Have you bought a property and made changes to it? Beware!

Have you bought a property and made changes to it? Perhaps you have added an extension, built a swimming pool or simply modernized your home. It can come as a surprise that each of these actions requires a building permit.

The building permits come in two forms: The ‘licencia de obra menor’ which applies to minor works, such as refitting your kitchen or tiling your patio, and the ‘licencia de obra mayor’ referring to major works, such as constructing a swimming pool or extending your property.

To obtain the ‘licencia de obra mayor’ you need to submit an architect’s drawings, together with a building permit application at your local town hall. The cost of the building permit will vary depending on the size of the work.

It still happens, that people are not made aware of the above licences’ and unfortunately this can lead to big consequences. If you do not have the correct building permit in place you can be fined. It will not be the builder, but you as the owner who will be made liable. Town halls have inspectors responsible for checking up on renovations and home improvements, and if they detect a building site without a licence they will take the necessary actions.

The sanctions include substantial fines which you must pay, on top of legalising the works that have been carried out. Note, that there is no guarantee that you will be given a retrospective approval. In some instances, depending on the regulations, you could be faced with a demolition order.

To avoid future problems and/or penalty charges, we recommend you register all changes made to your property on the deeds, including the construction of a swimming pool. The building permit will always act as proof of the developments made to the estate.

If your intentions are to sell, it is of utmost importance that your property meets the building permit requirements. The solicitor of the buying party will carry out the necessary checks to reassure that everything is in order. An unlicensed refurbishment can lead to a frustrating hold up in a sale, and in the worst case, you could lose your buyer.

If you are worried that your property has had unlicensed home improvements, we suggest you review your building work asking yourself the following questions:

  • Does the information on your deeds match the current state of your property?
  • Have you applied for the required building permit?
  • Have you notified the land registry of the work that has been carried out?
  • Have the community of owners given you the required permission? (only if applicable)

Should you not have the correct licenses it is important that you take immediate action to obtain them. Pellicer & Heredia can help you rectify the situation, and declare the works on your deeds, making sure everything is legal and giving you that peace of mind. For building permits or any other legal matter contact us today.

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