This article is not intended to scare you away from rustic properties but to allow you to see a fuller picture. Land grab refers to a situation where large developers could snatch plots of normally rustic land in order to build housing estates. Many times in newspapers it talks about the Land Grab Law and refers to the Community of Valencia, which is actually made up of three older provinces – Alicante, Castellon and Valencia. For example my business, valuvillas.com is located in Alicante, ut we still come under the community of Valencia. We know of only one case in Alicante.
It is also normally applies to people with a lot of land. I.e. more than 10,000m2 and loopholes can be found to avoid it.
It is very important to note that the Spanish word “Urbanización” does not equate to the English word urbanisation – the “urbanizaciónes” are not towns and are usually very much in the countryside. What the Spanish describe as an Urbanización, is a residential area in the countryside that has been developed further in terms of civilised services than the two other main categories of dwellings – these being described as “rustic” and “partida” respectively in terms of their degree of development. For example, the “Urbanización” will usually have proper tarmac-laid roads, sometimes street lights, usually a sewerage system and refuse collection, but less commonly a personal mail delivery service. There will usually be 100 or more chalets/villas in the Urbanización and usually an “Asociacion de Vecinos” – that is a collective neighbourhood organisation. The term urbanization Legalizad probably refers to the fact that it is a legally recognised residential site, as opposed to a rustic site that has been built on without legal authorization and sometimes has no water or electricity supply etc. The more infrastructures then the less likely there will be an opportunity for developers to grab any land.
With regards to the repossession of land, we can only say that, as far as we know, this sort of thing has only ever happened with malice, further south on the Costa Blanca in the more commercialised areas on the coast, and not in the region where we are around Valencia city. It also seems to happen where the owners have many thousands of square meters of land. You should note that Valencia is a large province and it’s to the south of Valencia province in the more popular areas that this seems to happen. It happens rarely, but when it does, it always hits the main headlines.
This Valencian law has allowed unscrupulous developers to declare that they are developing a certain area, to build housing estates. They get a permit from the Town Hall and proceed to collect money and part of the land from each of the Fincas (country estates) where they say they are going to build. Sometimes they do build and make huge profits and sometimes no doubt they disappear with the cash! It is also widely rumoured that the Mayor takes a cut. The poor owner on the other hand only got recompensed at the old value of his property as farmland.