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Spain modifies law in favor of owners whose properties may be threatened by demolition

The Spanish Government has approved adjustment to the Law, which demands that all owners should obtain compensation prior to their homes being destroyed, – a small victory for those who have been fighting demolition orders on their properties in Spain.

This alternation was postponed by the PSOE and Entesa del Progrés de Catalunya as part of amendments to the Ley Orgánica del Poder Judicial (LOPJ) and has been appropriated by the PP government in response to years of demands from platform groups for it to be implemented. The Senate had finally passed the long awaited amendment on Wednesday 17th June, 2015 and its phrasing states that the judge or court who enforces a demolition order will have to assure that satisfactory guarantees are given, and individuals who purchased their properties will be recompensed accordingly.

The abovementioned amendment is a vital step forward for those troubled by demolition orders, the majority of whom are foreign citizens from Britain and Northern Europe, now residing in Costa del Sol, as well as in other parts of Spain. Nonetheless, although of great significance, this amendment does not solve all of the problems the property owners are facing.

Many owners found themselves in a predicament, particularly in Almeria, where the demolitions have drawn attention from all over the world. Homebuyers found themselves in the nightmare of planning irregularities along the Spanish coast, particularly in Andalucía where thousands of properties face demolition.

In majority of the cases owners acquired in good faith, only to discover that builders had not been given legal authorization and even if the permission for building had been given by the council, the succeeding council would declare it illegal and thus revoke it. In other scenarios, it was often the situation where the newly elected Mayor would give verbal permission but in the end failed to finalize the essential paperwork, opting not to take a notice of the construction in their municipalities.

Compensation to property owners whose property is in danger of demolition

Even though the recently modified law now prevents demolition before the owner has been guaranteed a compensation, the actual process to receive it could be long and daunting for some, as many builders find themselves in bankruptcy and in other cases it is not clear with whom the responsibility lies to pay the compensation.

With this amendment, many owners may be compensated, however, due to the complexity of the matter it is advised that a specialist lawyer is hired to resolve any issues that arise in relation to receiving the corresponding compensation. At Lexland we have professionals in the area of Real Estate and Urban Law who can study your case and offer advice tailored to your needs.