Did you know that all changes made to your home, however small, need approval from the town hall in Spain? If you go ahead without the proper permission you may have to go through a process of having it legalised. Alternatively, you might even have to restore it to its original state if legalisation’s not possible.
Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the strict Spanish laws that govern home improvements. In some cases they have been told differently by their builder or even that permission has been sought and granted, when it hasn’t. Without the proper licences not only are the changes you’ve made vulnerable but so is any future sale.
What is the new law?
Previous laws dictated that illegal work could no longer be chased up by the authorities after a period of time. In the Valencian Region, after 15 years had elapsed, the town hall would no longer have the power to do anything about it. If the work had been done before the 20th August 2010, the period applying is 4 years.
However, this is now changing. In rustic areas, there will no longer be a time limit to act against these illegal constructions. The authorities will still be able to enforce the requirement for licences no matter how long since the building work took place.
Why it’s important
Because the work will be deemed to be illegal you will not be able to declare the work on the deeds and will always have the possibility that you will have to correct the situation. Not having the work registered on your title deeds can cause a number of problems in the future. When wanting to sell your property or when it comes to it being passed on eg. through inheritance, an incorrect listing can hold up the transfer.
Differences between what is specified on your deed and the property itself will become evident during the conveyancing or inheritance process. Before putting your property on the market you should contact a solicitor directly to help you apply for retrospective planning permission and to update your deeds.
We have always recommended that any building work is legalised with the correct licences or Architect’s certificates. With this new law and particularly for rustic property, it becomes even more important. There is still time to declare existing building work and have it registered on your title deeds.
You can contact our legal department for a personalised study of the possibility of obtaining the correct licences for works you have planned or legalising the situation retrospectively. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have and can check your property’s legal status on your behalf.