SOHA March

March 2010
1,000 foreigners and Spanish nationals march in Málaga against the demolition of their homes. The Junta de Andalucía has asked for patience from the foreigners who find themselves to be living in property now deemed to be illegal. The Councillor for Housing and Territorial Ordination, Juan Espadas, commented that the LOUA territorial ordination law was not a law to a single end, adding that guarantees would be given to purchasers. However he told journalists that in the cases where the property could be brought into legality it would be the owner who is expected to compensate the municipality, either by the payment of a sum of money or by handing over land. He referred to this idea as ‘criterio de equivalencia’ saying it was needed because it would be impossible to return the site to how it was given that an illegal property had been built on it.
He said that those homes already built and occupied would be looked at case by case, and that in the most delicate cases where legalisation was not possible, compensation would be paid when necessary. However he repeated earlier comments that homes could not be legalised with the sweep of a pen.
It comes as members of the SOHA, Save our Homes Axarquía, took to the streets in the centre of Málaga on Wednesday to draw attention to their plight and to demand action. Their numbers, estimated to be about a thousand, were swelled by support from the AUAN group, made up of residents of Almería province whose homes are also under threat.
The message the mostly foreign demonstrators wanted to get across was that the Junta de Andalucía has been carrying out a policy of punishing the innocent victims, when it should be the promoters, politicians, lawyers and notaries which should be punished. It’s calculated that there are 50,000 homes in an irregular situation in Málaga province,
and some 100,000 across Andalucía as a whole.
Juan Espadas also made reference to the new ‘express demolitions’ law, which was approved by the Junta on Tuesday, under which the local councils are able to use increased powers given to them under the LOUA regulations to order the demolition of an illegal property in a month. The idea of this is that when the movement of earth or new foundations had been detected such an order could be quickly issued and carried out. Previously, even if an order was issued, the promoter or builder would continue to construct on the site. Espadas said the best way to eliminate illegal building was to stop it in the first place.
The LOUA legislation will also ensure that any new illegally built property will not be able to be registered and will not be able to be connected to either water or electricity supplies. Fines would also be increased to ensure that the person who breaks the regulations will be unable to obtain any profit. Fines as high as 120,000 € or 150% of any profit made could be issued.