Stand and Deliver! Your money or your life!

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September 10

The large urbanisation spread over the Denia, Rafol and Pego municipalities of the Costa Blanca, known as Monte Pego, is contesting what home owners call “The Scandal of the Guarantees”
The urbanisation of nearly one and a half thousand dwellings, has been in development since the 1970’s. But some 15 years ago it became mired in a legal dispute between Pego Town Hall and the developers, over the completion of the project to the correct standard for adoption by the Town Hall.
This dispute has never been resolved – despite many court cases, the rulings of which are ignored, and despite repeated promises from Pego Town Hall that are always proved empty. It is interesting that Rafol Town Hall have now fully accepted their legal duties to provide all basic services for home owners, but Pego and Denia Town Halls continue to deny them, as they have done for 15 years.
However, since 2003, one of many intolerable consequences of all this was Pego Town Hall’s unique imposition of the infamous “Guarantees” The guarantee, a financial charge, ensured that when a new house or extension, garage etc. was built, any damage done to the existing infra-structure during construction could be repaired. The charge, logically, would be refundable if there was no damage.
Yet a licence to build is not issued until this guarantee is paid, a convenient inducement, for sure. When first introduced the costs varied enormously, but from 2014 a formula based on square meterage has been used. It is always to be paid in cash. A rumour exists that if a strong fight is put up about this charge, a reduced fee might be negotiated – more deviousness.
The scandal is that no guarantee has ever been returned to a home owner! Pego Town Hall explains this by saying the money will be used to repair the urbanisation’s infrastructure “in the future”.
Experts, when consulted by Pro Monte Pego, the Property Owners Association, agreed this is clearly illegal. Over the years the amounts paid could add up to a very large sum of money, though Pego Town Hall refuses to disclose the true figure.
Questions now need answers. Does this money still exist or has it been spent on other things? Will it ever be refunded? Is there any record of these cash amounts? And what about the paradox?
The paradox, put simply, is why would Pego Town Hall – who have never agreed to adopt the urbanisation, which therefore in their eyes remained private – collect guarantees rather than the developer?
The final insult for owners, once their house has been built, is that Pego Town Hall refuses to issue a ‘cédula’ to certify the house habitable and built to the correct standard (because of that legal dispute), effectively making it an uninhabitable rural dwelling! But they take the guarantee, and issue the licence.
Centuries ago there was once a notorious tradition in England of highway robbery. How strange to see that Richard Turpin Enterprises has survived and flourished in a corner of Spain. Stand and deliver! Your money and your house.

W. Rower

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