Spain scraps military authorisation in ‘strategic areas’ to make life easier for British buyers after Brexit

Back in January I reported that Brexit meant Britons had to get permission from the Spanish military to buy property in certain areas, thanks to Franco-era laws aimed at keeping foreigner owners away from military bases and strategic sites like Gibraltar.

This limitation did not apply to EU citizens, so only it only emerged as a problem for British buyers once ‘real Brexit’ kicked in at the start of this year.

The regulation meant that Britons hoping to buy property in areas designated as ‘sensitive’ for military reasons would have to go through a tiresome extra procedure to get a permit from the Ministry of Defence that could add many months to the purchase process. A deal breaker for many buyers.

It was estimated that the military authorisation requirement could scupper as many as 800 sales to Britons in the Vega Baja region of Southern Alicante alone. That’s the equivalent of just under 10% of the entire British market in 2019.

‘Sensitive’ does not just mean overlooking military bases. In Alicante province places like Torrevieja, Orihuela Costa, and Pilar de la Horadada were all affected because they are within the vicinity of the Cartagena naval base, located about 60 kilometers away.

The good news is the Spanish Government has come to its senses, and decided to revoke this requirement in some key cases, under pressure from developers, who have much to lose if Brits can’t buy in the affected areas.

So, from the beginning of July, non-EU citizens no longer have to get permission from the Spanish military to buy property in all ‘sensitive areas’, though some restrictions do still apply. Buyers should consult a lawyer for specifics.

SPI Member Comments

Thoughts on “Spain scraps military authorisation in ‘strategic areas’ to make life easier for British buyers after Brexit

  • Yes, surprisingly fast response from the Govt, though they were being pressured by everyone including Registrars and Notaries.
    However, I don’t think it’s completely relaxed. My understanding is that the permission is no longer needed for urban properties, but is still required for rustic property, maybe even including those with DAFO’s, located in the affected areas. Those areas include the Balearic and Canary Islands; much of the area from Punta Negra in Murcia, north to Cabo Corvera in Alicante; In Andalucia, from the river in Sotogrande all round the Costa La Luz to Sanlucar de Barrameda; and in Huelva from the city to the Portuguese border.

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