A source close to the Guadalhorce Valley municipalities reports that Alhaurin de la Torre has joined the list of local councils that are seeking ways to penalise property owners whose papers are not in order. Owners there who apply for any municipal services such as connection to the water mains or the sewage system face a bill of 6% of the value of their property if their properties are illegal. The council in Alhaurin el Grande is already making owners in a similar situation pay a fee of €3,000 for a building licence before they can be connected to municipal services. The source said most other councils will soon follow suit in an effort to comply with the Junta de Andalucia’s proposed Territorial Planning Law, which is aimed at making local council put their houses in order as far as illegal properties are concerned. He said the Junta is currently giving people what he called a “window of opportunity” to regularise their properties, which involves going through all the steps required by law for legal properties – architect’s plan, notarising the escritura and registering it with the local Property Register as well as the provincial register in Alora. He said those people who believe that the local council is going to wave a magic wand and “legalise” their properties for free, are in for a shock. He said people will be given time to sort out their papers but local councils cannot waive the fees for the architects, notaries and registries, which will still have to be paid. He said councils are now waiting for the Junta in Sevilla to tell them when they have to start dealing with all the illegal properties in their respective areas, which will be done on a case-by-case basis.