Rural Planning Issues

Rural Planning Issues – The laws regarding construction in rural areas have been amended and tightened in recent times.

Rural Planning Issues – If you intend to purchase a property in rural Spain you must make certain inquiries, if it is your intention to construct any building whatsoever. There are certain very important issues to be considered Spanish Planning permission can assist with such inquiries commencing with the types of land classification:

Urbano -land with permission to construct  upon which you would have a legal dwelling subject to receipt of Licencia de Primera Ocupación – see below
Urbanizable – land that may be urbanised for development and once urbanised upon which you would have a legal development –  subject to receipt of Licencia de Primera Ocupación
No urbanizable – land that is non constructible.

Since recent times only registered farmers can build or renovate property on rustic land, there are important issues to be considered regarding registering as such and in the payment of the appropriate taxes and insurances. Special permission is required to build or renovate residential property on rural land from the Regional Planning Committee, this requires a project from a qualified entity.
The local town hall can give permission, in certain circumstances for the construction of agricultural buildings (Almacenes).
Almacenes may not be used for residential use.

If you cannot move beyond the classification of the land you will not receive the appropriate building permissions to construct your property. Without the correct building licenses and certificates you will not obtain the Licencia de Primera Ocupación and all important Cédula de habitabilidad – the permit that confirms that the new build / renovation conforms to the relevant and minimum requirements for a habitable property and allows the property to be lived in legally.

To ensure that you do not fall foul of local planning laws you should always ask before you start any work on your property. You will probably be asked to submit a project – with the appropriate fees and taxes to the town hall – small jobs may only require a licencia obras menores – small works licence, but construction of an extension, terrace or new building etc will require a full building licence –licencia obras mayores. You should never start any construction work until you have the required paperwork stamped by the competent authority because if you do you run the risk of being denunciado – reported to the relevant authority – being fined, having the work stopped, possibly being refused the permission which may have normally been granted  and having the work that you have carried out demolished – at your expense.

All projects are to be presented to the competent authority in the manner that they prescribe, small works in general requires you to declare the nature of the work, the construction company that you intend to use, an invoice detailing the cost of the required works – you are taxed on a percentage of this value. For major works a detailed project completed by a registered architect will be required, this project will include all the paperwork expected by the competent local authority to include costings – upon which you will be taxed.

Your licence will either be granted or refused; if the latter and you consider the decision to be incorrect you can appeal. Details of the appeal procedure should be granted with any refusal.

Remember, do not start any construction work without the relevant permissions granted and all the paperwork in place. Ignorance of the law is not an acceptable excuse in Spain!

Always, after having carried out permissible property improvements such as  rebuilds, extensions, terraces etc have your Escritura updated to include the declaration of obra nuevas – new works, should you wish to sell your property at a later date you will not have problems with the backdating of such a declaration. This declaration is dealt with by your local Notary.

For a major project that involves building a completely new property on urbanised land a full project will be required by the local ayuntamiento. This will require the intervention of a fully registered architect, who will collate all the required information and provide drawings and costings in the required format. The architect should oversee the whole of the construction works to the granting of the Licencia de Primera Ocupación and Cédula de habitabilidad licences granted by the local authorities that confirms the property can be assigned to its legal use ( a dwelling) and that it is constructed to a certain standard fulfilling basic health and safety obligations, constructed on land that allows legally for such construction and that the developer has fulfilled his commitments to the urbanisation of the surrounding land. Without the Licencia de Primera Ocupación and Cédula de habitabilidad you should NOT occupy the property as it is not a legal property and you may find that the local authorities will impose certain sanctions on you – fines, legal action, imprisonment, the impounding of your property and the possible demolition of the property – all at your cost!

Constructing a legal property in Spain is not inexpensive – professional fees, substantial taxes to pay to the local authorities, construction costs, the application of services such as electricity, water, gas etc  all of this should be borne in mind before you decide to construct your own home in Spain.

You may be one of the very many people who have constructed an illegal property on land that has not been classified as constructible and you will not have received your Licencia de Primera Ocupación and Cédula de habitabilidad for obvious reasons – you should seek urgent assistance  for your Planning Solution.
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