Spanish land Grab Good news at last

PUBLISHED: 14:20 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 14:48 20 February 2013

The Valencian Land Grab scandal has received a lot of publicity over recent years in the UK press. Some unsuspecting purchasers found themselves significantly out of pocket when their dream holiday homes or investments were seized by local authori...

The legal framework in Spain for compulsory purchase of land is known as Ley del Suelo. According to the law any developer can put forward a planning application to develop if the land has been reclassified from rural to urban by the Local Authority. If that plan is approved, neighbouring properties can be appropriated to accommodate the development and owners may also be forced to contribute to the costs of proposed development.
There are criticisms that some developments were unnecessary and allegations of corruption. The law does not allow the right of appeal. The only option is for the owner of the blighted property to present an alternative project to the planning authority within three months, and it is still likely that they will lose their rural property.
The good news is that there have been changes to the law. Now, owners will receive a plot or number of plots in the new development in exchange for their 'lost' property. They have the legal right to seize their part of the new development and force the local authority to pay the money for that section of land before the development starts.
Although a step forward, the cost of taking action is prohibitive and unlikely to make economic sense. at last...
Test cases are waiting to be heard in the European Court of Human Rights arguing the law contravenes the right to preserve property. When Spain signed up to the Convention on Human Rights it specifically reserved the right to retain Article 33 (21) of the Spanish Constitution which determines that property ownership is not an absolute right and has to be balanced with wider social needs.

Alfonso Valero from Nockolds International Property Team advises:

'If you are looking to buy a 'rustic property' then you should

Ensure proper enquiries are made at the planning offices about future developments
Take expert advice from a Town Planning Consultant
If there is a risk of Land Grab, negotiate on the price to take this into account
Declare the full value of the property for tax purposes.

This avoids the risk ofany future compensation being calculated on a lower price

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