LEGALIZATION OF ILLEGAL EXTENSIONS WORKS MADE TO AN URBAN PROPERTY
Dear clients and readers,
We have recently received the following enquiry from a client who owns an urban dwelling in Spain: The owners illegally built an extension to their dwelling. They wrongly believed that because the nature of the dwelling was urban, – (not a country house),- there was no need to apply for any licence as to carry out the intended extension.
Once the illegal works were completed, – (without planning permission),- the owners contacted our Firm because they wanted to update the original description of the property on the deeds, by signing a new Title Deed at the notary. (this is called “declaration of new building works deed o declaración de obra nuevo in spanish”).
LEGAL ENQUIRIES MADE TO THE TOWN HALL
As a preliminary step, we informed the clients about the necessity to carry out a background legal investigation of the property, as a whole.
To that end, we made an inquiry to the urban planning department in Torrevieja. By the way, for those who live in Torrevieja area, the urban planning is regulated by the “Plan general de Ordenación Urbana of Torrevieja (PGOU 86) in Spanish” and, in particular, the client’s dwelling was actually included in the planning “Plan Parcial Nº8 y Nº17 Los Balcones I y II (1964 – 1975)”. According to it, only two-story houses are permitted and the maximum built volume is 0.8 m3 for each square metre of plot. The complete features to comply were the following:
Name: Residencial B
Type: single houses / semi-detached houses / detached houses
Plot: 800 m2
Max. occupation: 40%
Max. height: 2 storeys
Buildability: 0.8 m3/m2
Due to the fact that the house had already reached this limit before the extension was made, so it was unfortunately not feasible to legalize it. The reason is because in the Comunidad Valenciana, the regulation called “Ley de Ordenación del Territorio, Urbanismo y Paisaje (Lotup)”, establishes a period of 15 years after the completion of the illegal works, in which the local authorities can sanction the owner for it.
CONCLUSION AND LEGAL RECOMMENDATIONS
The outcome of our investigations revealed that it was legally impossible to update the deeds until this period of 15 years has elapsed, because the town hall as well as the notary and the land registry office would require an official certificate signed and stamped by an architect, confirming that the works are indeed older than 15 years.
Consequently, our advice for the client was twofold:
First, to keep all proofs (i.e. invoices) of the date the actual works were finished, in case local authorities should intend to sanction the owners before this period has passed.
Second, very important. Do never, never again undertake any building extensions to a property (either rural or urban), without applying beforehand for all the relevant building permits and licences. Otherwise, the consequences could be very serious, including fines and even the demolition of the constructions illegally built on site.
HOW TO CONTACT US FOR FURTHER SPECIFIC ADVICE?
We hope this information is useful. Remember that this is not intended to be specific legal advice, just a general overview. As independent lawyers, we can help you by assisting you with all property issues as well as to oversee a licence application procedure, if required.
Should you be interested in receiving more specific information, (either about this particular tenancy subject or any other), you can contact our firm several ways:
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Finally, thank you very much for your attention, and in case you might have any question or doubt at all, again please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be glad to help you!
We look forward to helping you and the benefit of our “know-how”.
Mr Oscar Ricor
“NON-PRACTISING ENGLISH SOLICITOR IN ENGLAND AND WALES”, under the “Solicitors Regulation Authority” (SRA) SRA number 519196 and practicing Spanish Solicitor. BZN LEX INTERNATIONAL LAWYER