Spain Explained

The difference between urban and rustic land

1. Suelo Urbano (Urban Land = Residential)

This land can be legally built on. Development is permitted and the legal infrastructure for all necessary and basic services, including drainage, roads, pavements, electricity and water, is guaranteed by the Public Administration Office of the local or provincial authority as relevant.

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2. Suelo Rústico (Rustic Land = Non Residential)

This land is not currently within the relevant town hall’s approved development plan* and therefore does not have building permission. There can be no legal supply of basic services (drainage, roads, pavements, electricity and water).

To qualify for consideration for building permission a plot of land must be of a minimum size and range from 5,000 to 10,000 square metres depending on the regulations of the particular area. Anyone thinking of buying an isolated finca should have the land classification and the legalities of the building, checked before parting with any money.

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* There are times when every town hall needs to increase its urban area by converting some rustic into urban land. Before the land can be reclassified, a development plan has to be drawn up and officially approved.

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