In Andalusia, you are not obliged to produce a First Occupation License (FOL) when you buy or sell a home in the region, and for many decades this permit was never part of the legal investigation conducted by the lawyer during the buying process. In many towns it didn’t exist until the seventies or even eighties, and afterwards this document was often lost because it wasn’t necessary once the property had a water or electricity contract.
However, the First Occupation Licence (Licencia de Primera Ocupación, or LPO, in Spanish) recently did become an important bit of paperwork for homes in urban settings. This was when Andalusia’s relatively new RTA rental registry for short-term holiday rentals made it a legal requirement to have the FOL / LPO whenever you apply for the RTA licence. Having a RTA-licence without a FOL can mean a large fine and losing this rental licence, which you need to advertise your property on rental websites.
In certain cases, it is possible to apply for a copy of the original First Occupation Licence at the Town Hall through a special procedure. However, if this isn’t possible because the property is too old, or the Town Hall lost the original, you need to apply for a new license. In this case an architect needs to make a technical report, pay a tax to the Town Hall, and submit the project to the urban department. And then wait until the Town Hall issues the license. As so many people have applied at the same time, the waiting time at many councils is now more than one year, which of course is problem if you are investing in a property for rental purposes, and don’t want to run the risk of the fine in the meantime.
So it’s good news that, on March 12 202, the Andalusian Government published in its Official bulletin (BOJA) a Law Decree to simplify the regulation of some procedures in Andalusia. This regulation has affected a multitude of procedures of the Urban Planning Law of Andalusia (LOUA) of 2002, including the First Occupation Permit.
The changes include making procedures that are subject to a declaration of responsibility free from the obligation to produce a FOL. Generally speaking, the new decree allows obtaining the right to occupy or use the majority of buildings located on consolidated urban land in Andalusia, by submitting the responsibility declaration together with the required legal documentation. In other words, it will no longer be necessary for these buildings to obtain the First Occupation Licence (LPO) from the city council since the new ‘Declaration of occupation or use’ replaces the Occupation Licence in this respect.
It’s important to understand that this doesn’t change the legal situation of the property. For example, to apply for the LPO you need to have an individual water contract, and City Councils can also impose extra requirements. As the licensed architect is professionally responsible for the content of the application, he can’t apply for the permit if the property does not live up to the official rules. In theory he could lose his architect license if he did do so.
Read the rest of the article about the Responsibility declaration of the First Occupation Licence in Andalusia on the website of C&D Solicitors. Also available in Dutch and Swedish.
Author: Gustavo Calero Monereo, C&D Solicitors, (lawyers in Málaga/Andalusia, Spain)