Spain to scrap 'land grab' law and compensate Britons
June 14th, 2005
Spain’s notorious “land grab” law, under which hundreds of expatriate Britons have lost homes on the Costa Blanca, is to be scrapped in three months.
Faced with the prospect of being hauled before the European Court of Justice, Spanish provincial legislators have pledged to redraft the property laws by September and work out a compensation package for homeowners and those who have already lost their properties.
The move is a huge relief to thousands of residents on the Costa Blanca, many of whom faced financial ruin after their homes were seized for far less than their market value.
Under a loophole in the law, known as the Ley Reguladora de la Actividad Urbanista (LRAU), property agents could compulsorily purchase prime rural land by saying it was for urban development.
Owners were often ordered to contribute large sums for further improvements in local development projects.
After a long campaign by local and expat homeowners, the Valencian regional government has finally dropped its opposition to reform the law and agreed to speedy amendments supervised by a Spanish parliamentary ombudsman. A spokesman for Rafael Blasco, Valencia’s minister for housing, said: “The LRAU has a lot of problems, and the government of Valencia is working with the European Parliament to replace it with a new one by September.”