July 9, 2017
In his letter (July 7-13), Mr Nicholson quoted examples of favouritism Spanish property owners have received in the Crevillent area when it comes to illegal building and he alleged a discriminatory treatment of foreigners when disregarding the same ordinances.
The infractors, now complaining about draconian fines, are aware of the fact that the country’s municipalities, already heavily indebted, receive less subsidies from the central government because Madrid’s powers that in 2012/2013 blew €61 billion on the rescue of some badly managed banks. The consequence: local yokels of many town halls are fleecing the man in the street!
Therefore, I consider it somehow naïve and hazardous that those obviously thrifty foreigners your correspondent is talking about have been pressing their luck by not spending a few euros on a permit for an “obra menor”.
Why didn’t the couple, fined €30,000 for an unlawful porch extension, appeal the decision and let the court decide on a possible disproportion of punishment?
A fairy tale seems to me “… a solicitor was told that his client could not separate 10,000m2 from his 30,000 m2 plot because he was English”. This verbal, not binding unappealable information given to the solicitor proves he didn’t even bother to file a segregation request.
Further, therefore, I think Crevillent city hall’s legal department’s officials are not that dumb to use the afore-mentioned information to corroborate an official dismissal.
In addition, a recent sentence by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJE) contains several rebukes regarding Spain’s infringement of Article 63 TFEU (Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union) and the judges outlined in their verdict:
No – different treatment between residents and non-residents;
No – national law may contain discriminatory or concealed measures;
No – discrimination which would prevent non-residents from realising investments in Spain;
No – restriction of Article 40 EEC;
No – justification to charge additional tax to non-residents even in case of the absence of a mutual information exchange agreement with the country where the non-resident resides.
Disgruntled foreigners, as described by your correspondent, demanding justice should realise the best bet for the job to leave the Alicante province “bubble” is an out-of-town lawyer as the following example shows:
A lawyer of Murcia capital obtained from the Murcia Superior Court a sentence, ratified by the Supreme Court in Madrid, obligating Cartagena city hall to order the demolition of a house situated in the first line on the beach of the Mar Menor because of several violations of the building ordinance. Plaintiff and defendant in the lawsuit were Spaniards. The lawyer cut the “Gordian knot” of Cartagena’s buddy-buddy system between local authorities and the courts.
At that time the situation in Cartagena’s city hall could have served for a flick of the Wild West in its early frontier period of lawlessness with federal marshals raiding the office of a corrupt Sheriff and justice of the peace in Tinseltown/Texas: “La Verdad” reported in 2006 (see attached article) that, on behalf of Murcia’s district attorney’s office, agents of the Guardia Civil entered Cartagena city hall to collect files of denouncements regarding irregularities in connection with concessions of building licenses.
Should your correspondent care for a copy of the afore-mentioned sentence and to get to know the name of the fearless lawyer who provided the excellent legwork, I’d be inclined to provide him with a relevant copy.