Planning AMNESTY in Andalusia

Andalusia property amnesty 2019
Houses with planning issues in Almeria, Andalusia

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Article copyrighted © 2019. Plagiarism will be criminally prosecuted.

By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Director of Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers
25th of September 2019

Yesterday Tuesday the 24th of September 2019, the Junta de Andalucía passed a new law which effectively paves the way to legalizing over 327,000 illegal properties in the region of Andalusia. EDIT: The new law was published in Andalusia’s Official Law Gazette (BOJA):

Decreto-ley 3/2019, de 24 de septiembre, de medidas urgentes para la adecuación ambiental y territorial de las edificaciones irregulares en la Comunidad Autónoma de Andalucía.

In PDF format: link.

I must point out that the law itself, and the Junta by extension, are very careful to go out of their way to not label it as a ‘planning amnesty’. I stress that (officially) this is NOT an amnesty.

Silly me, being a country boy, I cannot help but think of a popular quote I’ll borrow from James Whitcombe Riley:

“If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.”

So, although this unprecedented law has the impact and the hallmark of a large scale amnesty, please bear with me if I clumsily label it as an ‘amnesty’, because according to all official sources it ‘clearly’ is not, capisce? Semantics.

The former Socialist Government, that was in power in Andalusia for almost 40 years, managed to regularize a whopping 1,500 illegal properties in all this time. This new law slashes the Gordian knot and opens the way for hundreds of thousands of property owners, mostly rural ones, to see their illegal properties regularized once and for all. This will have an incredibly positive impact on the market and it was a much needed measure. Needless to say, it will make the job of selling rural properties a breeze compared to the nightmare thousands of expats having been facing over selling their AFO’s.

The law looks particularly at grouped houses or urbanizaciones. The onus falls on the owner to kickstart the legalization procedure. The great breakthrough this law brings to the table is that, unlike before, these legalizations are not tied to the approval of each municipal Master Urban Plan (Plan General de Ordenación Urbana, popularly dubbed as PGOU). This greatly pushed back the procedure by several years, if at all.

To my mind this is an amnesty in all but name. This is yet another brazen step in the right direction for the Junta de Andalucía. Again, kudos to them for breaking this nightmarish gridlock that has kept thousands of expat families worried sick for countless years. It is very refreshing to see politicians doing their job.

Watch this space for more updates on this.

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