Illegal House.

Old Apr 17th 2008, 5:30 am
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Default Illegal House.

Same old story I’m afraid, but thought I’d ask advice anyway on behalf of some friends.

They bought a house around two years ago in good faith and now they are being taken to court because it is classed as as an illegal dwelling in the Parque Natural.

Apparently the story goes, it was built as a Nave (agricultural building) by the previous owners. They then proceeded to add two bedrooms and a bathroom and used it as a dwelling. They were fined for this but the property remained as it was (still illegal to be used as a dwelling).

They then decided to sell it. Enter our friends, They were not told the house was classed as a Nave and assumed it was a legal dwelling as no-one told them any different. It was being lived in when they viewed it. They paid for an interpreter to translate the documents for them. This person also didn’t tell them the property could not be lived in, and actually translated the documents so that it sounded as though they could (our friends found out, too late, that this person was hand-in-glove with the Estate Agent).

They now have to go to court to try to prove their case. At worst they could have the house knocked down AND go to prison.

Has anyone any suggestions?
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Old Apr 17th 2008, 6:04 am
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Default Re: Illegal House.

Doubt if they will go to jail, but they have lost their money.

The only way to buy a house in Spain is with a mortgage, even if you dont need it. Let the bank take the risk, they do all the checks needed.
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Old Apr 17th 2008, 6:08 am
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Default Re: Illegal House.

First off, sorry to hear about their awful situation and I really can't see them being sent prison for what is a civil matter.
Obviously the first step is to get legal representation, fast. The best English speaking lawyer they can afford. I would also consider finding out who their euro MP is and making sure that his/her office is formally notified about it.
Despite caveat emptor if there is any written mis-translation I would think that there was easily grounds for a law suit here.
Good luck.
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Old Apr 17th 2008, 6:09 am
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Default Re: Illegal House.

Have to agree,they def will not go to jail as they were duped.
On a slightly positive note re knocking down of houses,MEP Cashman,has succesfully lobbyed in the EU court,and got them to accept that the practice is in breach of human rights.The EU is now trying to get the Spanish Gov to agree,which it has in principle,the Spanish centrel Gov is now trying to get the regional Govs to concur.

PS:Hope this post makes sense
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Old Apr 17th 2008, 6:14 am
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Default Re: Illegal House.

Originally Posted by bakehouseboy
Let the bank take the risk, they do all the checks needed.
No, they do some checks. They are not as thorough as you might think!

If it turns out to be illegal, you still owe them the money.

The only safe way is to get the legality checked out properly but that, in itself, is not always easy in Spain.

About the only safe way to buy property in Spain is to buy a 10 year old house on an urbanisation - even that isn't foolproof.

Any building on non urban land needs to be treated with considerable suspicion and anything in a Parque Nacional is almost certain to be illegal (if sold as a house rather than as a toolshed).
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Old Apr 17th 2008, 6:21 am
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Default Re: Illegal House.

Originally Posted by Fred James
......The only safe way is to get the legality checked out properly but that, in itself, is not always easy in Spain.

About the only safe way to buy property in Spain is to buy a 10 year old house on an urbanisation - even that isn't foolproof.....
Agree with the first bit, but the second bit quoted, not so much. We live in a 200 year old house. With the paperwork too. That is security for you.
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Old Apr 17th 2008, 6:39 am
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Default Re: Illegal House.

Originally Posted by Fred James
No, they do some checks. They are not as thorough as you might think!

If it turns out to be illegal, you still owe them the money.

The only safe way is to get the legality checked out properly but that, in itself, is not always easy in Spain.

About the only safe way to buy property in Spain is to buy a 10 year old house on an urbanisation - even that isn't foolproof.

Any building on non urban land needs to be treated with considerable suspicion and anything in a Parque Nacional is almost certain to be illegal (if sold as a house rather than as a toolshed).
At least with a mortgage you can give them the keys back and wave goodbye. They lose the cash not you.
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Old Apr 17th 2008, 6:41 am
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Default Re: Illegal House.

Definitely won't go to jail, but may lose the house and money I'm afraid. I wih this didn't happen so often.
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Old Apr 17th 2008, 7:17 am
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Default Re: Illegal House.

Thank you all so much and thanks especially for not saying it was their own fault (which some people have said).

They have got a good lawyer (hopefully!) and also an Estate Agent who was approached about the property by the previous owners (but didn't ever market it) still has some photographs of it with furniture etc in it six months before our friends viewed it.

I will tell them about Michael Cashman MEP, thanks.
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Old Apr 17th 2008, 7:55 am
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Default Re: Illegal House.

Just to say for clarification purposes, in response to Fred James, the house is in the Parque Natural - the Parque Nacional is higher up.

The Parque Natural is protected land but dwellings can be built on it in certain circumstances.
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Old Apr 17th 2008, 8:19 am
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Default Re: Illegal House.

Originally Posted by scampicat
Just to say for clarification purposes, in response to Fred James, the house is in the Parque Natural - the Parque Nacional is higher up.

The Parque Natural is protected land but dwellings can be built on it in certain circumstances.

That's true - you can build a Nave - but you cannot live in it!
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Old Apr 17th 2008, 8:23 am
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Default Re: Illegal House.

Originally Posted by bakehouseboy
At least with a mortgage you can give them the keys back and wave goodbye. They lose the cash not you.
If you had a 100% mortgage (unlikely) then, to some extents, that's true - but even then the bank can chase you for the balance of any money owed.

If you have some equity in the house then you will lose it as the bank will sell at a price low enough to just cover their loan - any equity you had in the house will be forfeit!
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Old Apr 17th 2008, 9:07 am
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Default Re: Illegal House.

Originally Posted by scampicat
Thank you all so much and thanks especially for not saying it was their own fault (which some people have said).

They have got a good lawyer (hopefully!) and also an Estate Agent who was approached about the property by the previous owners (but didn't ever market it) still has some photographs of it with furniture etc in it six months before our friends viewed it.

I will tell them about Michael Cashman MEP, thanks.
A lawyer may not be enough - it may be worthwhile getting a qualified architect involved as they will be able to produce a technical report on the property and liaise with the town hall re: licences, etc.

Yes, it's more expense - and they should do it via their lawyer - however such a report (and such a person) will carry much more weight in the courts than an estate agent with a few photographs.

Ultimately, though, it will be the classification of the land which will determine what happens next to the 'house'.
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Old Apr 17th 2008, 11:31 am
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Default Re: Illegal House.

Thank you once again, I will mention the architect, although I believe their gestor is organising this for them.

Thanks.
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Old Apr 17th 2008, 11:33 am
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Default Re: Illegal House.

Also I will say, there are other dwellings within the Parque natural - some were given permission to build, others have been legalised later.

Would our friends have any comeback if they were treated differently to other people?
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