How those thousands of illegal properties in Andalucia stay in the market? What rights do their owners hold?
In Andalucía, the most recent decree is dated in late 2019. In this article, we look at the new Andalusian law on illegal properties and its implications for homeowners.
Why So Many Illegal Properties In Andalusia?
Until 2008, Notaries and Registrars could grant deeds of Finished New Works and Transmission and register Properties without checking on Planning legalities: that´s the core of the problem.
Of course, many towns and village councils granted illegal permissions or did not sanction the corresponding abuses.
As a result, illegal properties proliferated all over the region including in protected areas and remote countryside and Andalusia Properties.
How Many Illegal Properties Are There In Andalucia?
The estimation is of 327,000 units- Malaga being the province with the largest number: 68,600, followed by Almeria province with 55,265 and Granada with 52,927.
Why Did People Buy Illegal Properties?
From our experience over the last 15 years, in Andalusia Properties, many foreign buyers bought them without knowing they were illegal.
Documents and ceremonies at Notaries, together with the fact that they were being advised by a lawyer, made them think that all was fine.
Owners of illegal properties found themselves in a sort of legal limbo and, on many occasions, paying huge mortgages on properties with no legal value. Banks and valuators share part of the liability.
What Were The Previous Andalusia Laws On Illegal Properties?
This above-explained lack of control over illegal buildings led to the proliferation of such homes throughout the region and the government passed two new laws in 2012 and 2013, which were then modified in both 2016 and 2018.
Nevertheless, none of those provided a satisfactory solution to the problems facing homeowners and the environment.
What Does The New Law Aim To Do?
This New Law has been passed to minimize the effects of illegal properties on the scenery (visual impact), environment (sustainability impact), and resources such as water supplies
What Are The Effects Of The New Law On Individual Andalusia Properties?
Under the law, illegal properties have a new status known as AFO (asimilado fuera de ordenación in Spanish), which means that they are integrated outside usual planning regulations.
They belong to a Special Plan (Plan Especial) that opens the doors to transforming thousands of properties in Andalucia into legal ones.
What About Groups Of Illegal Properties?
Under the new law, with council cooperation, groups of illegal properties now form part of the Special Plan and as a result, getting access to power supplies will just take between 12 and 18 months against what it took before (around 9 years).
Are All Illegal Properties Included In The New Law?
There are some exceptions such as:
• Properties situated in protected areas.
• Homes located within 100m of the coast.
• Properties with a definitive legal sentence (i.e. with no room for appeal).
What About Properties In Areas Susceptible To Flooding?
The new law does not exclude homes on flood plains or in areas prone to flooding, but request homeowners to carry out costly work on their properties to prevent flooding in the future.
What Can I Do To Start The Procedure To Legalize My Property?
You should request that your local council adheres to the new law. Once this is done, you may request access to utility supplies.
Can Costaluz Lawyers Help Me?
Yes, we are specialists in helping foreigners solve problems with properties in Spain. We are on hand for advice on how to proceed with your illegal property in Andalusia under the provisions of the new law.
Get in touch to find out how we can help you now.
María Luisa De Castro
María founded CostaLuz Lawyers in 2006 and is the Firm’s Director. María is registered Lawyer number 2745 of the Cadiz Bar Association and is licensed to practice in all areas of law throughout Spain. Working closely with her team, María has developed the firm into one of the most highly regarded and trusted Spanish Law Firms acting for English speaking clients with legal problems in Spain.
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