”

However, success in gaining licences will leave a bitter after taste for some. Marbella’s town hall is seeking compensation from developers that flouted existing planning laws, but where developers bankrupts, there are fears that costs will fall upon residents.

In addition, with the legalisation of property comes the obligation to pay local property taxes, and these could in theory be back-dated to the first date of occupation, giving some a hefty bill.

The town hall says that compensation from developers and urbanisations can also be in terms of donating land for public use and maintaining areas as public green spaces and parks

Source: Sur in English June 11th 2010

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