Spain to nationalize thousands of holiday residences, report says
The government has stepped up the application of a 1988 law prohibiting the construction of housing near the water line, according to the daily El Pais.
Madrid -- Thousands of Spaniards and hundreds of foreigners fear seeing their seaside residences seized by the state in an attempt to protect the coastline from urbanization and pollution, the daily El Pais reported Monday.
The government has stepped up the application of a 1988 law prohibiting the construction of housing near the water line, according to the daily.
The government is now nationalizing such houses, whose owners complain that they are not allowed to sell or enlarge the properties, though they are granted the right to use them for up to 60 years.
The measures can also affect houses, which were built before the law went into force.
Britain and Germany, where most of the affected foreigners are from, are in touch with the Spanish authorities to protest over the expropriations, El Pais said.
Germany has requested information from Spain, diplomatic sources confirmed.
Some of the affected property owners have lodged complaints with a Spanish ombudsman or at the European Parliament.
The Spanish government has, however, won the vast majority of court cases over the law, sources of the environment ministry were quoted as saying.
Environmentalists have long been concerned about the impact of urbanization on Spain's coastline.