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Be cautious of investing in Spanish homes

As Spain's development minister Jose Blanco launches a campaign to encourage people to invest in Spanish property, I want to warn local residents to be extremely vigilant.

During my time as an MEP, I handled many cases where people from Northern Ireland have lost houses and holiday homes in Spain and, indeed, in other countries across Europe, thanks to its unjust planning laws.

Local families that have invested in homes in Spain have seen those properties seized because of retrospectively applied planning laws.

In many cases, they are then required to pay substantial sums for demolition, or to rent the land that they have already bought.

In this context, Jose Blanco's promotional claims that Spain's property market is "transparent" and "sound" must not be taken at face-value.

He should sit down with the many people from Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK who have lost their entire life savings.

I have been campaigning in the European Parliament with other European colleagues for Spain to change these laws.

In the meantime, my advice to anyone thinking of buying a property in Spain would be to proceed with extreme caution.

JIM NICHOLSON MEP

Ulster Unionist Party

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