Buying a rural property - are any legal??

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Emma-Louise
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Buying a rural property - are any legal??

Postby Emma-Louise » Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:30 pm

Hello,

We are looking to buy a rural property in Andalucia - we were mainly looking at Cartama but have now widened our search to include Antequera and most places in-between as long as they are large enough to have good after-school facilities for our 3 year old as he is growing up! We also want predominately Spanish areas....

Anyhow, what on earth is the deal with the legalities?

I have been endlessly researching.......I understand that a house should have a license of first occupation or a Cedula de Habitabilidad to make it legally habitable.....

(I understand that without either of the above, a DAFO or SAFO could be an option.....not to legalise the property but to ensure it won't be pulled down...)

So why oh why are numerous agents and all sellers telling me that a Licence de primera occupation or a Cedula de Habitabilidad is not necessary!

Over the years so many of these houses have been connected the mains water, electric etc, they pay IBI - sometimes 2 lots - one for the land and 1 for the house, they have correct escrituras, they are registered on the land registry, some have official architects papers signing off the builds etc....

....but they don't have that one piece of paper

Surely therefore they are NOT legal.....so why do they all try and tell me differently? Some say its because the houses are too old for one - is there any truth in that?

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Re: Buying a rural property - are any legal??

Postby gerryh » Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:23 pm

My house, which I hope is perfectly legal, was first shown, as being a residential property in1946. I suspect the building is older than that. It doesn't have a licence of first occupation. That money making scheme, for the local town hall, hadn't been invented then.
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Re: Buying a rural property - are any legal??

Postby costakid » Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:13 pm

Be very careful. Lots of illegal property inland.

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Re: Buying a rural property - are any legal??

Postby dxf » Mon Mar 25, 2019 11:03 pm

Hola

The answer is complicated in some ways until you understand the law of administrative silence when after six years without any action against the house, it is allowed to be there for ever more. If proceedings have already started then beware in most cases.

So any house that is over six years old is reasonably safe to buy if your lawyer has said there are no proceedings against it. However be aware that if it is urbanised there will be associated costs.

There are many articles on various ex-pat websites but believe your independent solicitor. If you were in my area I would be happy to chat to you about individual houses and the pros and cons.

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Re: Buying a rural property - are any legal??

Postby Beachcomber » Tue Mar 26, 2019 11:57 am

Any property built on rural land in Andalucía since 2002 will be illegal unless it stands on a plot of at least three hectares which is run as a documented agricultural business.

Prior to that date, if a property has been built with a building licence and a project on non-protected land and as long as the property is still to be found in accordance with the original project (ie NO undocumented extensions) it should be possible to obtain a licence of first occupation.

A property may have an escritura and be registered in the property registry but this does not necessarily make it 'legal'. An AFO (also known by several other ridiculous acronyms) does not make a property legal. It is just a money making scam that has been dreamed up by the authorities and is a totally and utterly useless exercise and does nothing more than consolidate the illegality of a property.

Another scam to watch out for is properties, apparently with escrituras, that have been built on land that has been divided up physically but which has not been legally segregated. This is known as 'proindiviso'. This means that the whole plot of land is owned jointly and undivided by a number of people as opposed to each owner owning the particular plot of land on which the property stands and if just one of those owners gets into financial difficulties the whole plot could end up being embargoed as well as his own dwelling. This is a particular problem in the Almanzora Valley and the area around Albox in the province of Almería but applies across the whole of Andalucía.

There are three conditions you should comply with before considering buying any property in Spain.

1.- Do not buy a property in Spain unless you are able to do so without a mortgage.

2.- Do not buy a property in Spain unless you are able to retain a property in the UK even if you have to rent it out.

3.- Do not buy a property in Spain unless you can afford to lose all of the money.

I know from past experience that there will be howls of protests (especially from those in the property business) in response to this post but these conditions are as pertinent now as they were when I purchased my first property in the early 1980s, perhaps more so.

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Re: Buying a rural property - are any legal??

Postby El Cid » Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:04 pm

Beachcomber wrote:Any property built on rural land in Andalucía since 2002 will be illegal unless it stands on a plot of at least three hectares which is run as a documented agricultural business.


There have been almost no rural houses built in our area since then unless they meet those requirements. I know of only one.

Our house was built on 8000m2 and I'm not a farmer! The building licence is dated 30/12/2002 - and you think Brexit is getting close to the wire! It's probably the newest, legal campo house in Andalucia!

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Re: Buying a rural property - are any legal??

Postby katy » Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:43 pm

Good advice Beachcomber. I also don't understand why people use mortgage brokers?

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Re: Buying a rural property - are any legal??

Postby Wicksey » Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:58 pm

Beachcomber wrote:Another scam to watch out for is properties, apparently with escrituras, that have been built on land that has been divided up physically but which has not been legally segregated. This is known as 'proindiviso'. This means that the whole plot of land is owned jointly and undivided by a number of people as opposed to each owner owning the particular plot of land on which the property stands and if just one of those owners gets into financial difficulties the whole plot could end up being embargoed as well as his own dwelling. This is a particular problem in the Almanzora Valley and the area around Albox in the province of Almería but applies across the whole of Andalucía.


I know of 2 houses like this that have been sold in the last couple of years. One was a house we were trying to buy and offered to purchase the rest of the land not on the house's escritura, but the family would not sell it. We therefore walked away, but it has now been sold (after at least 12 years on the market).

Our own house was built in 2001 and apparently does not have any actions outstanding at the town hall but I can't remember if it ever had a first licence of occupation or not. We are not planning on moving in the foreseeable future so won't be getting a DAFO. The requirements could all change again in the future so we are not worrying about it. I would tell anyone considering buying now in the campo to exercise extreme caution though.

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Re: Buying a rural property - are any legal??

Postby gerrynag » Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:07 pm

We bought our house in the campo just over 18 months ago and even though it had all the building permissions, etc, our solicitor told us that we needed to ensure that the house had a DAFO. He then told the venders that if they wished to sell it they would need to apply for one, which they did. As the DAFO takes ages to go through, he insisted that they left money to cover any outstanding costs associated with the DAFO, which again they did. Basically, if you wish to sell a house in the Campo you will need a DAFO. Now a lot of people on here say it's just a money making exercise and things will probably change again, now there may be an element of truth in that, but that is not an excuse for burying your head in the sand. The DAFO was introduced while not legallising the property, gives you protection for it being torn down. It applies to all the illegal builds in the campo, which is basically every house that is either a new build or an old house that has been modified, say in the last 30 years or so.
So, if you are thinking of selling your house in the campo, you really need to get one, because very unlikely you will be able to sell it without one.

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Re: Buying a rural property - are any legal??

Postby Wicksey » Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:27 pm

I do know of 3 people who were lucky enough to sell without a DAFO (also one who bought without one). They were offered a lower amount than they were asking so said if you don't ask for a DAFO you can have it at that price. Luckily the buyers' representatives all agreed that it wasn't necessary. If I was selling certainly wouldn't do one in advance of finding a buyer.

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Re: Buying a rural property - are any legal??

Postby Beachcomber » Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:33 pm

If everyone (sellers and buyers alike) refused to go along with the AFO scam it would just die a natural death. After all, if a property complies with the requirements of an AFO it cannot be demolished anyway.

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Re: Buying a rural property - are any legal??

Postby dxf » Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:45 pm

Hola

It was a condition of the AFO at one time that the septic tank was one of the new three part plastic ones, not just the "hole in the ground" that most properties have. I don't know if that is still the case but I do know that there are several Ayuntamientos that will not issue an AFO

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Re: Buying a rural property - are any legal??

Postby gerrynag » Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:08 am

If you can find someone who will buy without a DAFO, that's great, but I wouldn't bet on it. I think anyone buying without one, knowing that one is needed is pretty silly, they are only passing on the problem until they come to sell.
It is a requirement that you have a new type Septic Tank, in fact the rules are more complicated than that, it needs to be a sufficient capacity for the size of the house and the run-off needs to go into a proper specified soakaway tank.

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Re: Buying a rural property - are any legal??

Postby Beachcomber » Fri Apr 05, 2019 6:34 am

The requirements for a septic tank vary from municipality to municipality. We live in an area which has a much lower specification at a correspondingly lower cost. When we had ours installed last year we opted for the highest specification because one never knows when the requirements will be changed.


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