Legalisation is a procedure that updates and declares the reality built without the required documentation, and thus brings it legally up to date before public bodies, land registry, etc.

When an illegal building complies with urban planning regulations, a legalisation project can be carried out directly. But if it does not comply with any urban planning parameter, an environmental impact minimisation file can be processed in the Valencian Community, which is an amnesty for illegal works carried out before 20 August 2014. On the other hand, works carried out before 1975 can be legalised due to their age.

It is also possible to study the registration of each case due to age and prescription of urban infraction of the buildings, although the situation would be illegal as the buildings have not obtained the required urban licence, and do not have all the rights associated with it. However, demolition would be avoided as the prescription would be established and mortgages could also be requested.

Making a house legal is a relief for its residents. It goes without saying, doesn’t it? When the property is not under the current legislation, undesirable situations can occur, including the demolition of the building itself by court order.

This is why the novelties in the legalisation of dwellings on undeveloped land in the Valencian Community have not gone unnoticed, especially for those interested.

As a result of Law 1/2019, in force since 8 February 2019, the LOTUP (Land, Town Planning and Landscape Planning of the Valencian Community) was modified in the Community.

The main consequence of the changes in the legislation is that homeowners who do not have a licence on undeveloped land and are therefore in a situation of illegality, will be able to legalise their property on rural or undeveloped land. Of course, a number of requirements will have to be met, including obtaining a licence to minimise environmental impact.

What does urban planning law say about unlicensed rustic dwellings?

The town planning legislation in force in the Valencian Community allows, by means of the Minimisation of Territorial Impact procedure, the regularisation of the situation of detached single-family dwellings built on undeveloped land between 1975 and 20 August 2014.

Through this process you will obtain a licence to legalise the construction in addition to the occupancy licence and your home will no longer be illegal.

We understand that this is the LAST CHANCE to regularise the single-family houses built without a licence in recent years.

What is the environmental impact minimisation licence in the Valencian Community?

Thus, in order for the residents of the affected dwellings to have access to the legalisation of their dwellings, they must present the environmental impact minimisation licence in the Valencian Community. But from here on, things are not so easy and it is worth explaining.

Environmental impact minimisation can be defined as the reduction of the intrusion of residential buildings on undeveloped land, as well as human activity, into the natural environment. An example is the proliferation of cesspools and possible undesirable seepage.

With regard to the impact minimisation permit, there are two possibilities: either the building is set back from a group of dwellings, or there is a density of three or more buildings per hectare.

In this second case, the legalisation of the property will be carried out through the legal instruments provided for in the Special Plan for the Minimisation of Impacts. The valuation of the property will take place within this framework and it will be the Conselleria de Ordenación del Territorio y Urbanismo that will make the final decision.

In the first case, i.e. when the dwelling is considered detached, the procedure differs, as it is not integrated in the Special Plan. When the building is considered set aside according to the above-mentioned density, it will be necessary to apply for an individualised territorial impact statement, in addition to other requirements which will be dealt with in the following sections.

Conditions and requirements to legalise a property in the Valencian Community

  • The building must be for residential use. Therefore, the new regulations do not affect recreational buildings and estates that are used occasionally for events or recreational activities, for example.
  • The construction must have been carried out before 20 August 2014. We understand construction to mean housing and townhouses, leaving aside possible enclosures and installations that do not involve the participation of architects or engineers.
  • The said property cannot be under a final judicial sentence. It should be pointed out that open proceedings that have not been concluded by a final court judgement are not included in this section. Even in the hypothetical case that a demolition order has been issued through administrative channels, this could be stopped thanks to the new regulations.
  • Presentation of the environmental impact minimisation licence in the Valencian Community.

Step-by-step process to legalise a property in the Valencian Community

First step: present the accreditation justifying the isolated building status to the relevant local council; in this case we remind you that an isolated building is not included in the Special Impact Minimisation Plan.

Therefore, an Individual Declaration of Minimisation of Territorial Impact must be requested. Together with the request, you will have to present documentation accrediting the impossibility of including the dwelling in the aforementioned Special Plan.

It is the Plenary of the City Council that decides on the individual situation of territorial impact. The declaration must include specifications about the (demonstrable) conditions of the building. This documentation is essential in order to be able to obtain the legalisation licence.

Second step: after having obtained the individualised environmental impact minimisation status statement, you will have to add:

  • -Study on environmental impacts and the means foreseen for their minimisation.
  • -Landscape integration analysis.
  • -A basic plan that presents an updated description of the construction, as well as the possible works necessary to comply with article 197 of Law 5/2014 of 25 July, on Territorial, Urban and Landscape Planning of the Valencian Community.

Step 3: If environmental mitigation works are necessary, they should be carried out within 4 years at the latest.

This point is very relevant as a professional study and planning is needed to avoid delays that may hinder or even make the legalisation attempt impossible.

What do I get when I legalise my home?

Among other things, that they don’t knock it down. But not only that:

  • You will be able to carry out refurbishment and renovation works. In addition, you will legally enter the real estate market. When the property is legalised, there will be no impediments to selling or renting it, as well as mortgaging it or carrying out any other real estate activity for your benefit.
  • You will be able to contract basic utilities, such as electricity, telephone and Internet connection, water or sanitation.

In short, taking the step of legalising a non-developable residence in the Valencian Community will increase its value. Also your peace of mind will be greater knowing that you will be able to continue enjoying your rustic property for a long time and without legal obstacles.

Conclusion

These are the details of this relatively new process.

If you have any questions, you can always contact us or leave a comment below.

What is the procedure for legalising dwellings on rural land?

The procedure is called MINIMISATION OF TERRITORIAL IMPACT (MIT). Minimisation is an administrative procedure that, as its name suggests, “minimises” (mitigates/avoids/decreases) the impacts on the territory and the environment produced or that have been produced by dwellings illegally built on rural land.

Following the minimisation procedure, the housing that is the subject of this procedure will obtain a legal regime derived from obtaining, in the last instance, a “legalisation building permit” or a “territorial impact minimisation permit”. In this sense, it must be made clear that the dwellings will be subject to a procedure of legal regularisation, of legalisation. Where there is no legal regime at the initial stage, there will be one at the end of the procedure. The aim of the procedure is to legalise the dwellings, but minimising the environmental impact, establishing the appropriate environmental corrective measures.

Which buildings can be subject to legalisation?

Only dwellings, i.e. buildings for residential use, fully completed before 20/8/2014. Buildings intended for other uses (farmhouses, agricultural or livestock buildings, buildings that provide physical support for industrial or tertiary activities, etc.) cannot be subject to minimisation. Nor will dwellings completed after 20/8/2014 be included in this procedure.

On what type of land can legalisation take place?

Legalisation by means of minimisation is possible in both Common Rural Land and Protected Undeveloped Land.

What does it mean if the house is fully completed by 20/8/14?

This legal requirement presupposes that the building is ready for use (residential) on that date.

Can buildings adjacent or complementary to a dwelling be subject to legalisation, or only the dwelling in the strict sense?

Given that the law has established a very clear time criterion (all dwellings fully completed before 20/8/14 are covered by the procedure; it is understood that all those constructions that are auxiliary/complementary to the dwelling, that are connected to the dwelling (e.g. a swimming pool) and that are fully completed before 20/8/14, may be subject to the minimisation procedure.

What are the advantages of legalising your property on rural land?

Halt sanctioning and demolition proceedings

If the house is not legalised and the action is not time-barred, demolition should be ordered. But the Law itself states that the submission of the application for minimisation and legalisation will paralyse the demolition proceedings, which the Town Hall or the Conselleria have opened. These proceedings will only be reopened if the occupancy licence is not obtained.

Occupancy Licence

Obtaining the occupancy licence means having the measures for the security and habitability of the dwelling. In terms of investment, it represents a considerable increase in the value of the property (at least 50%) and facilitates the sale and access to financing for the purchase.

Utilities

You will be able to contract the necessary utilities to live comfortably in your home.

Extensions and alterations

After legalisation, renovation, extension or consolidation of the dwelling may be authorised.

Land Registry

You will be able to register your property in the land register.

Purification systems

You will be able to implement corrective measures to prevent water and soil pollution. You will be able to obtain drinking water supply.

What are the environmental benefits of legalising housing through “impact minimisation”?

The main advantage is the application of corrective measures to avoid the traditional environmental impact of the lack of a sewage treatment system. The implementation of spaces for the regular collection of solid waste, as well as a road system that allows safe road access to the buildings and the appropriate connection of the housing nucleus with the road network, are other unquestionable improvements in relation to the pre-existing situation. Likewise, the installation of safety measures for situations of risk due to flooding or forest fires will be promoted. In many cases, all of this will mean a relative and considerably lower installation cost for the owner than if it were a purely urban development by means of a partial plan that  reclassifies the land and develops it. This would be much lower than if he had to carry out classic urban development management and pay development charges.

What are the legal advantages of an impact minimisation procedure?

The starting point for dwellings that may be the subject of an urban planning discipline case is the lack of ownership of the dwellings. That is to say, the impossibility of declaring the New Building and its registration in the Land Registry. And the failure to obtain a first occupancy licence.

The lack of a declaration of a new construction and of a licence of first occupation implies the impossibility of selling the construction with all the guarantees, since only the plot of land on which the construction is located is sold. It also implies the impossibility of mortgaging the construction and, consequently, the impossibility of obtaining a mortgage loan that would allow it to be purchased by a third party or to obtain secured financing. Or, worse still, it means the impossibility of inheriting an unregulated construction by the heirs of the offender.

Therefore, the regularisation of the building has an undoubted advantage for the property, as the property is revalued for all purposes and, for the same, real rights can be exercised on it that could not be exercised before (sale of the house, mortgage, inheritance…). All of this will result in an undoubted increase in the economic value of the property on which the construction is located, and of the construction itself to be legalised.

What is the procedure to carry out the legalisation of dwellings through minimisation?

There are two procedures, one collective and the other individual. One or the other will be applied, depending on the existence of a grouped nucleus of dwellings (equal to more than 3 dwellings per Hectare) or isolated housing areas (less than 3 dwellings per Hectare):

3 or more dwellings/ha:

The first of these is the collective procedure: it involves the collective processing of a Special Plan for the Regularisation of Housing and Minimisation of Territorial Impact (PEMIT). Depending on its modality, it will depend on its approval by the Ministry, or its approval by the Town Council. And depending on its modality, it will have to be promoted by the Town Council or by the individual. It has the legal nature of municipal planning.

We have Three Assumptions:

  1. Minimisation of the Territorial Impact by means of the Special Plan and the Action Programme with structural planning and without Prior Delimitation. Promoted by the Town Council by means of a Request for the initiation of the Strategic Environmental and Territorial Assessment (SEA). The same must be approved by the Ministry.
  2. Minimisation of the Territorial Impact by means of a Planning Instrument for the Delimitation of Areas (Delimitation). Establishes structural planning: delimits areas of minimisation in the municipality for development with special plans. Promoted by the Town Council by means of a Strategic Environmental and Territorial Assessment (SEA) and approved by the Regional Ministry.
  3. Procedure for the Minimisation of the Territorial Impact by means of a Special Plan with a prior Delimitation Document (of regional approval). This will establish the detailed planning of one or more of the minimisation areas defined in the Delimitation Document. This instrument may be processed simultaneously or after the Delimitation that establishes the structural planning. It may be promoted by the Town Council or by a private developer.

Less than 3 dwellings/ha:

This is a simplified individual procedure that is requested/promoted by the landowner and is subject to municipal approval, hence its greater agility: The owner submits a prior application for an individualised situation declaration (DSI), delimiting at the request of an owner an area of less than 3 dwellings/ha in order to request the individualised territorial impact minimisation licence procedure, and leaves the regularisation procedure in the hands of the Town Council because it is the plenary session of the Town Council that approves the Delimitation of Individualised Situation (DIS). That sets the course for obtaining the individualised territorial impact minimisation licence, by establishing the geometric delimitation of less than 3 dwellings/ha at its full discretion, and as a prerequisite for obtaining the legalisation of works, and the first occupation licence. It has the legal nature of a licence. Once the approval of the Declaration of Individualised Situation has been obtained, the licence to minimise territorial impact and occupation must be requested from the Town Council, together with a Landscape Integration Study, an analysis of the environmental effects and risks and the corrective measures proposed to avoid them, and a Basic Project describing the current situation of the building and the works necessary to achieve the building conditions established in the ISD.

What is new is that the building conditions of art. 197.1.b) are not required as if it were a new construction (2% occupation, minimum plot of land for cultivation unit, plot outside natural watercourses and runoff). Rather it is left to the Town Council to analyse each situation in detail in order to require the appropriate building conditions in each specific case that minimise the environmental or landscape impact (demolition of elements that affect the landscape, installation of photovoltaic energy, waste collection areaetc).

This procedure, from an administrative and technical point of view, is the fastest, most operative and functional, as it allows for a rapid, decentralised and detailed analysis of existing irregular situations, without the intervention of the Regional Ministry, as it is initiated through the approval by the plenary of the Declaration of Individual Situation.

What types of rustic dwellings can be legalised in the Valencian Community?

As long as the necessary parameters for building a house on rural land are met (10,000 m2 of land, distances to boundaries, roads and other constructions), they can be legalised by means of a technical legalisation project.

Before
25/05/1975

In order to regulate or legalise this type of housing, the Second Final Provision of Law 5/2014, also known as TRLOTUP, allows these constructions to be assimilated to licensed constructions.

Dwellings built between
25/05/1975 and 20/08/2014

This is a scenario regulated by Law 1/2019, of 5 February, amending the TRLOTUP. According to article 211 bis “Actions to minimise the territorial impact generated by isolated buildings on undeveloped land”.

After
20/08/2014

This is the most restrictive of the three cases, as this type of existing housing has to comply with the building parameters for new construction on undeveloped land (apart from the planning regulations of each municipality).

How much does it cost?

The cost of the architect’s legalisation project must be calculated on a case-by-case basis. For information purposes, the cost will depend on the contract budget and varies according to the number of metres of intervention, plus a discount of 30-50% depending on the complexity in relation to the percentage of the new construction:

  • from 0 to 50m2 price 7.6 % CEB
  • From 50 to 100m2 price 7.2 % CEB
  • From 100 to 200m2 price 6.6 % CEB
  • From 200 to 400m2 price 6.1 % CEB
  • From 400 to 600m2 price 5.7 % CEB