Today I wanted to say something about the ‘first occupation license’. When you think about buying a home in Spain, it is very important to check that the home has all the documents that the law requires to make it legal.
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One of these documents necessary for a home to be legal is the “first occupation license” (LPO), which is a document issued by the administration (City Council / Ayuntamiento) after verifying that a new construction has been carried out according to the architect’s technical project with the which work license was obtained (permission to carry out construction works), as well as that this new house is finished and ready to be lived in. With this document it a guarantee by the City Council that the new construction has been carried out in compliance with the urban regulations.
In some cases, this document is required to legalise new works that are carried out on an existing home, as long as these works comply with current regulations.
It is also a document that guarantees that the new home has all the necessary conditions to be used for residential use. Otherwise the house can be closed by the local town hall.
Another purpose of this document is to check that the house meets all the health and safety requirements.
This document is also necessary because you will need it to contract with utility suppliers when you want to put the house into use, for example, water, electricity, gas since all the supply companies will ask you for the document.
When making the public deed of the house, this license must be attached.
Obtaining this license is a guarantee for people who buy or acquire any property, since if someone buys or inherits a home that lacks a first occupation license, later they will have problems when it comes to legalising or registering it. The document protects buyers or acquirers, so before paying for a house, it is best to ensure that the house has all the documents and that they are in order.
In the courts of Spain, the sale of real estate without a first-occupation license is being declared null and void, as this may be due to the fact that it was not built in compliance with the law, or that the building is not safe to live in.
These licenses are intended for new construction housing and houses that have undergone comprehensive renovations. Also for when premises are built in an existing building but that due to the works have changed their configuration or use.
This license is necessary to be able to rent your home as a vacation rental as it is one of the documents requested by the official register of vacation rental homes for your rental activity to be legal.
It is true that many of my clients in recent years have asked us what happens with this document as they did not have it because their obligation to obtain it did not exist when they bought or when their home was built, for that the City Councils can grant substitute documents through the completion of a series of technical and legal requirements. This was a problem because many houses did not have this license, as it was not a standard requirement for newly built houses until the 1980s. But we have good news for homeowners in Andalusia who still do not have their LPO since the Andalusian Government has published a law that simplifies the regulation of obtaining the LPO for these homes that lack it.
As a general rule, we can say that the new law allows obtaining the right to occupy or use the majority of buildings located on urban land throughout Andalusia, by submitting the necessary legal documentation.
In other words, it will no longer be necessary for these homes to obtain the LPO from the city council, it is already replaced by a new ‘Declaration of occupation or use’ document that replaces the LPO. The declaration of responsibility of occupation grants the owner the same rights as the First Occupation License granted from the day of its presentation.
The declaration of occupation or use of the house or new works must be made when the buildings and facilities are finished Therefore, existing buildings or homes that have never had an LPO but are now enabled can obtain their occupancy right.
It is important to say that this change does not affect housing on undeveloped land, rustic housing, since they cannot obtain the First Occupation License since they are not officially part of urban planning.
The owner who signs a declaration of responsibility to acquire the right to occupy a property is responsible for compliance with the requirements established by law and will have to prove it by providing the necessary technical and legal documentation that meets the requirements. Therefore, it is evident that the declarations of responsibility for the occupation or the use should not be presented when the requirements demanded by the norm for their presentation are not fulfilled since it can carry criminal responsibility for the falsification of the data or documents provided or civil liability for not attaching all the required legal documents
If you are looking to buy or sell a property, contact us at [email protected] native Englsh speaking lawyers, 30 years of experience, whole of Spain covered.
Senior lawyer and Consul for Denmark.