>UPDATE May 2013
The new Spanish Coastal Law 2013 came into force on 31 May 2013, it is officially known as “Ley 2/2013, de 29 de mayo, de protección y uso sostenible del litoral y de modificación de la Ley 22/1988, de 28 de julio, de Costas.” but loosly refered to as “Ley de Costas 2013”.
It states that the regulations which govern the law will be available within 6 months and that the authorities will be given 2 years to ensure that the houses in the public domain are entered in the property registry as public property.
In terms of deciding which parts of the 100 meter wide protection zone (servidumbre de proteccion) are to be reduced to 20 meters this will be done in theory within 3 months.
Reforma LEY DE COSTAS 2013 in Spanish

The reform of the Spanish Coastal Law was finally approved in Congress on the 9th May 2013
2013/05/10 Spain coastal law revamp sparks fears of new construction wave EITB.COM

UPDATE April 2013
The Spanish coastal law reform bill was further amended in the Senate and approved on the 24th April. Concessions are still the only way a property owner is compensated for the loss of the ownership of the houses and the terms of the concessions have worsened despite headline claims that they have been extended.  A charge is to be made for these new concessions and locals will now have to pay for any new promenades. Legal uncertainty will be made worse not better.
The bill will be sent to the Congress for final approval before the end of June.

On a positive note the concessions can be sold and several (12) coastal areas have been taken out of the public domain. The biggest advantages are for businesses not house owners.

UPDATE Mar 2013
The working group of MEP´s re the Ley de Costas have revisited Madrid on the 21-22 and they think that a “concession” is not proper compensation for loss of property rights and that the law is unjust with small property owners along the coast. They will now produce a draft report for the European Parliament.
The Senate have now received additional amendments and will soon be voting on the bill.(Limit is 29May)
24 Mar
Report On The Spanish Coastal Law Reform Bill
UPDATE Feb 2013
Feb 19th The modified Ley de Costas bill has passed the partial amendments stage where “discussions” in the Congress led to the bill being approved and will now be passed to the Senate for their approval.

Following a visit, on the 13th/14th of Feb, to Madrid by the working group re the Ley de Costas (from the EP´s Committee on Petitions) , the MEP,s were very critical of the use, by the Spanish government, of the Auken report as a basis for the modification of the regulations, when in reality they have not changed the law as required by that publication.
They also noted that the proposed changes would open the door to further speculation. This confirms that the European Parliament is keeping a close eye on the development of this law.
A member of the PNALC was present when the group met the petitioners.
EFE VERDE VIDEO Dont spoil Spain in my name! AUKEN says

UPDATE Jan 2013 On the 29th Jan 158 amendments from a variety of Parties were tabled for discussion in the next stage of the bill. The details can be seen here (in Spanish only) The likely date for discussion in the Congress is March 26th, the bill will then be sent to the Senate for their approval.

UPDATE Dec 2012 The bill passed the initial total amendments stage on the 13th Dec, where all 5 amendments proposed by the opposition parties were rejected. The following partial amendment stage will likely be in Jan 2013. the current version of the new law can be found in Spanish only here
UPDATE Nov 2012
The European Parliament (do not confuse this with the European Commission) has been keeping a close eye on the Ley de Costas especially in relation to the complaints made to the Committee on Petitions. During the presentation to the EP of the Activities of the Petitions Committee 2011, Margrete Auken took the opportunity in a series of amendments to highlight that :-
-the proposed changes to the coastal law do not appear to resolve the concerns about lack of legal certainty of property owners,
-the proposed changes to the coastal law need to ensure that it does not encourage decisions that are arbitrary, retrospective or asymmetric, but instead ensures due protection against discriminatory actions, a right of appeal, proper compensation and access to information;
the Coastal Law has had a disproportionate impact on individual property owners while at the same time having insufficient impact on the real perpetrators of coastal destruction who should be duly pursued and required to pay for the damage they have caused
LINK Amendments to Activities of the Committee on Petitions (2011)

UPDATE October 2012

After the endorsement from the European Commission, the original draft ANTEPROYECTO DE LEY was significantly modified (and is now no longer available in English). This new version was then approved as a PROYECTO DE LEY at the Ministerial Meeting on Friday the 5th of October 2012. It is now awaiting the final amendment stages through Parliament and the additional details will be specified and approved as “REGLAMENTOS” bylaws .
It all becomes law when published in the official State Bulletin BOE. However after that it could take up to 2 years to make the details of the DESLINDES available to the public online and in the property registry.
Until then you can never be sure if any particular house is in the public domain or not.

UPDATE July 2012
After continuous criticism, over many years, about the retroactive and arbitrary application of the (1988 LEY DE COSTAS) Coastal Law and following a change of Government faced with a financial debt crisis and lack of foreign confidence and investment, a draft amendment to the law was accepted on the 13th July 2012 for parliamentary approval.
A general idea of the draft changes was available in English on the Web Page of the Ministry of the Environment (+ agriculture, food etc) in order to persuade the European Commission to give it their approval.
LINK to Preliminary Draft Law on Protection and Sustainable Use of the Coastline (PUSoL) and Amendment of the Coastal Law (now not available- see text above)
The response from the European Commission was quick and supportive.
2012 08 03 European Commission press release IP-12-880_EN

The draft however contained many statements open to different interpretations and some may well have been against the Constitution. The PNALC sent a report to the department of the environment MAGRAMA suggesting amendments.

1988 Ley de Costas
The Spanish Coastal Law (ley de costas 1988) defines a public domain area along the coast and a further zone where special restrictions apply to private ownership. The aim is to make the whole length of the coastline accessible to the public and to defend the coast against erosion and excessive urbanisation.

Basically there are two zones separated by a demarcation line (deslinde). The two areas are, the public domain, in which there can be no private ownership, and then a private zone of 500 meters in which there are several areas and various restrictions to private ownership, the restrictions are very stringent nearer the sea but get more lenient as you get further away from the sea.

The public domain (dominio publico maritimo terrestre DPMT) has a very wide definition, including :-

1) the surf zone and the beach.

2)all areas where the sea waves reach or have reached in the worst known storms.

3)all areas where there is sand, shale or pebbles, whether or not it is built on or whether or not the waves ever reach there, up to a point where the effects of the coastal winds are negligible and the area is not necessary for coastal protection.

4) all areas reclaimed from the sea

Inside this public domain everything belongs to the state and you automatically lose ownership rights . If you can prove the property is legal and was built before 1988 you can apply for, as compensation, a concession to use the property for 30+30 years, otherwise it can be demolished. The concession however can be rescinded at any time by the authorities if it is in the “public interest” and the only indemnification is the cost of the buildings on the property, ie. not including the land. You cannot sell the house or concession (but you have to continue paying the mortgage and all running and maintenance costs) and you cannot leave it to your children (unless they are living there when you die).

The private area on the other side of the demarcation line (deslinde) is split into two zones, the first 100 meters is the protection zone and the next 400meters is the zone of influence.

Inside the 100 meter protection zone private property is allowed if legally built before 1988 and on land officially recognised as urban land in 1988 and even then it must be a minimum distance of 6 meters from the demarcation line or else it can be demolished.

No new build or extensions are allowed and you need permission to do any maintenance.

The protection zone is reduced to 20 meters if the urban land was consolidated before 1988.

Within the zone of influence restrictions still apply but are less intrusive, you are allowed to build new property, but for example, you are not allowed to build lines of high rise properties.

The “Association of people affected by the Spanish coastal law” (PNALC) is a group of people who own legal property but are seriously affected by the coastal law. Its aims are to:- publicise the issue nationally, within Europe and globally: monitor the application of the law: when necessary advise members how to defend against illegal application of the law. We also want to help the authorities to change the abusive application of the law.

We think that sometimes this law is being applied in an arbitrarily and retroactive way and many property owners are facing “legal uncertainty”




Nov 2012 Proposed Amendments to Spain’s Coastal Law – SPANISH PROPERTY INSIGHT
2012 08 03 European Commission press release IP-12-880_EN
2012/07/13 Preliminary Draft Law on Protection and Sustainable Use of the Coastline and Amendment of the Coastal Law MAGRAMA
20122011/06/28 VIDEO S.O.S. : The Beaches of Denia and Els Poblets – Spain (English)
2011/06/12 The application of Law 22/1988, of July 28, of Coasts is actually a highly complex issue, which deserves to be properly examined from a juridical point of view. GREENS/EFA group EP

2011/06/14 Conference EU Property Rights and Wrongs ELDA
2011/06/06 Stop the Spanish Property Roadshow: Open letter to David Lidington
2011/05/04 Buying in Spain is not as safe as houses THE TELEGRAPH

2011/05/04 José Blanco ignores the protests and sells Spanish real estate in London TYPICALLY SPANISH

2011/05/03 Spain’s Illegal Homes Overshadow Minister’s U.K. Sales Pitch BLOOMBERG
2011/03/28 Sorry senor, but we want you to cut 19ft off your property DAILY MAIL (UK)

2011/02/27 The beginning of the end of the Spanish Coastal Law EL PAIS
2011/02/16 Environment Ministry gives way to the Xunta over Coastal Law in Galicia TYPICALLY SPANISH
2011/02/10 Spanish Senate votes to reform the Ley de Costas Coastal Law

2011/02/04 I have been asked by ITV in the UK to try and find some people affected by the LEY DE COSTAS.

2010/01/27 Spanish coastal law Question in European Parliament
2010/01/26Marta fights for UK homeowners in Spain UKIP
2010/01/20 VIDEO Marta Andreasen presses Zapatero on demolition of coastal houses in Spain UKIPmeps
2010/01/15 Open Letter from Michael Cashman MEP to the President of Spain, 15th January 2010 ALMANZORA-AU
2010/01/12 British ex-pats take to the streets in Spain to protest against plans to bulldoze their illegally built homes EYE ON SPAIN.COM
2010/01/05 Spain’s property shame TELEGRAPH


2009/11/25 /No demolitions in Murcia under “Coastal Law” in coming months CASA BILL.COM
2009/11/23 The pain in Spain INVESTORS CHRONICLE.CO.UK
2009/11/11 They’ve bottled it! THE OLIVE PRESS
2009/11/07 Justice plea by Britons caught up in Spanish homes scamTHE SCOTSMAN
2009/10/29 House today, gone tomorrow TELEGRAPH
2009/10/28 Not our problem! THE OLIVE PRESS.ES
2009/10/06 Costa Blanca Visit By Margrete Auken AMLASPAIN.COM

2009/09/30 Margrete Auken MEP Condemns LRAU… ROUNDTOWN NEWS
2009/09/24 Safe as Houses ROUNDTOWN NEWS
2009/09/12 Coastal Homes Under Siege ROUNDTOWN NEWS

2009/07/10 New coastal boundary creates problems for villa owners near Javea SPANISH PROPERTY NEWS

2009/06/01 Campaigners warn of threat to one of Spain’s last pristine beaches THE GUARDIAN

2009/05/30 Battle Plan ROUND TOWN NEWS
2009/05/20 VIDEO proposal to change Spanish coastal law PNALC
2009/05/15 Duchess of Alba may lose home to Spain’s land-grabbing coastal law TIMESONLINE.COM

2009/04/30 Bulldozers move in to demolish coastal properties in Cantabria, Spain TYPICALLY SPANISH
2009/04/25 Sam Dunn: ‘Is now the time to gamble on the Spanish property market?’ THE INDEPENDANT
2009/04/19 Spain faces massive demolition along coastline RADIO NETHERLANDS
2009/04/16 Demolished homeowners (Len & Helen Prior) can rebuild their lives ………. THE OLIVE PRESS

2009/03/26 European Parliament votes in favour of the Auken report which calls for EU funds to Spain to be frozen until real estate abuses are corrected TYPICALLY SPANISH
2009/03/26 EU Parliament finds Spain guilty of widespread property abusesSPANISH PROPERTY INSIGHT Mark Stuklin
2009/03/22 Too close to the edge THE SUNDAY TIMES Mark Stucklin

2009/02/16 Petition seeks British PM support for expats in Spain INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE
2009/02/12 Petitions Committee criticises “extensive urbanisation” practices in Spain EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
2009/02/06 Government U-turn on coastal property law COSTA ALMERIA NEWS
2009/02/04 Brits fall foul of Coast Law COSTA BLANCA NEWS
2009/02/02 Government moves to ease controversial Coastal Law EL PAIS

2009/01/23 Spain told to put house in order COSTA BLANCA NEWS
2009/01/22 Spanish MEPs close ranks in response to EU criticism SPANISH PROPERTY INSIGHT


2008/12/27 Ley de Costas causing “dramatic economic problems” for affected owners SPANISH PROPERTY INSIGHT
2008/12/12 VIDEO Priors Demolition in Vera
2008/12/10 EU call for action against Spain

2008/11/13 VIDEO Spanish Coastal Law = COASTAL LAND GRAB. ITV News UK

2008/10/28 The governments of Britain and Germany are asking Spain to explain what they consider to be unfair expropriations EXPATS
2008/10/20 El País highlights foreigners affected by the Spanish Coastal Law TYPICALLYSPANISH.COM
2008/10/09 Tenerife village demolished under coastal law DAILY TELEGRAPH
2008/10/08 Bulldozers start to demolish illegal homes in Tenerife SPANISH PROPERTY INSIGHT

2008/09/30 Valencian developer to pay buyers 3 million Euros in compensation for misleading marketing
2008/09/01 South Of Watford La Ley De Costas

2008/08/26 Boost for British expatriates who lost land in Spain
2008/08/03 What’s going on in the Spanish property market? Q2 2008 report
2008/08/03 Farewell Benidorm, as sun, sea and sangria lose their charm
2008/08/01 In praise of … Spain (stretches of coastline laid waste by the bulldozer )

2008/07/29 Clouds over costas as Spanish housing slumps
2008/07/28 Spanish house sales dive by 34%
2008/07/20 Special 20th aniversary report on -Ley de Costas- by Alfredo Maso in Arenales del Sol
2008/07/10 four key legal issues surrounding the safe purchase of Spanish property,inc.Ley De Costas
2008/07/06 Spain: Dark days for Brits who sought a life in the sun

2008/06/15 Built too close to the sea IBIZA A-Z.COM
2008/06/08 La crisis arruina a los jubilados britanicos que se instararon en España

2008/05/01 Foreign owners affected by the ‘coastal law’ fight back SPANISH PROPERTY INSIGHT

2008/04/21 Spain kicking villas, apartments off its coastline:- HONOLULU ADVERTISER
2008/04/20 Spanish push for clean beaches targets beloved seaside villas:- Ciaran Giles TAIPEI TIMES
2008/04/19 Spain cleanup jolts property owners HERALD TRIBUNE
2008/04/18 Cleanup Jolts Property Owners In SpainCiaran Giles AP
2008/04/07 Couple’s home nightmare in Spanish property grab Mark Summers NORTHERN ECHO

2008/03/30 Government reiterates coast battle
2008/03/27 New threat to demolish Britons’ Costa homes Fiona Govan TELEGRAPH
2008/03/21 Britons owning houses on the Spanish coast will have their homes demolished, it was claimed yesterday.
2008/03/20 Thousands of Britons face destruction of their Costa homes in Spanish government crackdown Tom Worden DAILY MAIL
2008/03/18 Lanzarote hotels facing demolition Graham Keeley OBSERVER

2008/02/29 British Shun Buying Homes in Spain
2008/02/03 Battle of the bulldozers leads Brits to shun Spain Tom Worden OBSERVER
2008/01/11 Thousands could lose place in the sun Tom Catan THE TIMES


2007/11/04 Too close for comfort Is the wrecking ball about to smash into swathes of properties built too near the beach? Mark Stucklin THE TIMES


2006/09/04 La piscina d’Espanya (version in English at bottom of page)