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In 1988 a law was introduced to protect Spain’s coastline by making the whole coastal area public domain without allowing any private ownership. The public domain encompasses all areas of beach, the limit of where the waves can reach, areas of sand, shale or pebbles which are affected by coastal winds and any area reclaimed from the sea.
This has caused serious problems for homeowners in these locations, their only hope being that they would be granted a concession to use the property for a period of 30+30 years, as long as the property was built legally before 1988. They couldn’t sell the property or even leave it to their children so essentially their hands were tied and this concession was due to expire in 2018, therefore their fate was uncertain.
However, finally there is some good news for these homeowners, as new reforms extends the concession to use the property to 75 years, making it legal to buy and sell and get loans to undertake refurbishment work. Homeowners on the Costa del Sol still face the prospect of Andalucia challenging the ruling, but as the EU is behind it and there’s a lot of public pressure there is a hope that the reforms will be brought in.
Property guru Mark Stucklin of Spanish property Insight said: “This troublesome piece of legislation expropriated private property without compensation, whilst spectacularly failing to achieve its stated objective of protecting the coast for the public good.” Now the reforms have extended the concession they are now “much more valuable”. “Some could have increased in value by hundreds of thousands of euros,” Mr Stucklin explained.
More information on Spanish law can be found in our handy download section – in these cases, knowledge is definitely power.