Motril’s Illegal Cortijos

The Town Hall is increasing the pressure on the municipality’s illegal dwellings, thanks to a decree issued by the regional government, the Junta de Andalucía.

Gone is the hope that the Junta was going pardon the masses of illegal cortijos and other constructions in the vega and surrounding hillsides – the opposite is now on the cards. Building a cortijo and then, at worse, expecting a fine is now a thing of the past because from February, when the decree was issued, building where you shouldn’t is a criminal offence. But before you panic, if the illegal structure already existed before the decree came into being, you won’t be facing criminal charges, however the stipulations laid down by the decree to legalise the said buildings are many and difficult to comply with.

At present, the situation stands that although illegal buildings cannot be legalised, you can continue to use them as long as certain conditions are met, and one of them is that anything that flows out of your house does not damage the environment, so forget, seep-away septic tanks. You cannot just continue to ignore the situation, either, because you must report your situation to the Town Hall, says the Chief-Engineer of the Urban Development Service, Juan Fernando Pérez. If you don’t, things will get tougher, thanks to the decree, which has given greater freedom to act to the municipal authorities.

But it’s not just that the town halls have the power to act, but also that they have the obligation to act – no more looking the other way. So, it boils down to: if you build something now, you could end up in prison; if your property was built any time up to last year, you either come forward and comply, or if you don’t, you will lose the lot, more sooner than later.

At present the Town Hall is busy compiling a catalogue of illegal constructions. Once that is finished, a voluntary period will be opened to come forward, but once that concludes, the Town Hall will get tough. And believe it or not, just because you have deeds, it doesn’t mean you’re off the hook if it is built where it shouldn’t have been.

But the decree has also come down hard on utility companies, that have supplied water and electricty to illegal constructions – that’s over, too.

So, if you are the owner of any one of those more than 4,000 illegal constructions, you had better get advice from a professional on how to go about getting it sorted out. Demolition is a reality as some illegal structures have already been torn down.

The bottom line is that the Town Hall is desperate for money, and if just half of the existing amount of illegal dwellings are legalised, this will bring money in, not just in legalising the dwelling, but in the concept of IBI tax.

(News: Motril, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)

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