Careful with illegal works on property. The Town Hall now has 15 years to request the demolition.

illegal works on property. The Town Hall now has 15 years to request the demolition.

The Valencian Law 5/2014: Territory, Urbanism and Landscape Planning, of the Valencian Comunitat, in force since the 20th of August 2014,  brings certain very relevant legal changes. One in particular, which we believe will have much impact on readers, concerns the administration’s term and deadline to request legalization of illegal works.

Consequences of Illegal Works.

When an action is performed that goes against the urban planning, for example work done without the appropriate building license, the Town Hall could take certain measures:

1) Legality or Physical reality restoration measures (restoration procedure): the Town Hall can require that the illegal work be legalised by obtaining the corresponding license, and should this not be possible, if it is contrary to planning for example, they could ask for the property to be returned to the previous physical state before the illegal work, sometimes meaning the demolition of work done.

2) Penalties: the Town Hall could start penalty proceedings, i.e.: impose fines for breaches of the planning and other penalties.  It is stated that the serious and very serious penalties will expire after four years, that is, that after this time we cannot be fined or penalized for an illegal work.

15 years deadline.

However in relation to “restoration procedures” the new law explicitly says that the administration will have up to 15 years to demand the legalization or where appropriate, the demolition of the illegal work, stating in its Article 236:

“The mayor, as far as no more than fifteen years has gone since the final completion of the works …done without license … or without complying with the conditions set on the license, will require the owner, that within two months applies for the appropriate planning authorization… This term ( 15 years) …will start from the final completion of the works…. 

This means that citizens will need to think carefully before doing any work without a license, and also, very importantly, when buying it is absolutely vital to conduct the necessary researches to ensure that no illegal work has been done on the property, or that it was done more than 15 years ago. As stated in Article 231.2 of the Law, these “restoration” measures have real character and therefore will also affect third parties who acquire the affected properties, such purchasers, heirs, etc.

If you have performed some works that have not yet entered in the Land Register, if you want to sell or buy a property in Spain, our firm can help.

The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues.

Carlos Baos (Lawyer)

Spanish Law firm.

White & Baos 2014 – All rights reserved

7 thoughts on “Careful with illegal works on property. The Town Hall now has 15 years to request the demolition.

  1. If I buy a house in Spain urbanisation, own the land but don’t have liscence of first occupation for the property which is partly finished, can the town hall have building demolished

    1. Thank you for your message.
      For the Town Hall to ask a building to be demolished will need to start an adminstrative process about urban legality.
      Only if the property is not legal and cannot be legalised, a demolition is an option.
      The fact that the property has not occupation license could be for diferent reasons.
      The key thing it is to check in this case, why is the reason.
      If it is because the house was built illegally, must be checked the possibility to legalise it.

  2. Does the “fifteen year” law relating to demolition, etc apply to edificios as well or just single floor homes (eg. villas). A solicitor has told me that it only pertains to the latter but I have been unable to corroborate this with other solicitors….ie. confusing information.

  3. How do I report my neighbour for constructions on his house which are not legalised……thr property is horizontal and we have not signed any documentation of approvall

    1. Thank you for your message.

      You can report illegal works to the community of owners, address it in the meeting and ask the president or the administration to be included in the matter to be discussed in the next community meeting.

      Also, it could be reported to the Town Hall, etc.

      Best regards,

    1. Good morning,

      The treatment of the illegal work, the deadline for the Authority to start a process, etc. depends on the different areas in Spain.

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