ANDALUSIA CAVES.- A NEW SECTOR OF TOURISM DEVELOPMENT
Law to Promote the Sustainability of the Territory of Andalusia (LISTA), of December 1, 2021, establishes a new and revolutionary system by which the cave houses of Andalusia will be recognized as “house”, and they will be allowed to have all the privileges and benefits as a normal dwleiing. Therefore, its residential use will be allowed, and, what is more important, its use and tourist rental destination.
Allowing the use of Andalusian caves as tourist rentals is a great step towards consolidating the use of a historical and special type of life, protecting these unique constructions that characterize Andalusian culture and rural tradition. In addition to helping to preserve the cultural heritage, the possibility of developing tourist rental activities in these caves will promote the commercial and economic development of the area, helping to consolidate a business model based on respect for history, culture, and ecology.
What are “Casas Cueva”?
It is an excavation under the ground, taking advantage of the unevenness of the hills or mountains, and that presents an infrastructure that allows its use as homes. They can be found individually or collectively, even forming small villages.
Some of them come from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, which were ancient Moorish settlements in the area.
They are very common in the areas of Granada, Guadix, Benalúa, Baza, Cuevas de Almanzora, Cádiz, etc.
Ecological and sustainable homes
These are ecological constructions, and totally sustainable, and respectful of the environment. Precisely, the rise in energy costs, as well as the search for and defense of architectural solutions that allow and improve the efficient use of energy, make traditional Andalusian cave houses a model and example of sustainable architecture in the 21st century.
The interior of these caves allows a constant annual temperature of between 17 and 23 degrees Celsius, in addition to a very high degree of acoustic insulation and soundproofing.
The Law to Promote the Sustainability of the Territory of Andalusia (LISTA) will establish the bases for these caves to improve their habitability, as well as safety and health, resulting in safe and comfortable homes that allow them to live in them in a healthy way. and respectful with the environment. In addition, the sustainable use of the same as a tourist product based on its historical, cultural and ecological character will be guaranteed.
The Law will allow these Cave Houses to be registered and recognized at the Spanish system as dwellings, both for legal and fiscal purposes.
The law does not exactly establish the registration and legalization mechanism, but it is expected to be carried out in a similar way to the DAFO (Declaration of Assimilated to Out of Normative). That is to say, that a small project be presented with plans and technical documentation that allows the notary, the cadastre, and the property registry to identify exactly the size, type, services, and boundaries of the cave house to allow access to the land registry. the property, and the IBI, and thus allow its legal consolidation.
Therefore, it is expected that rehabilitation and conservation works can be carried out in these caves to improve their safety and habitability conditions or improve the urban and natural environment in which they are located.
In the same way, the law establishes that the City Councils may approve urban works in the surroundings and in the areas where these caves are located, such as works to reinforce the outer layers of the land to ensure its stability, which provide better security and habitability to these homes.
THE NEW NORMATIVE APPROVED FOR CAVE HOUSES IN ANDALUCIA
Decree 550/2022, of November 29, which approves the General Regulation of Law 7/2021, of December 1, promoting the sustainability of the Andalusian territory – Click here to see the law
Article 420. Definitions. For the purposes of this Regulation, it is understood by:
a) “Troglodytic habitat”: Traditional settlement form in which the occupation of the subsoil of a certain geographical area by means of caves predominates. The hills or hills, the caves and the free spaces associated with them (squares, patios, corrals), as well as the elements of communication (roads, streets, paths and sidewalks) and the evacuation of rainwater by runoff are part of the habitat. .
b) Cerro (“Hill”): Relief element, formed by one or several units of a geological and geomorphological nature that supports a troglodytic habitat.
c) “Cave”: Constructive unit developed in the subsoil artificially excavated in the ground or obtained by adapting a natural cave for its use.
d) “Barrio de Cuevas”: Area of urban land occupied by a troglodytic habitat.
What is a TROGLODITIC MUNICIPALITY?
According to Art. 421, “Troglodytic Municipality of Andalusia” is defined as follows:
It will be considered a “troglodytic municipality” that meets any of the following characteristics:
- a) More than fifteen percent of existing dwellings on urban land correspond to the cave typology.
- b) More than fifty percent of the urban land surface of the municipality is occupied by a troglodytic habitat area.
- c) The troglodytic habitat constitutes a singular element of the municipality with patrimonial values or of tourist relevance whose characteristics should be preserved.
What rules are applied to regulate the “Trogoloditic Municipality”?
1.- The construction and excavation of new caves is allowed: In areas of troglodytic habitat, the excavation of new caves may be authorized when the corresponding urban planning instrument allows it and provided that the applicable basic building conditions are guaranteed.
2.- Extension of existing caves is allowed: Changes of use and expansion works of existing caves will be carried out under the conditions established by urban planning instruments. In the absence of these, in the neighborhoods of caves, expansion works may be authorized with the aim of improving the safety and health conditions of the existing caves, provided that they do not involve an increase in the excavated surface of the cave of more than fifty percent. and are carried out in accordance with the construction, typological and aesthetic conditions that guarantee adequate integration into the environment.
3.- Rehabilitation and reform works are allowed: Rehabilitation and conservation works may be carried out in existing caves with the aim of improving their safety and health conditions, as well as those others that are necessary to improve the urban and natural environment in which they are located. are built.
4.- Caves must meet the legal conditions of safety and health. In the absence of a municipal ordinance that regulates the minimum safety and health conditions in existing caves, those established in article 407 will apply.
In what kind of land can the “troglodytic habitat” develop?
The land of this type of habitat will be delimited by the urban planning instruments, classifying them as urban land or rustic land.
About “urban land”
– The neighborhoods of caves that, being integrated into the urban mesh of the population center of which they are a part, have access by urban road, with infrastructures for water supply, sanitation and electricity supply and with a water evacuation system stormwater runoff.
– The “traditional rural nuclei of caves” legally settled in rural areas that serve as support for a singularized and identifiable population settlement may also be considered urban land, provided that they have been delimited by urban planning instruments and have access via public domain and with infrastructures for the evacuation of rainwater and wastewater and for the supply of drinking water and electricity under the conditions determined by them.
Regarding “rustic land”, in accordance with article 20.2, the urban planning instruments may delimit areas of rural habitat scattered with caves.
What are the legal conditions of the caves? – Article 424.
- The faculties of land ownership reach the flight and the subsoil in the terms determined by the management instruments. This power will be limited, in accordance with the provisions of Spanish civil legislation, in those soils in which several caves, roads or other elements of public domain overlap.
- 2. Existing caves will be able to access the property registry in the terms established by the legislation with the limitations that derive from what is indicated in the section
3.- In the case of “irregular caves” the provisions of Chapter IV shall apply. 3.
What duties do the owners of the caves have?
a) Preserve and maintain the land where the cave is excavated, the area covered by these and, where appropriate, the plant mass, as well as all the values that occur therein, under the conditions required by territorial and urban planning and the specific legislation that is applicable to it.
b) Preserve the geological conditions and geomorphology of the land occupied by caves, not altering the existing topography or the natural and scenic values of the troglodytic habitat.
c) Allocate existing caves and land in areas of troglodytic habitat to the use provided for by territorial and urban planning and comply with the legal duty of conservation in the terms established in this Regulation.
The duty of conservation of the caves. Article 429
- The duty of conservation and rehabilitation of the caves includes the maintenance and conservation of the outer layer of the land where it is excavated, even though it forms part of the free spaces, and the maintenance of the natural channels for the evacuation of rainwater.
- The Town Halls and the rest of the Public Administrations may dispose of, after disenfranchising, the lands of the hills that are in the public domain and that are essential to allow compliance with the minimum safety, health and accessibility conditions in the existing caves.
- The declaration of the legal situation of urban ruin of the caves will proceed in the cases provided for in the Law. When their rehabilitation is not possible, the resolution finalizing the procedure will establish the necessary measures to guarantee the security conditions in the adjoining properties and to restore the natural conditions of the land.
What are “Irregular Caves”?
“Irregular caves” are existing caves completed without a license or for which the term for the exercise of territorial and urban discipline actions has elapsed will be subject to the regime of irregular buildings in a situation of “assimilated to out of order”.
When the cave is intended for residential use, it must comply, as a minimum, with the following:
a) It must include, at least, a room that performs the functions of living and resting, a kitchen equipment and a separate bathroom.
b) The cave will have, at least, a chimney that acts as a ventilation duct and holes open to the outside that add up to the equivalent of five percent of its surface.
c) The kitchen and bathroom units will have a natural or mechanical ventilation system.
d) The dependencies destined to be, kitchen and rest will have openings open to the outside or will be contiguous to other rooms that have them.