Buying Property in Andalusia? - Check its Planning Status
When purchasing a property in Spain you must be especially careful to ensure that the planning status of the property is clear from the outset.
Failure to identify an existing planning issue could result in a very costly mistake.
Failure to identify a planning restriction could mean that any building alterations or enhancements that you wish to carry out are unlawful.
Recent legal changes in Andalusia have made the guidelines clearer and now one can simply say that a property purchased in Andalusia must come with one of the following documents attesting to its planning situation. No ifs, no buts, no maybes:
First Occupation Licence This confirms that the property was built in compliance with all planning and building regulations and is legally permitted to contract services of water and electricity.
FO This implies that the property pre-dates current planning regulations (1975) and therefore is not obliged to have a licence of first occupation being otherwise perfectly legal.
AFO, also called a DAFO This implies that the property was built in breach of the current planning regulations but has now been reviewed and accepted by the authorities in terms of safety, security and environmental impact. Properties with an AFO are legally permitted to contract services of water and electricity but they cannot be extended. You will however be given planning permission to perform maintenance works.
All of these documents should, of course, be checked for accuracy to make sure that they fully describe the property. If any part of the property appears to be missing start asking questions.
If you are still not satisfied the local town hall can be formally asked to provide a written report on its status.
Golden Rule: Get it in writing. Verbal agreements are meaningless.