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Our Spanish Dream
Tuesday, 25 November 2008

"...4 ½ years ago after a brief stay in Chiclana we decided to have our last adventure and move to Spain.  Our 4 children and grandchildren were amazed but gave us their full support. Our friends of over 40 years thought we were mad but for us it was a challenge!  However the challenge was certainly very much bigger than we ever imagined.  We are both in our 70’s and finally arrived in Spain 4 years ago to enjoy our retirement in the sun.  In the last 4 years we have had continual hassle with paint falling off all our ceilings, water supply, sewerage, blocked waste pipes, electric and the final straw to be informed 12 months ago that the builder did not have a license to build the property.We bought the property (which was 1 of 4 built by the builder) in November 2004 through a reputable Estate Agent and used the services of a solicitor recommended by them who was based in Cadiz.  Deeds were signed with the Notary in Chiclana.  We thought we had done everything correctly.  We were not informed about certificate of 1st occupancy, or about legal electric.

Water:

On moving in we found the water from our well in the garden was pure salt and unable to use except to flush toilets.  We were without water for 10 weeks!  During this time the builder dug 2 more large holes in our garden but again pure salt. Finally he provided a well (to be shared by our immediate neighbour) on a plot of land some 500m from our property.  We requested time and time again for the well to be made secure but to no avail.  After 3-4 months another neighbour decided to put himself on our well, and every week the well ran dry and the builder provided a 1000 liter holding tank.  Over the last 3 years we have bought 3 pumps (due to theft and vandalism), had our water pipes cut, blocked with mud and sand and more often than not very dirty water.  During the summer of 2006 because our pipes had been cut and blocked we were without water for 6 weeks waiting for the builder to repair and make the well secure and the only access to water was to run a hose pipe from our neighbour’s stand pipe to our holding tank.  Now nearly 4 years later we still do NOT have a continual supply of water, there are now 5 households on this well and within the last few weeks, someone has cut our electric supply to the well and connected their own supply.  The builder is not interested and said it is our problem to sort out.  The only solution is to buy more holding tanks and buy in water.  As pensioners this is an expense we can ill afford.

Blocked pipes and septic tank:  

During the first six months of occupancy we had blocked waste pipes due to pipes being stuffed with lots of plastic which resulted in our kitchen being flooded with sewerage plus the septic tank had not been emptied of the water put inside for testing!!   This summer we had blocked sewerage pipes again due to septic tank being wrongly installed. Once again this was a major job to put right at our own expense. 

Electric: 

All 4 properties had their individual meters inside the property , there were pylons and cables outside and initially we were told the builder would collect money due from each property.  (I believe at this time it was legal to do this, if not we were certainly not told) in any case this did not happen, although the builder at one stage requested over 1,000 € for our usage, but we did not pay because none of our neighbours had received a similar request!   In November 2006 our electric was cut off.  After 7 days without electric our builder supplied a generator feeding 5 properties, the builder paid for the fuel but we had to fetch the fuel on a rota basis, this continued for 5 months.  Electric was restored in April 2007 and the builder promised he would be supplying poles, cabling etc to our properties within a few months at no expense to us..  In last 18 months the electric has been cut twice for 3 days and 5 days respectively.  Builder still telling us (through a 3rd party) not to worry it would be sorted at no expense to us!  Within the last 6 months, poles and cabling have been erected.3 weeks ago Frio Electric informed us that the builder had not paid the bill and in order for us to be included in the current project we must pay 5,000€. We have requested the money from builder and he promised to pay us back but although requested several times we have not received this in writing.  Because of the stress of the possibility of  being cut off again (every time we see a white van  entering our road we have palpitations!) we have decided to pay this money from our small amount of savings in order for us to receive a contract and meter even though we still do not know the outcome of the building license!

This saga could have been avoided in the beginning if:   

  • The developer had checked the quality of the water before building.         
  • The Estate Agent and Solicitor had checked that the developer had a licence.

 

This is a very brief account of all that has happened and many of our friends have remarked that they do not know how we have kept sane!  To date we have spent approximately 9,000€ (this does not include any lost interest) since taking occupancy, due to the incompetence of the builder as well as the estate agent, solicitor and the Notary, and we still have an outstanding bill with our lawyer.  The stress has caused high blood pressure, depression and insomnia..."

"Two very stressed disillusioned Pensioners"

 

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