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Illegal builds and demolitions in Marbella, Spain


As an established property auction house in Marbella we pride ourselves on ensuring due diligence is carried out before we offer a property via auction. However, after the most recent of press releases about the ongoing cases of illegal buildings in Marbella, we have had several sales failing to complete as now the banks have decided they will not lend on properties without the first occupation license in place.

To this effect we have now discovered a detailed plan from the Town Hall which shows developments in Marbella deemed to be illegal, from overbuilding to having been built on green belt land. We are investigating further to find out the names of these developments, which run into several hundred in the Marbella area alone, and we will be publishing a list of them on our website shortly.

Anyone interested on keeping up with this ongoing saga can do so by logging onto and registering on for our newsletter. We will be sending out regular updates on news as it becomes known to us.

For anyone not understanding the Spanish purchasing system, planning regulations here are a bit of a nightmare. The last legal plan for proposed building in Marbella was agreed by the higher authorities in 1986 and because of the latest scandals, this is the plan being referred to now. Every year the local town hall applies to extend its area for building which is either approved or struck out accordingly. Town halls make the majority of their revenue from granting licenses and then of course the yearly ‘rates’ charged, so they are always keen to grant licenses to builders. Builders on the other hand buy land speculating on the fact that at some stage in the future with the growth in population and demand for second homes they will eventually be zoned to build.

The main problem has been that the actual town hall registered population has NOT massively increased, which meant that the higher authorities would normally NOT grant extra building land.

Enter Jesus Gil Gil, who became mayor and then granted numerous building licenses in conjunction with Snr Roca! Also they allowed extra building for example an extra level on apartments or a few more houses in a development.

Due to the system in Marbella and Spain as a whole, one cannot fail to see it is based on default. So, once a development has been completed, the developer applies to the town hall for the first occupation license, which can be used to request Sevillana to connect individual electricity and the water board to connect the supply. BUT if the town hall official does not turn up within 3 months of the request, then the license is granted by way of ‘administrative silence’ and so everything goes ahead, the most important being the granting of the title deeds, innocent people then move in to their new homes, banks demand mortgage payments, properties are bought and sold with, hopefully, profits made.
Now one has to understand the Spanish way of things. The Manana attitude is not so much because of the people but because of the red tape surrounding anything. And so the Spanish know that at some stage the licenses will come through and all will be well. Indeed we have had Spanish buyers purchasing through us with not a worry in the world, even after we have pointed out the lack of license.

However, the government has made up its mind to make an example of Marbella – what better place than this, known throughout the world. There are similar allegations and many more officials throughout every province in Spain who are either resigning or are being locked up over the same crimes.

It is likely there will be demolitions in Marbella, this will have to happen as Spain has to be seen to be addressing the problem.

The local government has been provided with over 6 million euros to cover the cost of carrying out these demolitions which will be recovered from the innocent owners of the demolished properties.

Today (13th December 2006) 334 demolition orders were ordered in the High Court of Seville. We are trying to find out where these are. Owners will be given leave to appeal but if owners do not live in their homes and do not collect their post, then they will not know about this. Leave of appeal could be as little as 30 days!

From today we will be ensuring all the properties we offer for sale have EVERY relevant document in place and this will be highlighted on our website

Any owners having to sell without licenses can only take comfort in the fact we are able to sell their units, but the lack of license will come at a cost.

Please log onto our website and sign up for our newsletter – we will update all registrees as soon as we have more information on the list of illegal builds and demolition orders.

For further information contact Inez Rix (0034) 952 817 673 / 0871 990 30 90 E:

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