Royal Decree 689 – 1987

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March 21

Dear Editor,

Brexit is blocking execution of my wife’s will. Because Spain is retrospectively applying Royal Decree 689/1978 that required foreign buyers purchasing property in military zones to seek authorisation from the Ministry of Defence prior to completion of the purchase. Those zones included an area in Murcia and southern Alicante surrounding the Cartagena naval base. An exemption was given in 1986 after Spain joined the EU.

We purchased the property in Pinar de Campoverde in April 2004. My wife’s will bequeathed her share of the property to our twin daughters on her death, but my solicitor advised that we would still have to seek authorisation so that the land registry could re-register it in my and my daughter’s names. Had I purchased the property before 1986 I believe it would have been exempt as Pinar de Campoverde is in a consolidated urban area under the jurisdiction of Pilar de la Horadada.

Advice from the British Embassy is “On the information for UK nationals buying property near military bases, my understanding is the same as yours, in that the additional paperwork will apply to those who wish to buy a property in these areas, rather than those who are already living there. The latest information we have on this is on gov.uk (see link below). As you’ll see, we are following up with the Spanish authorities on this issue and, should we receive additional information, we will update that page.” https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-buy-property-in-spain#buy ing-property-in-certain -areas.

This issue is not in the interests of the Spanish economy as there is still demand for UK citizens to purchase property in Spain. There is clearly a case to support the Embassy’s view that those already living here as Spanish residents should be exempt and, additionally, for a bilateral agreement between Spain and the UK as part of the future relationship.

Should any of your readers be in a similar circumstance, I am able to coordinate their views through BremaininSpain’s campaign to hold the UK government to account for unforeseen consequences of Brexit and pass them on to the British Embassy.

Mike Phillips

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