TLA lawyers have been for more than 15 years  dealing with transactions and cases of properties in urban and rustic land areas in all the Spanish territory. From Catalonia (Tarragona and Barcelona), Valencia Region (Castellón, Valencia and Alicante – Costa Blanca), Mallorca & Ibiza, Murcia, Almeria (Almanzora Valley), and Malaga.

As result of our wide experience, and the acknowledege of different regional normatives, we have prepared some of the aspects to consider when buying/selling properties in both, urban, and rustic land (countryside), with special considerations to the problems that we recommend you to avoid when buying properties in Spain.

In this report, and due to our experience in the area, we have detailed some of the common problems which may affect the legal consideration of properties and constructions at the Urbanisation «Aldea de las Cuevas» in Benidoleig – Alicante- Costa Blanca North: 


Currently, the classification of the land in «Aldea de las Cuevas» is «SUELO URBANIZABLE»URBAN LAND NON CONSOLIDATED.

The term “non consolidated” means that the urbanisation where the property is placed is not finished in all the necessary infrastructure to be considered as a “completed” urbanisation, as pedestrian areas, asphalt, improvement of water and electric distribution, and others. For this, even it is an old urbanisation, there must be approved a plan to execute the necessary works and infrastructure to be considered as a complete urbanisation.

The indicated urbanisation is located in SAPU 2 – Aldea de las Cuevas, an «urbanizable» land/sector that, currently,  has not any urbanisation plan approved.

The urbanisation does not fulfill and it is not provided with all the urban services and infrastructure to be considered as «completed urbanisation».

Among others, there is not mains sewage on the urbanisation, and the existing properties and constructions are treating residual water through individual tanks/systems which might not be approved by current legislation and normative. Consequently, properties and owners at the urbanisation are not controlling the residual water generated, and they may be contaminating the environment of the area with grave impact and consequences. 

There is no land subdivision project approved for the division of the plots (this is called «Proyecto de Reparcelación«),  which, if presented and approved in the future, will derive in the improvement of the urbanisation infrastructure at the urbanisation, with subsequent costs and charges to be paid by the owners of properties there.

Urbanisation works pending to be completed are:

    • More and better pedestrian areas
    • More and better traffic roads and parking space
    • Mains sewage system or modern and certitied septic tanks with depuration/treatment service.
    • Others…

As result of this, the Town Hall does not accept to carry out the maintenance of the whole urbanisation called “Aldea de las Cuevas”. So, till the urbanisation works on the whole urbanisation are complete, the maintenance of the community areas must be on account of the owners of the properties there, such as:

  • Maintenance of roads
  • Cleaning of public areas
  • Garbage/residues collection, etc.

Possibilities of building in the area:

Till the urbanisation is complete, and following the current normative, it is not possible to build any building in the area. So, building licenses are in suspense.

And, what about Certificate of Habitation/ Occupation License?

Possibilities to obtain/renovate Certificate of Habitation:

Consulted the Town Hall about the possibilities of renovation they inform the following:

  • If there is not certificate of habitation, the Town Hall might reject/refuse to approve it.
  • If there is an existing certificate of habitation, then, it should be renovated.
  • Renovation of an existing certificate of habitation passes from the following process:
    • An independent architect must visit the property and generate plans and certificates etc from all the constructions.
    • With the rest of the documents of the property, to prepare a dossier and present it to the Town Hall.
    • If necessary, deeds of the property must be updated (click here to know more), and also updated plans must be presented to the Catastro to update constructions elements (the ones calculated to pay IBI-Council Tax) – Click her to know more about update Catastro records
    • The Town Hall, once processes the file, may decide to approve it, or to send an inspector to detect if the property is in the same conditions of size as when initially built, In other words, they check if the property has been extended without the proper license.

So, which are the possibilities to obtain the renovation of the certificate of habitation?. It passes from the point of the house, and the constructions in the plot to be the same as from the date in whcih it was built.

What is is the consideration of the existing buildings abd constructions in the area?:

They will be considered as «fuera de ordenación» («out of normative»).

Consequences of houses considered “out of normative”:

  • If  constructions built with no license have not been penalised by the Spanish administration in 15 years after their construction date, it is not possible to be penalised later, nor to be demolished by the Spanish system. So, from a legal point of view, the construction is legally consolidated by the time.
  • Existing constructions are respected in their size, but it is not possible to build a new construction element or even to extend the existing ones.
  • Also, due this fact, the Town Hall respects the existing constructions, but cannot be extended. So, new constructions in the property cannot be built.
  • The Town Hall allows inside reforms on these kind of properties. But, due to the fact that the property is out of normative, the Town Hall will not approve a license to reform “essential structural parts” from the building like foundations, roof, etc. The Town Hall will admit to “reform” the existing house, and “repairing” the existing structure, but not “remove” from the old parts to install new ones. For example, in the case that there is a “fire”, or inundation which may affect the house on its structure, the Town Hall may not give rights to “rebuild” the property. So, as conclusion, the Town Hall allows internal reforms to maintain the construction, but not structural reforms from bines, foundations, change of roof, etc.
  • The property receives the consideration of “out of normative” when it has not been penalised during the 15 years after construction. For this, a certificate from the Town Hall is needed to verify this point. It is called “Certificate of non-Infraction”.
  • These properties cannot obtain the qualification to be rented and registered as «Touristic rent».

As the property is “out of normative”, then, there may be problems to obtain renovation of the certification of habitation. It means that there might be problems in the future to change/renovate contracts of supply for water and electric on these properties.

Is there a way to solve all the above-mentioned problems with these properties?:

Recent normative at the Valencia Region: Ley 5/2014, de 25 de julio, de Ordenación del Territorio, Urbanismo y Paisaje, de la Comunidad Valenciana, offers a solution which passes from present a plan from the owners where:

  • The urbanisation infrastructure in the area is improved, and it has the compromise from the owners to carry out the works. For this, an individual study made by specilised lawyers, architects and engineers should be made in order to check the eventual adaptation of the works to the law.
  • Owners install individual septic tanks with certified and guaranteed treatment

If a plan or urbanisation is presented to the Regional Government, and it is defintely approved, and the owners carry out the necessary works to improve the urbanisation works required by normative, they will have the following benefits:

  •  The house will be considered a “totally legal” house, so it will not be anymore considered as “out of normative”, so, it will be allowed existing constructions to be rebuilt, structural reforms, etc.
  • The property will have the Certificate of Habitation