‘We don’t have human rights!’ British expats in Spain blast illegal homes crisis

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A group of around 200 British pensioners living in the Spanish region of Murcia have appealed to the authorities for help over their lack of access to basic utilities. Because the expats’ houses were built without planning permission, they are not considered legal properties under Spanish law. Many Britons were encouraged to move into their homes in the sun, despite their builder ‒ unbeknownst to them ‒ not being authorised to build on the land.

In a bid to resolve their longstanding predicament, several of the elderly Britons got together and wrote to their local authority, Murcia Town Hall in February of last year.

However, almost a year later, their heartfelt letter, penned by local retiree Linda House, has gone unanswered.

The 72-year-old from Essex, who does not have access to drinking water at her home, is furious with the authorities’ silence on the illegal homes issue.

She claimed to Express.co.uk that the group of expats, who live in the tiny Gea y Truyols area of Murcia “don’t have human rights”.

She said: “We get no help from the UK with this situation. We’re being badly treated.

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“You talk about human rights. We don’t have human rights, not really.

“We haven’t got the right to water. We haven’t got the right to warmth. We can’t even get the heating benefit.

“It was six degrees here the other day. I still pay tax in the UK, but I can’t have a heating allowance.

“It’s just dreadful. We feel everywhere we go, we’re up against it.”

Murcia Town Hall did not respond to requests for comment on the claims it had ignored the expats’ plight.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We closely engage with the Spanish Government and regional governments on matters relating to UK Nationals’ rights.

“We encourage any UK National in need of consular assistance to get in touch with their nearest Embassy / Consulate or call the 24/7 phone line for support.”

Like many expats affected by the illegal homes debacle, Linda claims she bought the plot of land for the property in “good faith” in 2002.

It was only after she and her late husband, Vic, moved into their home the following year that they realised their property was “blighted with planning issues”.

Linda has since been forced to use agricultural water containing sediment, which is not fit for human consumption.

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The expat said that although she has now had a basic electricity supply, as many as two thirds of her fellow residents in Gea y Truyols still rely on a combination of “solar power and generators”, which have been installed at “great expense”.

Another elderly expat in the area, who wished to remain anonymous, told Express.co.uk how she also did not have access to electricity or drinking water at her home.

She said: “It makes us very irritated to think that in the UK, they are advertising for money to get water to countries in Africa.

“And in a European country, we are being supplied with agricultural water.

“It is like a third world country.”

The former university professor said she had retired to what was supposed to be her Spanish “idyll”.

However, she described her living conditions as “very difficult”, explaining that there is also no street lighting in her area.

Despite the expat not having access to basic utilities and some infrastructure, she still pays tax in Spain and on her pension in the UK.

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