Furious British expats left without water and electricity – ‘Why are we the victims?’

Spain: Expert explains ‘repercussions’ for British expats

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About 200 British pensioners who bought properties in Spain are facing what they call “planning abuses” in the Murcia region. The homeowners in Gea y Truyols are now fighting back with a petition to the Murcia Town Hall asking for solutions in the areas of El Valle del Sol, Los Molinos, La Loma and Los Pinos.

They ask: “Why are we still the victims of planning abuses here in Murcia when we can see that things have improved in other regions?”

The properties in question were constructed just after 2000 but their owners continue to struggle to obtain basic services like electricity and water.

Linda House, the president of AUN-Murcia and organiser of the petition, said: “We bought in good faith, believing that everything was in order and we paid the market rate for our houses.

“Only later did we discover the properties were blighted by planning issues, resulting in grave consequences for the owners, in spite of paying our IBI like everyone else.

“The total lack of progress is very frustrating especially when we can see what has been happening in other autonomous communities such as Andalusia.”

Britons travelling to Spain last week were left in tears after they were told they could not board on their pre-booked flight to Malaga without a Spanish residency permit.

A total of 31 people were told they could not board their plane as they had no proof of Spanish residency – which, at the time, was required by the Spanish government for people to travel to the country.

One passenger said he is now £350 out of pocket and fears he will not be able to get a refund.

The showdown at East Midlands Airport happened on Friday morning, days before Spain opened its borders to visitors from countries that have low infection rates, including the UK.

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Prior to this though, anyone travelling to Spain had to present evidence of Spanish residency at the airport check-in, Derbyshire Live reports.

This was a requirement of the Spanish authorities. Without a residency permit, airlines could not allow passengers to board.

The passenger, who did not wish to be named, said: “I was met [at the airport] by a woman who informed people they would not be travelling unless they had a Spanish passport, proof of an application for residency or a letter from the UK Government saying the trip was essential.

“This led to anger, aggression and tears and three police officers had to oversee discussions. It was a truly shameful situation that caused great distress and large financial losses to some people.”

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The man, from Derby, claims he followed all of Ryanair’s instructions on their website and claims he had valid COVID-19 vaccination certificates.

He also claimed he had validated QR Codes from Spain Travel Health for him to go on an essential business trip, as he owns property in the country and had to deal with a number of ongoing issues.

But he claims Ryanair did not state on their website the need for either a Spanish residency permit or a letter from the UK Government saying the trip was essential.

Ryanair was approached for comment by both Derbyshire Live and Daily Express.

An airport spokesman told Birmingham Live: “On Friday, May 21, 31 passengers were refused boarding onto a flight to Malaga for not having a Spanish residency permit.

“The decision, taken by the airline’s handling agent, was in line with the requirements of the Spanish authorities at the time.

“We encourage anyone planning to travel overseas to familiarise themselves with what is required of both the destination country and the UK’s regulations prior to booking flights.”

The issue of the rights of UK expats living in EU27 states after Brexit has become a particularly hot potato after March 31, the deadline for applications to the Government’s EU Settlement Scheme.

All such rights were meant to protect in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement which took Britain out of the EU at the end of 2019.

British expats living in Spain were recently detained following allegations they submitted doctored proof of residency.

UK nationals who wish to keep living in Spain must prove they have are long-term residents.

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