British expats claim Spanish authorities are unfairly hitting them with fines

British expats discuss shop opening times in France

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One expat based in Madrid believes a penalty fine she received for a non-payment of ground rent was a “set-up”. She said letters demanding the ground rent tax on her property were sent to the wrong location.

The British resident in Madrid told Olive Press that letters demanding the tax were sent to the completely wrong location.

She said: “Meanwhile I kept asking for the bills and was told by Madrid town hall that they would come in the post.

“Eventually when I found out what had happened and complained, I was told ‘these things happen sometimes’ but I still had to pay the penalty for late payment.

“It stinks of a racket to deliberately make money and I have to wonder whether they are targeting those with foreign names around Spain as we are less capable of fighting back?”

The latest complaint follows several similar cases of fines charged to British expats living in Spain.

A British expat of 17 years, Gurney Davey, was forced to tear down his home in Spain after his home was ruled to have been built illegally in a court case.

Davey said he knew nothing about the court case and had paid for planning permission for the house.

He told Olive Press: “We got legal advice and went through a lawyer in order to get permission to build the home.”

He only found out about the court judgement from a neighbour who told him about the demolition notice after it was wrongly sent to them.

In another case involving the wrong address, a British mother and son were thrown out of their home.

The home belonging to British expat Victoria Jenkins was “secretly” sold at auction over a €4,000 debt to the local authorities.

Victoria said: “For months and months all the legal notices were sent to an address that didn’t exist. By the time I found it was too late.”

She had to leave her home on the Costa del Sol with her 14 year old son and said she “was never informed” of the fine.

The cases have left some British expats wondering if Spanish town halls are deliberately targeting them for cash.

The claims come as Britons living in Spain report that Spanish authorities are cracking down on expats without residency.

Diego Echavarria, a lawyer based in Marbella, told “The Spanish Consulate are being very tough now.

“They are turning down a lot of applications for stupid reasons. They’re being very strict.”

He added that Britons without residency permits in Spain could face being arrested or detained in future.

He said: “We haven’t noticed any detentions or arrests for being illegal in Spain. But that could happen if the police ask for paperwork.”

A British woman recently claimed she was denied entry to Spain as a border guard hadn’t stamped her passport correctly on exit.

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