Archive Press 2015

October - December 2015

MEASURES TO PROTECT PURCHASERS IN GOOD FAITH BECOME PART OF SPAIN'S ELECTION CAMPAIGN

22nd November 2015

As the political parties finalize their election manifestos in the run up to the Spanish National Elections on 20th December, the homeowners campaign group AUAN welcomes the news that the Socialist Party (PSOE) has made a commitment to deliver more solutions to protect purchasers in good faith so that they can rely on the accuracy of the information recorded at the Land Registry when making the biggest investment of their lives – buying a home.

The association wants it to be made mandatory for the Land Registry to update its records when planning permission for a property has been revoked.

According to AUANs president, Maura Hillen, ‘It is currently possible to purchase a property with planning issues in spite of a clean bill of health from the Land Registry. This creates an environment of legal uncertainty for prospective purchasers that homebuyers and the property market in general could well do without’.

‘We are grateful that the PSOE have taken our views on board and have incorporated them into their election manifesto and we are calling on all other political parties to do the same’ she concluded.

 

A LIFELINE FOR THE RESIDENTS OF MARBELLA?

10th November 2015

After Supreme Court annuls the Marbella town plan which aimed to legalise 16,500 properties constructed illegally during the years 1991-2006.

According to the association that campaigns against urban abuses in Andalucía, AUAN, a lifeline now exists for third parties in good faith who purchased houses in Marbella with planning permission that now appear to be in doubt as a result of the recent annulment of the Marbella town plan (PGOU).

Maura Hillen, president of AUAN said ‘Thanks to the efforts of various association in diverse parts of Spain, including our association, and an initiative of the PSOE in the Spanish Senate, latterly approved by the PP and other political parties, the citizens of Marbella have been given a lifeline that they may not know about. That is article 108.3 of the law regulating administrative court proceedings, which came into force on the 1st of October 2015 that says that ‘the Judge or tribunal when, in addition to declaring the construction of a property to be illegal, orders its demolition ....., must as a prior condition to demolition, and except in cases of immediate danger, provide sufficient guarantees to pay compensation due to third parties of good faith’. Given this, we suggest that those affected consult with their lawyers’.

The lawyer, Gerardo Vazquez, spokesperson for AUAN, who worked on the initiative which resulted in the reform of article 108.3 on behalf of various associations, said ‘obviously the legislative reform, which has certain retroactive effects, does not say that the affected houses are legal, but it gives a bit of comfort to those affected because it ensures that you cannot demolish the house of a third party in good faith without a prior guarantee of fair compensation. It is evident that trying to resolve these problems via planning is a long, torturous and, as we have seen, uncertain road. For this reason we believe that citizens who have made the most important investment of their lives, such as the purchase of a house, must be protected via basic changes to state laws such as article 108.3 which is in force throughout all of Spain’.

He added ‘We have been asking for other changes for some time now. For example, according to a ruling of the Supreme Court, an ordinary citizen cannot rely on the Property Registry when it comes to planning matters. This is incomprehensible for many because it’s the Property Register isn’t it? Unfortunately, this means that you can have proceedings against the property relating to planning infractions that are not inscribed in the Property Register. Therefore a person can buy a house that appears to be fine according to the Property Register and later finds out that they have a house with a demolition order. This means that there are thousands of cases where innocent parties have bought a house that is apparently free of charges, relying on the information in the Register, only to find out afterwards that the house is going to be demolished’.

The lawyer gave an example, saying ‘Look at the case of Bueu in Pontevedra, for example, where it was declared after more than two decades that the building did not comply with the regulations due to a discrepancy of mere centimetres in its façade. The residents bought their flats in the building without knowing anything because the problem was not inscribed in the Property Register. The Courts decreed that the façade be demolished which left them facing the demolition of their homes without compensation. The residents were due to be evicted a few weeks ago but thanks to article 108.3, the proceeding has been suspended. We hope that similar cases will be avoided in the future’.

Asked about what the associations were looking for he said ‘we think that these types of proceedings should be recorded in the Property Register, precisely to reduce the existence of third parties in good faith who find themselves in this situation. In reality it is currently possible to inscribe these court proceedings but this rarely happens. We want inscription to be mandatory. This requires a change in article 65 of the National Land Law and to article 34 of the Mortgage Law. We believe that these combined changes will result in restoring confidence in the Administration, as well as transparency and security in property transactions. In addition, it will restore the image of Spain as a country where one can invest without worry, promoting foreign investment in property, economic activity and social progress’.

For her part, Maura Hillen added ‘We are publicly calling on the national political parties to make these changes. We appear to have a certain amount of support from the PSOE and we ask other parties to get behind these changes as happened with the change to article 108.3 of the law regulating Administrative Cases and the similar reform to article 319.3 of the Penal Code, because these are issues of basic social interest.

 

 

UN SALVAVIDAS PARA LOS CIUDADANOS DE MARBELLA?

10 noviembre 2015

Según la asociación que lucha contra abusos urbanísticos en Andalucía conocida como AUAN, existe un salvavidas para los ciudadanos terceros de buena fe que han comprado viviendas en Marbella bajo licencias que parecen estar nuevamente en entredicho.

Dice Maura Hillen, presidenta de AUAN: “gracias al esfuerzo de varias asociaciones en diversas partes de España, incluyendo la nuestra, y una iniciativa del PSOE en el Senado español, apoyada posteriormente por el PP así como por otros partidos políticos, los ciudadanos de Marbella tienen un salvavidas a mano que quizás no conozcan. Este es el artículo 108.3 de la Ley Reguladora de la Jurisdicción Contencioso-administrativa, que entró en vigor el 1 de octubre de 2015 que dice que “El Juez o Tribunal, en los casos en que, además de declarar contraria a la normativa la construcción de un inmueble, ordene motivadamente la demolición del mismo y la reposición a su estado originario de la realidad física alterada, exigirá, como condición previa a la demolición, y salvo que una situación de peligro inminente lo impidiera, la prestación de garantías suficientes para responder del pago de las indemnizaciones debidas a terceros de buena fe”. Ante esto sugerimos que los afectados consulten con sus abogados.”


El abogado Gerardo Vázquez, portavoz de AUAN, que ha trabajado en la iniciativa que dio lugar al artículo 108.3, a petición de diversas asociaciones, dice “obviamente la reforma legislativa, que tiene ciertos efectos retroactivos, no dice que las viviendas afectadas son legales, pero sí puede dar cierta tranquilidad a los afectados pues requiere que no se demuela una vivienda de un tercero de buena fe sin antes garantizarle una justa indemnización. Es evidente que tratar de resolver estos problemas por planeamiento es un camino largo, tortuoso y, como se ha visto, incierto. Por ello pensamos que a los ciudadanos que hacen la inversión más importante de su vida como es la compra de su vivienda, hay que protegerlos mediante cambios legislativos básicos estatales, como el del 108.3, que tengan efecto en todo el territorio español.”

 

Añade Gerardo Vazquez, “Por ello, llevamos pidiendo ya hace algún tiempo otros cambios. Por ejemplo, según la doctrina de la Sala de lo contencioso-administrativo del Tribunal Supremo, un ciudadano de a pie no puede fiarse de lo que dice el Registro de la Propiedad en asuntos urbanísticos. Es evidente que ello resulta incomprensible para muchos, pues para eso está el Registro de la Propiedad ¿no? Para que te puedas fiar de lo que dice en asuntos de la propiedad inmobiliaria. Es decir, lamentablemente, puede existir perfectamente un procedimiento judicial encaminado a la restauración de la legalidad urbanística contra una casa sin que este procedimiento esté inscrito en el Registro de la Propiedad. Un ciudadano compra la casa, pues según el Registro aparentemente todo está bien, y después se encuentra con que ha comprado una casa con una orden de demolición. Esto significa que existen miles de casos donde ciudadanos inocentes han comprado una casa aparentemente libre de cargas, fiándose de lo que dice el Registro, enterándose después de que la casa va a ser demolida.”

El Abogado da un ejemplo, diciendo “Véase el caso de Bueu en Pontevedra, por ejemplo, donde se declaró hace más de dos décadas que un edificio incumple la normativa por unos meros centímetros que sobresale su fachada. Los ciudadanos compraron sus pisos en el edificio sin saber nada, pues el procedimiento no estaba inscrito en el Registro de la propiedad. Los Tribunales piden que se quite la fachada, dejando las viviendas a la intemperie, sin que aun se haya garantizado una adecuada indemnización. Los vecinos iban a ser desalojados hace unas dos semanas, pero gracias al artículo 108.3 se ha suspendido el desalojo. Queremos que estos casos se eviten en el futuro”

Preguntado a Gerardo Vázquez sobre qué medidas concretas piden las asociaciones, dice “pues consideramos que esta clase de procedimientos judiciales deben estar obligatoriamente inscritos en el Registro de la Propiedad, precisamente para reducir la existencia de terceros de buena fe que pudieran encontrarse en esta situación. Actualmente es verdad que los procedimientos se pueden inscribir, pero se hace en pocas ocasiones y debe ser una cuestión básica de obligado cumplimiento. Ello requiere un cambio en el artículo 65 del Texto refundido de la ley de suelo estatal. Este cambio se debe reforzar asimismo con la garantía de fehaciencia del Registro de la Propiedad, cambiando la redacción del artículo 34 de la Ley Hipotecaria. Todo ello redundará en la tranquilidad de los ciudadanos, la confianza legítima de estos en la Administración, así como la transparencia y la seguridad en el tráfico jurídico inmobiliario. Asimismo, repercutirá en la imagen de España como un estado donde se puede invertir con cierta tranquilidad, incentivando las inversiones extranjeras en bienes inmuebles, la actividad económica y el progreso social. “

Por su parte, Maura Hillen añade “estos son cambios que hemos pedido públicamente a los partidos políticos nacionales y son propuestas que parece tienen cierto acogimiento por parte del PSOE y pedimos que se unan otros partidos a estas iniciativas tal y como ocurrió con el cambio del art. 108.3 de la ley reguladora de la jurisdicción contencioso-administrativa y la reforma análoga del 319.3 del Código Penal, por ser cuestiones básicas de interés social.

AUAN WISHES TO EXPRESS ITS SUPPORT FOR THE 19 FAMILIES FROM BUEU, PONTEVEDRA, THIRD PARTIES IN GOOD FAITH

20th October 2015

The association AUAN, Abusos Urbanisticos Almanzora No, from Almeria, wishes to express its support for the 19 innocent families, third parties in good faith, from the town of Bueu in Pontevedra, who are living in fear of the demolition of their houses because of a judgement against the Town Hall of Bueu. A judgement which orders the demolition of the façade of their building and will put them unto the street after 25 years because of an excess of 90cm in the façade in contravention of the planning regulations.

How can you throw families into the street when they have not committed a crime, punishing the victims in place of the people who committed the infraction?

We hope that the latest legislative changes will be applied, that is article 108 of the LRJPAC which states ‘The Judge or Tribunal, in situations where, in addition to declaring the construction of a building to be contrary to the regulations, orders the demolition of same and the restoration of the original state, will demand, as a prior condition of the demolition, and except in cases of imminent danger, the provision of sufficient guarantees to deal with compensation to third parties in good faith’.

Therefore, on behalf of our Association, in addition to showing support and solidarity with all those affected, we ask that the city of Bueu to take responsibility, and work , as is their duty, so that the families receive fair solutions that they deserve.

 

AUAN QUIERE MANIFESTAR SU APOYO A LAS 19 FAMILIAS DE BUEU, PONTEVEDRA, TERCEROS DE BUENA FE

20 octubre 2015

La Asociación AUAN, Abusos Urbanísticos Almanzora No, de Almería quiere manifestar su apoyo a las 19 familias inocentes, terceros de buena fe, del pueblo de Bueu en Pontevedra, que están sufriendo el miedo al derribo de sus viviendas a causa de una sentencia firme contra el Ayuntamiento de Bueu. Una sentencia que obliga a demoler la fachada y les deja en la calle tras 25 años debido a una franja de 90 centímetros de la fachada que incumple la normativa urbanística.

¿Cómo se puede dejar en la calle a las familias que no han cometido delito alguno castigando a las víctimas en lugar de aquellos que han cometido la infracción?

Esperamos que las últimas modificaciones legislativas se apliquen en sus justos términos, así el artículo 108 LRJPAC en su apartado tercero dispone: “El Juez o Tribunal, en los casos en que, además de declarar contraria a la normativa la construcción de un inmueble, ordene motivadamente la demolición del mismo y la reposición a su estado originario de la realidad física alterada, exigirá, como condición previa a la demolición, y salvo que una situación de peligro inminente lo impidiera, la prestación de garantías suficientes para responder del pago de las indemnizaciones debidas a terceros de buena fe.”

Por todo ello, desde nuestra Asociación, además de mostrar el apoyo y solidaridad con todos los afectados, pedimos que el Ayuntamiento de Bueu que asuma su responsabilidad, y trabaje, con es su obligación, para que las familias reciban la solución justa que merecen.

July - September 2015

AUAN IS PLEASE WITH ANNOUNCEMENT OF CHANGE TO THE LOUA

July 21st 2015

Gerardo Vazquez, spokesperson for AUAN stated ‘I sincerely believe that those affected by planning irregularities within the associations AUAN and SOHA, and also CALU, will be pleased with the announcement of the change in the LOUA which the Governing Council of the Junta de Andalusia has presented to Parliament. I believe that this modification planned for the LOUA will permit a solution for many thousands of houses that were irregularly constructed in Andalusia, many of which were acquired in good faith by innocent people’. Sr. Vazquez added, ‘It is said that the number of houses that will benefit is around 25,000 although the total number of irregular houses in existence is around 300,000. However, we are still talking about 25,000 houses with an average of 3 occupants, so we are talking about, say, 75,000 people, who today can be calmer and more hopeful for the future. We think that this is the way forward, to resolve the everyday problems of the people, to put forward practical solutions. We can only be grateful for this step forward, which is another big step towards a solution for the grave problem of illegal houses and we hope to continue working and moving forward’.

Asked about the environmental impact of these regularizations, Sr. Vazquez clarified ‘I believe that once this law is approved, the environmental impact of these houses will be reduced by the procedure required to grant an AFO certificate. It is not good for the environment or the inhabitants of these houses if they are allowed to remain in a legal limbo. Everyone knows that it is impossible to demolish the three hundred thousand irregular houses that are estimated to exist in Andalusia, so you must try to find solutions for them, even if it is little by little’.

Maura Hillen, president of AUAN was in agreement with the words of Sr. Vazquez and added ‘the truth is that those affected are victims of these planning problems, in the same way that the environment is a victim, and AUAN is asking all the political parties to take practical and real measures to avoid a recurrence of this problem in the future. Irregular houses must be stopped from the laying of the first brick because once they are finished, little can be done. I believe that this is an important battle that we must fight so that never again can we have the same magnitude of illegal construction’.

As for the future, Maura Hillen stated that ‘this change has yet to take effect because it must first go through its procedure in the Parliament of Andalusia, including the eventual vote on its text. However we have already asked all the parliamentary groups in person to approve this initiative, in consideration of the common good, and we have the sincere hope that they will do this, in the same way that the Spanish Senate did with other recent measures’

 

April - June 2015

LATEST INITIATIVE OF SPANISH HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATIONS  APPROVED BY SPANISH SENATE

25th June 2015

Joy for families affected by demolition orders. A compromise text presented by the Partido Popular to an amendment proposed by the Socialist Group was agreed.

COMPROMISE TEXT APPROVED TO ARTICLE 108.3 OF THE LRJCA ( CONTENTIOUS ADMINISTRATIVE LAW)
‘Compensation prior to demolition’. (See attached text)
VOTES IN FAVOUR 220
VOTES AGAINST 1 (by mistake) 
ABSTENTIONS 1

Some 100 people came from Cantabria, Almería, Málaga and Valencia to the Senate on June 24th to call for justice.

 

Representatives of the groups composed of Maura Hillen and Gerardo Vazquez from AUAN , Phil Smalley, Kath Williams and Fernando Montero from SOHA and Ciriaco García, José Manuel Olaiz, y Antonio Vilela from AMA, met with the parliamentary groups accompanied by Helen and Len Prior, the British couple, whose house in Vera, Andalusia was demolished in 2008 without prior compensation.

When this initiative becomes law, the houses of innocent families cannot be demolished without prior compensation when planning permission is revoked, as happened to the Priors for whom this change, sadly, comes too late.

This change is a very important step to bring justice to thousands of families and the associations express their grateful thanks to the Senate for this great expression of democracy in action.

This new amendment is in addition to the one that took place in March of this year when ,via the same procedure, the Senate approved another initiative of the associations to modify the Criminal Code to ensure prior compensation to purchasers in good faith whose properties were at risk via the criminal courts.

éXITO DE LA INICIATIVA AFECTADOS PROBLEMAS URBANíSTICOS QUE SE APRUEBE POR UNANIMIDAD SENADO

25 junio 2015

Enorme alegría entre las familias afectadas por las sentencias de derribo.

 

Un texto transaccional presentado por el Grupo Parlamentario Popular a la enmienda de Grupo Parlamentario Socialista ha conseguido el consenso.

APROBADA EL TEXTO TRANSACCIONAL 
QUE INTRODUCE EN LA LRJCA EL ARTíCULO 108.3
Por la cual "hay que indemnizar antes de derribar"
VOTOS A FAVOR 220
VOTOS EN CONTRA 1 error al emitir el voto 
ABSTENCIONES 1

Unas 100 personas desplazadas desde Cantabria, Almería, Málaga y Valencia han estado en el Senado pidiendo que se haga justicia.

 

Una representación de los mismos compuesta por Ciriaco García, José Manuel Olaiz, y Antonio Vilela por AMA, Maura Hillen y Gerardo Vazquez por AUAN y Phil Smalley, Kath Williams Fernando Montero por SOHA se han entrevistado con los Grupos Parlamentarios del Senado acompañado por Helen y Len Proir, la pareja británica cuya casa en Vera, Andalucía fue demolido en 2008 sin indemnización previa.

A partir de la entrada en vigor de esta iniciativa, no se podrá derribar las viviendas de familias inocentes sin previamente indemnizarles como ocurrió en el caso de los Prior para quien este cambio llega demasiado tarde.

Este texto con su introducción en el artículo 108.3 de la LRCA que se adjunta es un muy importante logro para hacer justicia con miles de familias

Los afectados queremos manifestar el gran trabajo que se ha realizado en el Senado, y que desde nuestro punto de vista da mucho sentido a la cámara de segunda lectura.

Esta aprobación se suma a la ocurrida en marzo en la que, siguiendo el mismo procedimiento, salió adelante en el Senado una modificación del Código Penal para asegurar la indemnización a los compradores de buena fe aunque, en aquel caso, afectaba a las viviendas en riesgo por la vía penal.

 

January - March 2015

LEGAL REFORM BRINGS HOPE TO OWNERS OF ILLEGAL SPANISH HOMES

15th March 2015

British homeowners association, AUAN, welcomes the change to the Spanish Criminal Code which says that the homeowner is to be guaranteed compensation prior to the demolition of a property purchased in good faith.

 

BREAKTHROUGH FOR HOMEOWNER'S ASSOCIATIONS
The change, approved by the upper house of the Spanish Parliament (the Senate) on the 11th of March, represents the first breakthrough for associations such as AUAN and SOHA who have struggled for nearly ten years to bring hope to their members, mostly British retirees, who were the innocent purchasers of illegally constructed properties in Spain.

 

To date four British owned properties have been demolished as a result of Criminal Cases, brought against promoters for illegal construction without planning permission, leaving the purchasers in good faith with no money and no house because the criminal court was, until now, not obliged to guarantee them prior compensation.

Maura Hillen, AUAN’s president said ‘The most significant aspect of this change is that the state has recognised and acknowledged the existence of an injustice that must be put to right’.

 

The amendment, proposed to the Senate by the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) at the request of AUAN and SOHA, was initially rejected by the majority party in Spain, the Partido Popular (PP). However in an about face on the day of the Senate vote, the PP offered an alternative wording which was agreed in a cross party pact at the end of a day of intensive negotiations conducted in the corridors of the Senate Building.

 

The lawyer, Gerardo Vazquez, who represented the associations in the negotiations, indicated that the final text, which requires more detailed analysis, represents ‘an improvement for the victims’ although it does not have the ‘clarity’ of the original proposal. ‘It offers protection to purchasers in good faith but it is not all that we wished for’.

 

MORE TO BE DONE
Mrs Hillen said ‘We are of course very pleased with the outcome but this is not the end of the road. There is much more that can be done. We would like to see the same protection offered by the Administrative Courts when a planning permission is revoked. This also requires a change to state law, the Ley de Suelo.

 

And, in Andalucía we currently have a bill going through the regional parliament which, if passed, will amend the planning laws of Andalucia (LOUA) and allow an estimated 25,000 homeowners to regularise the situation of their home. We would like to see this become law before the municipal elections in May’.

 

DAVID VS. GOLIATH
She continued, ‘We celebrate this success and hope for more. This change is a victory for David vs. Goliath, for the members of the associations who stood together and fought for justice and we are grateful to the Socialist Party for taking the bull by the horns and to the members of the Senate who responded to our appeal to vote with their conscience and who negotiated a pact to approve this change by an overwhelming majority (233 votes in favour, 0 against and 1 abstention). We came to the Senate without the support of the majority party and fully expected to go down fighting. Instead we won the day at the 11th hour.’

 

SOCIAL JUSTICE
Senator Fuensanta Coves (PSOE), who proposed the amendment to the Senate commented ‘Social justice is the best way to define what we have achieved and satisfaction is the best way to define what we feel having changed a law. I will not say that it was easy but it was certainly a team effort: a well organised group of citizens, a political party who recognised their demands and echoed those demands to the Senate of Spain, and a Government that has finally recognised the drama that many citizens are living with. In these times of such distrust in politics, examples such as this show the need for representatives of the citizens’.

 

Senate is due to vote tomorrow 11th March on amendment 677 to the Penal Code

10th March 2015

As we understand it the vote on the amendment proposed by the PSOE, to avoid the demolition of houses belonging to innocents without compensation, has been brought forward.  It is anticipated that the vote will now take place tomorrow, 11 March, at midday.

 

We appeal one more time to the concience of the members of all political parties, to support this amendment, because we sincerely belive that this will do good for the people and society as a whole. We ask that they please set aside political considerations and that they help those affected.

 

Who wants to see more people in the street without money and with a demolished house, when this can be avoided with this proposed legislative change.

 

The representatives of the associations hope to be in the Senate when the vote is taken.

(Español)

Según entendemos se ha adelantado la votación de la enmienda propuesta por el PSOE para evitar la demolición de viviendas de inocentes por vía penal sin indemnización. Se prevé que la votación será mañana, 11 marzo, sobre el mediodía.

 

Apelemos una vez más a la conciencia los miembros de todos los partidos políticos, rogándoles apoyen esta enmienda, pues sinceramente creemos que harían un bien a los ciudadanos y a la sociedad en su conjunto. Pedimos que en ello por favor dejen a un lado criterios de contienda política y que ayuden a los afectados.

 

Ojala no lleguemos a ver a más gente en la calle sin dinero y con su casa demolida, pudiendo haberlo evitado con el cambio legislativo propuesto.

 

Los representantes de las asociaciones esperan estar en el Senado cuando se celebre la votación.

 

 

We are seeking consensus and real solutions

6th March 2015

The extraordinary plenary session of the Provincial Deputation of Almeria of the 6th of March has rejected the motion presented by the PSOE to urge all political groups with representation in the Senate to vote on the 12th of March in favour of amendment 677 to the Criminal Code to avoid the demolition of homes purchased in good faith without prior compensation. The plenary motion was rejected with the votes of the deputies of the Partido Popular against the motion and with the deputies of the PSOE and Izquierda Unida voting in favour.

 

The president of AUAN, Maura Hillen, who observed the plenary sesión, said ‘On behalf of AUAN I would like to thank the deputies of the PSOE and Izquierda Unida for their support. Obviously we are very disappointed with the final result of the vote’.

 

 ‘Associations of those affected have worked for nearly ten years to reach this point. We have studied the matter in detail using our own money and in consultation with experts in this field. The amendment, presented to the Senate by the PSOE, because the Penal Code is the competency of the state, is only one of the changes that we are proposing.  The Parliament of Andalusia is currently considering another change that we believe to be necessary, that is, the change to article 185 of the LOUA to help to resolve the problem of illegal land divisions orparcelaciones urbanisticas’.

 

‘Many of our members have houses in the criminal courts where they are subject to the Penal Code and run the risk of demolition without prior compensation, even though they acquired the houses innocently. In my opinion we are at the point of losing a golden opportunity to respond to the needs of the people.  The homeowners and the communities that are affected by the problem of illegal houses and the towns that depend on foreign investment for their economic prosperity need solutions NOW.

 

‘We want to gather support and not get lost in political arguments. We look for consensus and real solutions for these people. For some time now we have had the support of the PP and we ask that they reconsider and approve this initiative. They believe that the Junta should act – and without doubt they should. Everyone has their part to play, but they must understand that one part falls upon the PP’

 

Buscamos consenso y buscamos una solución real

AUAN 6 marzo 2015

 

El pleno extraordinario y urgente de la Diputación Provincial de Almería de hoy 6 de marzo ha rechaza la moción presentada por el PSOE de instar a todos los grupos  políticos con representación en el Senado a que, en la votación para la reforma del Código Penal que tendrá lugar el próximo día 12 de marzo, apoyen la enmienda 677 para evitar que las viviendas irregulares adquiridas de buena fe y con una sentencia firme de demolición puedan ser derribadas si sus propietarios no han recibido la indemnización correspondiente. La moción del pleno fue derrotada con los votos de los diputados del Partido Popular en contra de la moción y con los diputados del PSOE e Izquierda Unida votando a favor.

 

La presidenta de AUAN, Maura Hillen, quien observó la sesión plenaria, dice ‘Por parte de AUAN quiero dar gracias a los diputados del PSOE e Izquierda Unida por su apoyo. Obviamente estamos muy decepcionado con el resultado final de la votación’.

 

‘Las asociaciones de los afectados han trabajado durante casi diez antilde;os para llegar a este punto. Hemos estudiado los temas en detalle usando nuestra proprio dinero y consultando con expertos en esta materia. La enmienda, presentado al Senado por el PSOE, porque el Código Penal es la competencia del estado,  es solo uno de los cambios que proponemos.  Al mismo tiempo el Parlamento de Andalucía ya considera otro de los cambios que creemos necesarios, es decir, el cambio al artículo 185 de la LOUA para ayudar a resolver la problemática de parcelaciones urbanísticas.’  

 

‘Muchos de nuestros socios tienen viviendas en los juzgados penales donde están sujetos al Código Penal y corren el riesgo de demolición sin indemnización previa, aunque hayan adquirido las viviendas inocentemente. En mi opinión estamos a punto de perder un oportunidad de oro para responder a las necesidades de la ciudanía. Los dueños y las comunidades que son afectados por el problema de las viviendas ilegales y los pueblos que dependen de la inversión extranjera para su crecimiento económico necesitan soluciones YA’. 

 

‘Nosotros lo que pretendemos es sumar apoyos y no perdernos en argumentos políticos. Buscamos consenso y buscamos una solución real para estas personas. Desde hace tiempo hemos tenido el apoyo del PP y pedimos que reconsideren y apoyen esta iniciativa. Piensan que la Junta debe actuar - sin duda lo debe hacer. Cada uno que aporte su parte, pero deben entender que una parte le toca al PP’.

 

 

Partido Popular prepares to reject amendment to guarantee compensation to purchasers in good faith

The hopes of foreign purchasers hang in the balance

4th March 2015

Members of the Partido Popular (PP), meeting on 3rd March in the Senate Justice Commission to review a series of proposed amendments to the Criminal Code, voted against all amendments submitted by other political parties, including one related to illegal houses, proposed by the PSOE, to guarantee compensation to purchasers in good faith prior to demolition.

 

According to the spokesperson for AUAN, one of the associations representing Britons affected by the issue of illegal houses in Spain ‘The procedure for dealing with amendments to the Criminal Code is not yet concluded and the Senate is due to vote on 12th March. However, given the attitude of the PP and given that the PP has a majority in the Senate it is unlikely that this amendment will now be approved. This is a blow for the victims who need justice now and a lost opportunity’.

 

 ‘It seems that there is a lack of understanding of the impact of demolitions without prior compensation to purchasers in good faith. Not only with respect to the violation of the human rights, the fundamental rights and the constitutional rights of the individual, but also the economic impact on society as a whole with regard to the reputation of Spain abroad and the confidence of foreign purchasers in the Spanish property market. And, also there is a lack of understanding of the damage that this type of demolition inflicts on communities that rely on foreign investment. Damage that manifests itself in social and political instability and the obstruction of economic development.’

 

‘From AUAN’s point of view we continue to encourage all those who work towards legislation that is more just for all citizens. We always have a little hope but we are always prepared to face disappointment.  Today is a day of disappointment. However, we will not give up and will continue to work for what we believe in and we believe in justice.’  

 

PP se mueve a rechazar la enmienda para garantizar la indemnización a los compradores de buena fe

 4 marzo 2015

 

Los miembros del Partido Popular en la Ponencia de la Comisión de Justicia del Senado en sesión de 3-3-2015 ha votado contra todas la enmiendas del resto de los partidos, incluyendo la de las viviendas ilegales propuesta por el PSOE para garantizar la indemnización a los compradores de buena fe antes de que se produzca la demolición.

 

Según la portavoz de AUAN, una de las asociaciones de los afectados de la problemática de viviendas ilegales, en su mayoría británicos ‘Aún no ha terminado la tramitación del proyecto de ley de enmienda del Código Penal, pero ante la actitud que exhibe el PP y dada la mayoría del PP en el Senado es dudoso se apruebe esta enmienda. Parece que va ser una gran pena para las víctimas que necesitan justicia ya y una gran oportunidad perdida’.

 

‘Parece que hay una falta de entendimiento del impacto de las demoliciones sin indemnización previa a los compradores de buena fe. No sólo con respecto a la violación de los derechos humanos, los derechos fundamentales y los derechos constitucionales del individuo, sino también económicamente con respecto a la reputación de España en el mundo y la confianza de compradores de otras países en el mercado inmobiliaria español. Y también una falta de entendimiento del menoscabo que se produce en las comunidades que dependen de la inversión extranjera que se refleja en la inestabilidad social y política y la obstrucción del crecimiento económico’.

 

‘Desde AUAN dar ánimos a todos los que trabajan por conseguir una legislación más justa para todos los ciudadanos. Siempre nos queda una pequeña luz para la esperanza, pero preparados para que si ahora no puede ser, aquí no acaba el camino, seguiremos trabajando por lo creemos y es de justicia’.

 

 

Spanish Senate to vote on change to Criminal Code to protect purchasers in good faith

A golden opportunity according to campaingers

10th February 2015

The hopes of home owners associations from across Spain have been raised by a proposed change to the Criminal Code (Codigo Penal) presented by the PSOE political party in the Senate (the upper house of the Spanish parliament) on the 18th February.

 

The amendment seeks to ensure that third parties who purchase an illegal property in good faith receive compensation before the property is demolished.  Homeowners group AUAN from Almeria and its sister association SOHA in Malaga, who have long campaigned for this change, are calling on all political parties to support it. 

 

Speaking on behalf of the associations the lawyer, Gerardo Vazquez, said, ‘the normal practice is that the promoter is given a small fine for building an illegal house, whilst the person who spent their life savings on the house, sees it demolished with a theoretical order of compensation that never actually happens.  In reality, the victim receives the greatest punishment and this cannot be right.  Certainly, the environment must be protected, but the end does not justify the means if you violate a person’s fundamental right to inviolability of the home, their human right to property and their constitutional right to decent housing.  The protection of the environment must be applied in a proportionate way and reach its limit when it affects human rights. The solution is simple, first compensate and then demolish.’

 

The change, promoted by AUAN and SOHA, and now presented by the PSOE, has also received the backing of associations from across Spain such as the Andalucian Confederation for planning legalization (CALU) which incorporates associations from Cordoba, Jaen, and Malaga, AUN and Abusos Urbanisticos Lliber NO from Valencia and AMA (Asociación de Maltratados por la Administración) from Cantabria.

 

The spokesperson continued ‘These associations represent tens of thousands of people across the country. I believe that they are grateful that the PSOE has taken the bull by the horns and proposed this change to the Senate. However, we sincerely hope that this is a matter for political consensus and that it receives the support of all the political parties. This change will help many people who desperately need a solution.’

 

‘AUAN, SOHA and the other associations have spent many years trying to resolve these problems and this is a golden opportunity to take an important step forward. We trust in the common sense of the political parties, who exist to solve the problems of the people, and we hope that in the next few weeks we will be able to celebrate the entry into force of this change.’

 

The amendment is now with the Judicial Commission of the Senate which is made up of representatives of the various political parties. At the beginning of March the Commission will make a decision about the amendment and there will a general vote at the end of March in the Senate.

 

PROPIETARIOS DE VIVIENDAS ILEGALES EXPECTANTES ANTE UN CAMBIO EN EL CóDIGO PENAL

 

10 febrero 2015

 

Gerardo Vázquez, el letrado asesor y portavoz de la asociación Abusos Urbanísticos Almanzora No (AUAN) nos dice que los afectados ven con ilusión el cambio que el PSOE solicita al Código Penal y que este partido político ha presentado en el Senado el 18 febrero último. Explica que AUAN y su asociación hermanada de Málaga conocida como Save Our Homes Axarquía (SOHA), ya llevan pidiendo algún tiempo que se cambie el Código Penal para evitar que compradores de buena fe de viviendas ilegales vean su hogar demolido sin garantía de una adecuada indemnización, y que estas asociaciones hacen un llamamiento a todos los partidos políticos para que apoyen este cambio.

Dice Gerardo Vázquez “la práctica habitual es que se condene al promotor o constructor de la vivienda al pago de una pequeña multa, mientras que el comprador de buena fe ha invertido todo su dinero en la vivienda estableciendo en ella su hogar, la ve demolida, y aunque se le puede conceder una teórica indemnización, en la práctica ésta no se produce. Actualmente, el que menos culpa tiene, recibe el peor castigo, y eso no puede ser, pues es contrario a su derecho fundamental a la inviolabilidad del domicilio, su derecho humano a la propiedad y su derecho constitucional a una vivienda digna. Es cierto que hay que proteger el medio ambiente, pero el fin no siempre justifica los medios, es decir, la protección tiene que ser aplicada de una forma proporcionada y encuentra sus límites en el momento en que choca con estos derechos humanos. Es decir, si hay que demoler, que se indemnice primero. “

Este es el cambio que AUAN y SOHA han pedido y que el PSOE ha presentado en el Senado esta semana. Según nos explica Gerardo Vazquez, no son solo AUAN y SOHA que piden este cambio; el cambio es apoyado por asociaciones de afectados por problemas urbanísticos de muchas partes de la comunidad autónoma andaluza agrupadas bajo el nombre de Confederación andaluza por la legalización urbanística (CALU). Gerardo nos informa que CALU incluye las siguientes asociaciones, entre otras la Plataforma Afectados Inundaciones Guadalquivir de Córdoba, la Federación de Vecinos Las Lagunas de Chiclana de la Frontera, la Asociación Afotomoque de Marmolejo (Jaén), la Asociacion Plataforma Vecinal de Estepona (Málaga), la Asociación Puespuenti de Jaén, las Víctimas del Incendio de Mijas (Málaga), la Federación de Parcelistas de Córdoba, la Asociación Apaig Villafranca de Córdoba.

De hecho, el cambio propuesto también recibe apoyo fuera de la comunidad autónoma andaluza, encontrándose apoyada por la Federación Española de Asociaciones en defensa de los Derechos Humanos y en contra de los Atropellos Urbanísticos y Medioambientales (FAUN) integrada entre otras por las asociacion Abusos Urbanísticos No en Valencia y Abusos Urbanísticos Lliber NO!

Dice Gerardo Vázquez, “Es cierto que existe un gran apoyo social a esta medida. De hecho, el apoyo va creciendo y en los últimos días, la asociación cántabra conocida como AMA “Asociación de Maltratados por la Administración”, se ha unido a la solicitud de este cambio. Estas asociaciones representan a decenas de miles de casas y de afectados. Creo que todos los afectados agradecen que el PSOE haya cogido el toro por los cuernos al plasmar el cambio y presentarlo en el Senado. No obstante espero sinceramente, y lo esperan todas las asociaciones de afectadas, que esto sea una cuestión de consenso político y que la enmienda reciba el apoyo del resto de los partidos políticos. El cambio ayudaría a mucha gente que se encuentra angustiada e incluso diría que desesperada”. 

Preguntado por el trámite de la enmienda en el Senado, nos explica Gerardo Vázquez que ésta se encuentra en la Comisión de Justicia del Senado donde tienen representación los diferentes grupos políticos, y entiende que a principios de marzo dicha Comisión decidirá sobre la enmienda y que habrá una votación general antes de finales de marzo en el Senado.

 

Termina diciendo Gerardo Vázquez “AUAN y otras asociaciones llevan muchos años tratando de resolver estos problemas, ahora hay una oportunidad de oro para dar un paso importante hacia delante y confío en la sensatez de los partidos políticos que al fin y al cabo están ahí para resolver los problemas del ciudadano, y espero que las próximas semanas todos podamos celebrar la entrada en vigor de este cambio.”

 

AUAN meet with Izquierda Unida and Ecologists in Action

10th February 2015

A debate and exchange of opinions about urban planning took place last Friday, 6th February, in the headquarters of Izquierda Unida in Seville under the title of ‘The Territorial Model and Urban Planning’. The workshop was organised by Enrique Ruiz, Environment co-ordinator of IU in Andalucía who also acted as moderator. The speakers were Carlos Giron, planning advisor to the Office of the Ombudsman in Andalucía, Juan Clavero, Secretary of Territorial Planning for Ecologists in Action in Andalucía, Inmaculada Nieto, MP for IU in the Andalucían Parliament, Antonio Ibanez, ex Director General of Housing and Gerardo Vazquez for AUAN.

 

Speaking of the workshop Gerardo Vazquez said, ‘the truth is that I believe that there was much common ground between AUAN and the rest of the speakers. The representative of Ecologists in Action explained not only the impact of irregular urban planning but also the impact of future planning, with plans in existence for an additional one million more houses in the future. We explained that we are victims of irregular planning, and we emphasised the need to sort out what already exists as a first priority. AUAN stressed in the meeting that prevention is fundamental for the future and that action needed to be taken as soon as the first brick is laid for an illegal house. I believe that we are in agreement about this.’

 

Sr. Vazquez added, ‘What has happened is a failure in prevention, houses have been finished, and in the case of many homeowners, they have been sold to third party purchasers in good faith, who were unaware of the planning problems. In this respect, the suggestion of the ex Director General of Housing, Antonio Ibanez, to create an independent body to oversee urban discipline was interesting’.

 

With regard to the owners of the houses Sr. Vazquez said, ‘We also informed the panel about the human side of illegal houses and of the problems suffered by British retirees and other nationalities who had trusted this country and invested their life savings in a house that the authorities now want to demolish through no fault of the owners. We pointed out that we have asked for a reform of the Penal Code to avoid the demolition of these houses via the criminal courts without prior compensation for purchasers in good faith and that the PSOE is going to introduce an amendment in the Senate to this effect. This is material justice because these retired Britons find themselves in a situation of social vulnerability. Because they are retired they cannot rebuild their lives if their house is demolished. AUAN also pointed out to the speakers that the guilty should be punished, although this rarely happens, and not the innocent’.

 

He added, ‘in summary AUAN asked for an exercise in realism, given that you cannot knock down 300,000 houses at a stroke and that you have to regularise as many as possible’. A point of view, according to Sr Vazquez that was accepted by some of the speakers more than others, although he did give thanks to everyone for their sincerity and willingness to discuss the issue.

 

AUAN SE REúNE CON IZQUIERDA UNIDA Y ECOLOGISTAS EN ACCIóN

El pasado viernes día 6 de febrero de 2015, en la sede andaluza de Izquierda Unida en Sevilla tuvo lugar una jornada de debate e intercambio de opiniones sobre urbanismo, bajo el título de “Jornadas de Modelo territorial y Urbanismo”. La jornada fue organizada por Enrique Ruiz, coordinador del área de Medioambiente de Izquierda Unida en Andalucía que actuó como moderador, y contó con la asistencia como ponentes de Carlos Girón, el responsable de urbanismo en la Oficina del Defensor del Pueblo Andaluz, Juan Clavero, el Secretario de Ordenación del Territorio de Ecologistas en Acción de Andalucía, Inmaculada Nieto, Parlamentaria de Izquierda Unida en el Parlamento Andaluz, Antonio Ibáñez, ex Director General de vivienda y Gerardo Vázquez, abogado y portavoz de la asociación de afectados por ilegalidades urbanísticas, Abusos Urbanísiticos Almanzora No (AUAN).

 

Nos informa Gerardo Vázquez de las jornadas “la verdad es que considero que hubo muchos puntos en común entre AUAN y el resto de los ponentes. El representante de Ecologistas en Acción explicó no sólo los efectos del urbanismo irregular sino también los futuros efectos del urbanismo planificado, con planeamiento existente para un millón de casas adicionales en el futuro. Explicamos en la reunión, que nosotros éramos víctimas del urbanismo irregular, y destacamos la necesidad de regular lo existente como una primera prioridad. AUAN destacó en la reunión que lo fundamental para el futuro es la prevención y que hay que actuar desde que se pone la primera piedra de una vivienda ilegal. Creo que todo estamos de acuerdo sobre ello.”

 

Añade el Sr Vazquez, “Lo que ha pasado es que ha fallado la prevención, las casas se han terminado de construir, y en el caso de muchos propietarios, se han vendido a terceros de buena fe, ignorantes de los problemas urbanísticos. A este respecto, fue interesante la sugerencia del ex Director General de Vivienda, Antonio Ibáñez, de que se crease un cuerpo profesional independiente encargado de velar por la disciplina urbanística.”

 

En cuanto a los propietarios de las viviendas dice el Sr Vazquez, “También informamos a los reunidos del lado humano de estas viviendas ilegales y de los problemas que sufren los jubilados británicos y de otras nacionalidades que han confiado en este país para invertir todos sus ahorros en una casa, que las autoridades ahora quieren demoler sin culpa de los propietarios. Destacamos que habíamos pedido una reforma del Código Penal para evitar la demolición de estas casas en vía penal sin antes garantizar una justa indemnización para los adquirentes de buena fe y que el PSOE iba a presentar una enmienda en el Senado a estos efectos. Ello es de justicia material pues estos británicos jubilados se encuentran en una situación de vulnerabilidad social. Al ser jubilados, no pueden rehacer su vida si se le demuele su vivienda. AUAN indicó a los ponentes que se debía perseguir a los culpables, aunque a éstos raramente les ocurre nada, y no a los inocentes.”

 

Gerardo Vázquez añade, “en resumidas cuentas AUAN ha pedido se haga un ejercicio de realismo, pues no se pueden tirar abajo 300.000 casas de un plumazo, hay que regularlas en la medida posible”, un punto de vista que cuajó según Vazquez en algunos de los ponentes más que en otros, aunque el Sr Vazquez dice agradecer a todos su sinceridad y actitud dialogante.

 

Minister states that work will continue on change to the LOUA despite looming elections

30th January 2015

(best efforts translation of interview)

Speaking on Cadena Ser, the Minister for the Environment and Territorial Planning, Maria Jesus Serrano (left), who has also assumed responsibility for Development in the run up to the regional elections on March 22nd, gave assurances that work to reform the LOUA with regard to illegal land divisions (parcelaciones urbanisticas) would continue .

...'The Junta de Andalucia is aware of the problem, which is not of our making, but it is a reality and it must be dealt with. In 2012 the Junta introduced the Regularization Decree to deal with properties that were constructed in an irregular manner but the decree was insufficient.  Therefore we commenced an analysis of the LOUA and the deficiences in the decree and in this way we proposed a change to the LOUA which is currently in progress and irrespective of the pending elections it is our committment to continue this work to resolve the problem to the maximum extent possible'.

'And I would like to say that I plan to meet as soon as possible with those affected and the associations to establish a way forward so that the pending elections do not slow down or paralyse this work because the people of Andalusia cannot afford to lose another minute'.

 

 

 

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