Balearic Government considers ditching the Licence of First Occupation for new builds

New urban-planning laws being drafted by regional Government of the Balearics envisage getting rid of the Licence of First Occupation, meaning less red tape for developers and their clients.

Many foreigners buying property in Spain have come unstuck over the years with the Licence of First Occupation (LFO), known in Spanish as the Licencia de Primera Ocupación (or in the case of refurbished homes the Habitation Certificate – Cédula de Habitabilidad). An LFO / Cédula is needed to get the utilities connected, but can only be obtained if the property complies with all the planning regulations. Many new homes built during the boom failed to get an LFO due to planning infractions.

The draft law gets rid of the LFO, which could save buyers time and anything between 1,000 and 5,000 Euros. Proof that the end of building works document has been submitted by the architect and accepted by the town hall will be enough to legally occupy a new home and get the utilities connected, if the draft becomes law.

Many aspects of urban planning laws are controlled by the autonomous regions, so if this change becomes law in the Balearics it won’t affect other regions, where LFOs will still be required.

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One thought on “Balearic Government considers ditching the Licence of First Occupation for new builds”

  1. Campbell D Ferguson, Chartered Surveyor in Spain

    This is bad news for property buyers. As it reads it appears to take away the local authority’s confirmation that the property complies with the planning regulations. The architect’s Fin de Obras (end of building works) completion certificate confirms that in his opinion the property has been built to meet all the building regulations. After it was submitted the local authority then issued the LPO (first occupation licence) confirming that the property met all the planning requirements. Now it reads as if the utility companies can connect the property as soon as the architect submits his certificate. That means buyers will be able to live in buildings that have still not been legally passed as meeting the planning laws. Seems that another loophole is being created to enable builders to walk away from developments leaving individual owners with the responsibility for complying with any planning infractions. More information needed I think.

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About Mark Stücklin

Mark Stücklin is a Barcelona-based property market analyst and consultant, and author of the 'Spanish Property Doctor' column in the Sunday Times (2005 - 2008). He can be reached by email on ms@spanishpropertyinsight.com.