Thursday, April 17, 2008

Su casa es mi casa

Well, they call themselves socialists, what do you expect them to do:
It's been the dream of millions - a home by the sea in sunny Spain. People from all over Europe have invested hard-earned savings in coastal villas and apartments.

Now a government drive to clean up Spain's concrete-filled coastline after decades of abuse may wash away many of those dreams like castles of sand.

Enforcing a much-neglected 1988 law, the Socialist government is getting tough about what constitutes coastal public domain - the strip of land stretching back from the water's edge - and telling thousands of house and apartment owners their properties do not really belong to them.

"Out of the blue we've been told the house we have owned for more than 30 years is no longer ours," said a retired British electronics engineer, Clifford Carter, 59, who lives with his Spanish wife in La Casbah, a beach-side complex in eastern Spain. "The house was built legally, but now they say we can only live here until we die but can't sell the house or leave it to our children."

...."We're taking the law seriously," said the Environment Ministry's coastal department director, José Fernández. "Previous governments didn't think it was important, while we have made it a priority."

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