Monday, March 27

The ‘squatter’ of a Carlist castle in Santander manages to keep it for living there for more than 30 years

The occupants of the Corbanera Castle have been left with the property of this fortification from the Carlist Wars, declared a Site of Cultural Interest (BIC), after exercising ownership for more than 30 years. A report from the University of Cantabria has ruled that the occupants have exercised a figure called usucapión that grants the property if it is exercised as the owner of a property in a peaceful manner for a period of more than three decades.

When exercising ownership of a BIC, the owner must take charge of maintenance and facilitate access for visits, according to experts consulted. The castle is currently closed to the public and the Santander City Council, having seen the report it commissioned from the UC, asks the Government of Cantabria to take charge of its maintenance and upkeep.

This was explained this Wednesday by the Councilor for Heritage, Víctor González-Huergo, who pointed out that both the opinion prepared by the University of Cantabria and the report by the municipal legal services concluded that, at present, the building does not belongs to the City Council, but is a privately owned Asset of Cultural Interest, “so it lacks the powers to act on it.”

The opinion on the ownership of the Corbanera fortification of the year 1874 located in Monte establishes in its conclusions that the ownership of the property is private and, therefore, the autonomous community of Cantabria is obliged to exercise all the functions that the legislation of the branch assigns it in relation to properties formally declared of cultural interest (BIC).

Both the opinion prepared by the University of Cantabria and the report of the municipal legal services conclude that, currently, the City Council lacks the powers to act in this matter

The study has been prepared by Professor Juan Baró Pazos, Professor of History of Law at the UC, and by Professor Javier Barcelona Llop, Professor of Administrative Law at the UC, and consists of 154 pages detailing the evolution of ownership of the castle from its origins to the present.

In this way, the opinion explains that, from an undetermined date and up to the present moment, the property has been occupied by several families, which has led to an extraordinary usucapion when all the requirements for it to take place are met: possession as owner, publicly, peacefully and uninterruptedly.

And, it is also specified that, although the beginning of the concept of owner can be established in 1950 or 1961, the time legally required for the property to be acquired by usucapion has comfortably elapsed.

This opinion has also been ratified in the report of the municipal legal services in which it is shown that the City Council “lacks Sunday ownership or any other real right over said property, corresponding to an individual”.