In 1992, when our house was built a few kilometres to the north of Tavira, we were not resident in Portugal and had to rely on an agent to supervise the construction, which included the sinking of a borehole. Having no knowledge of Portuguese law at the time we had to trust that all the paperwork was in order.
Almost two years ago an official of the Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento Regional do Algarve (CCDRA) was in the area and asked us if we had a licence for the borehole. When we looked through all the documents for the house we could not find the said licence.
To cut a long story short, we were obliged to apply and pay for a new licence. The licence we were granted lasts for 10 years and we thought that was the end of the matter.
A few days ago, I received a letter from the CCDRA informing me that I am to be fined for not having a licence. The fine can be anything from 250 euros to just under 5,000 euros. I have 15 days in which to reply to them in writing.
I understand there may be dozens of people in the area, who are in the same boat, which got me wondering if this is happening throughout the whole of the Algarve.
We are not people who deliberately avoid paying for this licence. It is quite possible, for example, for someone to buy a house and not realise that the licence is not there or that a licence is even required, until someone from the CCDRA comes knocking on their door.
I have talked to people who are very angry about this. They have the required licence, but now, two years later, they are being fined. I personally think this is tantamount to harassment.