Renovation of building built without a license at the time.

13 / Sep

When old property is purchased, it is often not known whether it was built with a properly issued permit. In most cases, the owner assumes that the property is legal because no sanction procedure is in progress or has been completed.

In reality, an unauthorised building can be sanctioned by the municipal administration, depending on the region, for an amount between 600 and 6,000 Euros (never less than 2% of the value of the building) and/or can be requested to be demolished, rebuilt or permanently been put out of use.

What happens if it is a very old construction?

The course of time does not legalize a a construction without a license.

The municipal administration has two important terms, which also vary from region to region, to:

1. Issue the demolition order;
2. Sanction by means of a fine.

Once these terms have expired, the municipality can neither sanction nor demolish. However, this does not mean that the construction becomes legal, ONLY that the owner is allowed to maintain the current situation. For this reason, a renovation of an illegal building constitutes a modification of the existing situation which is therefore prohibited, unless the original construction is regularised.

Not all alterations are prohibited.

In 2020, the Supreme Court confirmed the following:

“As long as the violation of urban planning regulations continues, no conversion, extension or consolidation work may be carried out on something that has been built illegally. However, in order to limit the negative impact of these constructions and buildings, the authorities may order the performance of work that is necessary to avoid disturbing the safety, health, ornamentation or landscape of the surrounding area”.

Thus, minor adjustments to the building for reasons of hygiene, ornamentation, preservation of the building and work to maintain safety conditions may not be grounds for the municipal administration to refuse the corresponding authorization or license.

Camila Lizarazo Gonzalez