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29/09/2011 - UK pressure group set up to help Spanish property victims

A campaign group for the thousands of UK residents who have fallen into various Spanish property traps has been set up in the UK.

While there are similar groups already in existence in Spain, this group is the first of its kind in the UK and aims to raise awareness and pressure the UK Government and MEPs into taking action.

Many thousands of Britons are believed to have bought property in Spain and through the actions of various levels of Spanish government, property developers and banks, find themselves unable to enjoy the rights to these properties.

The Protection of Property Purchased in Europe (POPPIE) is run by husband and wife team Chris and Angela Beattie, who have first hand experience of the issues that surround buying in Spain.

In 2004 they spent €150,000 on an off-plan Andalucian villa that was supposed to back onto a golf course, hotel and villa complex. After a building delay of two years, the house was finally built, although the surrounding complex was not.

Due to the developer not having planning permission to build their home, they remain unconnected to mains water and electricity supply and are unable to sell the property.

Mr Beattie said: "It is like camping in a house. We can't sell it and don't want to spend any more money on it because we don't know what is going to happen to it.

"We bought in good faith and paid a lawyer to carry out all the necessary checks yet, like many UK citizens, have been caught up in the minefield of red tape, bureaucracy and arbitrary decisions that plague the Spanish property market.

"We bought it as a holiday home for ourselves, our friends and our children. We also bought it for our retirement but now we can't bear the sight of it."

The Spanish government is about to start the second phase of its European property roadshow and hopes to tout the country's 700,000 unsold holiday homes to potential UK buyers who up until now have provided first-rate custom.

Spain-based protest groups such as  AUAN run by expat Maura Hillen, have swelled in size in recent years and have attracted the support of MEPs such as Roger Helmer, Marta Andreasen and Michael Cashman.

In response to the news that the Spanish property roadshow is about to return to the UK, MEP Roger Helmer said: "I have approached Europe Minister David Lidington asking him to use his good offices to get this show cancelled, and to make it clear to the Spanish government that they will not be allowed to promote Spanish property in the UK until they can give firm guarantees that property rights will be respected and contracts will be enforceable."

If you would like to join POPPIE, please email for more information.


By Sean O'Hare