Spanish Valencian regional Government closing in on undeclared illegal buildings:
A significant number of Expats and even Spanish people are probably still unaware that last 20th August 2014, a new Law DOGV 5/2014 of July 25, of Planning, Urbanism and Landscape was implemented and published almost inadvertedly during the August break, by the Valencian Community.
This new Act has a direct impact on homeowners of illegal dwellings built on less than 10.000 M2 on rustic land, as well as on homeowners who made housing extensions to their properties that were never legalized. (i.e, swimming pools, garages, all kind of new buildings, etc)
In short, what you need to remember is that the new Act has dramatically changed for the worst the original deadlines related to the legalization of illegal buildings.
For example, before the act, it existed a reasonable deadline of 4 years, which implied that homeowners were able to legalize their properties by submitting a “certificate of old age or certificado de antigüedad in Spanish”, issued by a regulated architect. Obviously, the payment of legalization’s licences would still be compulsory required, but at least the building work could become legal.
However, Article 236 of the new Act implements a new deadline of 15 years, which in practice means that the owner of a dwelling that might have been substantially enlarged without having planning permission, will have to wait now for a new period of 15 years in order to be able to legalize it!
Bear in mind that the 15 years will start counting from the date the illegal property was built and not from the 20th August 2014 (the Act implementation’s date).
In short, we do not personally believe that this new Act is going to improve in any way, the legal rights of expats homeowners when dealing with the local Authorities. On the contrary, it looks like the new Act has been specifically designed to grant a great length of time to the Regional and Local Government as to investigate possible infractions on planning permissions that took place many years ago.
In fact, the real goal of this Act is not to facilitate an increase in the legal certainty, transparency and involvement from homeowners in the planning process, etc, but most likely is going to create more confusion on homeowners and foreign investors, who are at the mercy of these kind of outrageous, chaotic and frequently contradictory regional legislation, depending basically on the specific region of Spain, where the property is located. Moreover, this new Act will now make easier for these local and regional entities (which by the way are at the brink of bankruptcy), to collect money by imposing much more heavy fines on you. After so many years of widespread abuses and corruption from unscrupulous builders and local authorities, is this the correct path to restore public confidence especially on foreign investors willing to retire and live peacefully in Spain? I do not think so.
Therefore, should you ever need a reliable, 100% independent, honest, cost effective and efficient English speaking Spanish solicitor, to help you with your legalization matters, (or with any other problem), make sure you bookmark this page, visit our websites: www.ricorabogados.com and www.englishsolicitorinspain.com
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Thank you very much for your kind attention and we look forward to helping you!
Mr Oscar Ricor
“NON-PRACTISING ENGLISH SOLICITOR IN ENGLAND AND WALES”, under the “Solicitors Regulation Authority” (SRA) SRA number 519196 and practicing Spanish Solicitor Nº1247