Spain Explained

New law affects home improvements

Last updated on September 25th, 2019 at 06:23 pm.

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.

New Call-to-action

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.

New Call-to-action

Ábaco advice

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.

See all

It might be of your interest...

Leave a comment



19 June, 2019 4:26 pm

My neighbour is having
My neighbour is having building work done on his property. Looks like a gazebo of some sort built with concreate and bricks.
How do i report this? and the builders are rude spit at my wife and through cigarettes into my

Suzanne O'Connell

24 June, 2019 6:05 am

Hi Paul

Hi Paul

You should make a denuncia at the Guardia Civil police station. You'll be told there what to do next. 

Mrs Rajinder Kalsi

6 October, 2019 4:59 pm

How do I stand, I have a property under the Town Hall Treasa de Confrentes, it was built in 1983, and on protected land. Can I now have the house legalised.

Would like to have feed back on my question if there are any time constraints.

Yours sincerely
Rajinder Kalsi

Oscar Paoli

7 October, 2019 8:00 am

It is difficult to assist you with just this information. We would need a copy of your Title Deeds, a copy of your IBI and we would have to check with your local Town Hall. Should you be interested in this service please contact us at
With kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers

Lorraine Raymond

14 October, 2019 9:33 am

We purchased a property 3 years ago
New neighbour wants to build on land between 2 properties a 2 meter wall all along our fence very close in fact
She showed me plan saying the land was hers
And she wants to extend her garden
But wall will cut off all our light and access to the back as well
This has been like this for 50 years
She hasn’t got planning permission
Where do we stand?

Oscar Paoli

15 October, 2019 3:32 pm

Hello Lorraine,
The best option right now is to notify your neighbour by letter and to report your neigbour to the Local Town Hall.
Should you need any assistance please contact us at
With kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers

Gill Garnham

4 March, 2020 1:02 pm

Hola, we are repairing the roof to an out building attached to our finca, we were thinking of using it as a seating area too, but we’ve had a visit from the Guardia to say we need a licence. We live in Torremendo and our townhall is Oruhuela. We are not on an urbanisation. What do you think please?

Oscar Paoli

4 March, 2020 3:35 pm

These types of works need a building permit from your Town Hall even if you own a Villa and are not depending on an urbanisation.
Should you need assistance with any permits, please contact us at
Kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers