Keeping your home improvements legalConveyancing Thu, 12 Dec 2013
Once you have a property in Spain, it is likely that you will find some improvements you want to make to it. Perhaps a new patio, a conservatory or a lick of paint. If you look at an older urbanisation in Spain it can be surprising to think that the houses ever looked the same. People have built up, down and around their properties, added sheds, built garages, conservatories and extensions. There doesn’t seem to be one property on some urbanisations that hasn’t been changed in some way.
This might give the impression that making home improvements in Spain is down to each home owner’s prerogative. This is far from the case.
Different types of licence
All home improvements will need some form of building licence in Spain for them to legally go ahead. They are divided into two types:
- Minor work e.g. changing tiles
- Major works e.g. building an extension, conservatory or swimming pool
Licences must be applied for from the town hall. If it is a major work then you will need an architect’s drawing in order to get permission. You should be wary of builders who say that they have already obtained a licence on your behalf. Having a licence for home improvements is your responsibility. It won’t be the builder who has to have an extension demolished if the correct paper work isn’t in place.
Another factor you have to consider is the opinion of the community of owners. The community has to be consulted if you are planning to make changes to your property.
Your proposal should be raised on the next agenda and discussed. If permission hasn’t been granted from the community of owners in Spain and the building work has gone ahead you will either have to get their retrospective agreement or restore your property to its previous condition.
If for some reason you have completed building work without taking the proper measures then in most cases you can rectify the situation. You can apply for retrospective planning permission to make sure your home improvement is legal.
If you don’t have the correct licences, then there can be problems when it comes to bequeathing or selling your property. The specifications on the Title Deed in Spain must relate to the property being transferred. This won’t be the case if you have made changes and not applied for a licence or informed the correct people.
It might look like everyone breaks the rules. However, if your refurbishment is spotted by the local planning department you cannot use this as an excuse. If you haven’t followed the correct procedures you can be asked to demolish your extension or restore your property to the way it was before the refurbishment was made. Not the best outcome for your home improvement plans in Spain.