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Unregistered house extensions/alterations

Unregistered house extensions/alterations

Old Jul 13th 2013, 10:55 pm
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Default Unregistered house extensions/alterations

We have just engaged an abogado, one recommended on the British consulate website, before we start looking for a property to buy.

During the initial interview one of the things that I asked about was the possibility that a property of our choice may have alterations/extensions that have not been recorded and ergo not had permission in the first place.

Her reply was to say that there are no ‘illegal’ alterations only ‘unregularised’ ones. To further explain she said that as long as these alterations were over 4 years old we would not be fined.

We could if we wished have the alterations regularised but it was not required to do so. The cost of the ‘regularisation’ was likely to be 1% of the estimated cost of the alteration.

This cost to be borne by us, the vendor, or a mixture of the two by negotiation.

If we did not opt to ‘regularise’ the alterations then the question would only arise again when we wished to sell the property.

This conversation was only about a hypothetical situation as we have not yet found a suitable property to buy.

I was wondering if anyone had experience in buying a property with unrecorded alterations
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Old Jul 13th 2013, 11:25 pm
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Default Re: Unregistered house extensions/alterations

When we bought our house the abogado stopped the process at the last minute because it was being sold as a house and not two flats. In the past apparently it had been divided into two flats for family members and then converted back into one house but they had not done any of the necessary paperwork. The abogado then told us that it was alright to go ahead with the sale provided that the wording was changed to showing it as two flats. This has meant that we always paid two lots of community tax, however all the rest are normal.

When Graham died and I had to deal with all of the paperwork I asked the abogado to make the necessary changes to show that it is a house and not two flats. The abogado recommended that I did not do this due to the cost and that it is financially far better for me to continue to pay two lots of community tax than to make the changes.

So this will come up again when I want to sell.

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Old Jul 13th 2013, 11:51 pm
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Default Re: Unregistered house extensions/alterations

Originally Posted by stevesainty
We have just engaged an abogado, one recommended on the British consulate website, before we start looking for a property to buy.

During the initial interview one of the things that I asked about was the possibility that a property of our choice may have alterations/extensions that have not been recorded and ergo not had permission in the first place.

Her reply was to say that there are no ‘illegal’ alterations only ‘unregularised’ ones. To further explain she said that as long as these alterations were over 4 years old we would not be fined.

We could if we wished have the alterations regularised but it was not required to do so. The cost of the ‘regularisation’ was likely to be 1% of the estimated cost of the alteration.

This cost to be borne by us, the vendor, or a mixture of the two by negotiation.

If we did not opt to ‘regularise’ the alterations then the question would only arise again when we wished to sell the property.

This conversation was only about a hypothetical situation as we have not yet found a suitable property to buy.

I was wondering if anyone had experience in buying a property with unrecorded alterations
The house I bought is exactly as described in the escritura and the measurements match with the catastro details. There is so much property on the market that I cannot see any advantage to buying one where the issue of unregistered alterations would arise if/when you (or your heirs) wanted to sell it. Why give yourself a potential future problem in a buyer's market?
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Old Jul 14th 2013, 12:07 am
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Default Re: Unregistered house extensions/alterations

Originally Posted by Lynn R
The house I bought is exactly as described in the escritura and the measurements match with the catastro details. There is so much property on the market that I cannot see any advantage to buying one where the issue of unregistered alterations would arise if/when you (or your heirs) wanted to sell it. Why give yourself a potential future problem in a buyer's market?
I think that this information would not necessarily be available until well into the buying process. You normally choose a property after after viewing several, and several viewings of the chosen one. As this is time consuming and not to mention fairly emotional, I think one would be hard pressed to turn it down, on what would seem on the surface fairly unimportant, on an issue of it not being 'regularised'.

I agree that if the irregularities are known in advance one would probably not proceed further.

I suppose you should view the plans, using the link below, after you find out the proper address after the first viewing. Then you can compare the actual building with the plans

https://www1.sedecatastro.gob.es/OVC...?TIPO=CONSULTA
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Old Jul 14th 2013, 10:24 am
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Default Re: Unregistered house extensions/alterations

When one views, it is usually obvious if a property has been extended. You should ask for confirmation that all alterations have been approved. If you are in any doubt ask to see the escritura.

Any good estate agent will demand the vendor gives him a copy of this and several other documents, BEFORE he advertises the property for sale.

Be careful. In some regions of CBS it will be the entire property which has no planning approval. If it is that easy to obtain retrospective approval, ask yourself why vendor did not regularise their property before selling? Do not rely on "it is over 4 years old". There are many such which have been demolished.
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Old Jul 14th 2013, 12:41 pm
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Default Re: Unregistered house extensions/alterations

Originally Posted by missile
You should ask for confirmation that all alterations have been approved. If you are in any doubt ask to see the escritura.

Any good estate agent will demand the vendor gives him a copy of this and several other documents, BEFORE he advertises the property for sale.
I would also add....
Get a copy of the escritura and have it translated into English before you commit to buying, I wish we had done!
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Old Jul 14th 2013, 1:03 pm
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Default Re: Unregistered house extensions/alterations

Originally Posted by stevesainty
We have just engaged an abogado, one recommended on the British consulate website, before we start looking for a property to buy.

During the initial interview one of the things that I asked about was the possibility that a property of our choice may have alterations/extensions that have not been recorded and ergo not had permission in the first place.

Her reply was to say that there are no ‘illegal’ alterations only ‘unregularised’ ones. To further explain she said that as long as these alterations were over 4 years old we would not be fined.

We could if we wished have the alterations regularised but it was not required to do so. The cost of the ‘regularisation’ was likely to be 1% of the estimated cost of the alteration.

This cost to be borne by us, the vendor, or a mixture of the two by negotiation.

If we did not opt to ‘regularise’ the alterations then the question would only arise again when we wished to sell the property.

This conversation was only about a hypothetical situation as we have not yet found a suitable property to buy.

I was wondering if anyone had experience in buying a property with unrecorded alterations
Yes (although this was not pointed out when we bought). We had to regularise them when we sold at a cost of about 3500 euros. (two adjoining houses so this was the cost for each house, seven grand in total).

Last edited by scampicat; Jul 14th 2013 at 1:07 pm.
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Old Jul 14th 2013, 6:22 pm
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Default Re: Unregistered house extensions/alterations

Hi

I believe the law regarding 4 years has been changed. I thought to 6 years, but was told last week that it had been changed to 8 !!!

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Old Jul 14th 2013, 6:49 pm
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Default Re: Unregistered house extensions/alterations

Originally Posted by stevesainty
We have just engaged an abogado, one recommended on the British consulate website......
Just as a matter of interest, who was this abogado?
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Old Jul 14th 2013, 8:06 pm
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Default Re: Unregistered house extensions/alterations

I would also point out that in my opinion and in my experience, the abogado is WRONG!

Firstly, there is no 4-year rule. A friend of mine was in this situation and they went back far more than 4, 6 or 8 years!

I do agree though about the use of English - it might not be 'illegal' but that's just semantics.

My friend was FORCED to 'legalise' the alterations or risk a massive fine and embargo plus, potentially, the cost for a contractor to come and fill in their pool and knock down the extension.

As or the cost being 1% - I'm not sure where that comes from (maybe regional?) but my friend certainly paid more than that once he'd paid the tax, the fines, the architect etc. etc.
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Old Jul 14th 2013, 8:26 pm
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Default Re: Unregistered house extensions/alterations

I believe the overriding wisdom would have to lead you to a couple of conclusions:

1. Nothing is "free" and there is demonstrably every motivation to impose any way to collect as much as possible using any rationale they can dream up.

2. Spain and it's autonomous regions have habitually changed the rules unexpectedly. So having it all legal doesn't necessarily guarantee it will all be legal tomorrow. But it's a hell of a lot safer than ignoring it.
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Old Jul 14th 2013, 8:29 pm
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Default Re: Unregistered house extensions/alterations

Originally Posted by missile
When one views, it is usually obvious if a property has been extended. You should ask for confirmation that all alterations have been approved. If you are in any doubt ask to see the escritura.

Any good estate agent will demand the vendor gives him a copy of this and several other documents, BEFORE he advertises the property for sale.

Be careful. In some regions of CBS it will be the entire property which has no planning approval. If it is that easy to obtain retrospective approval, ask yourself why vendor did not regularise their property before selling? Do not rely on "it is over 4 years old". There are many such which have been demolished.
which must mean there are a shedload of not good estate agents around as (especially the English run agencies) they seem to go by the word of the vendor. I am currently looking to purhcase but have now reached the point of asking for the Catastral reference of any properties I am interested in. The trouble I have in getting such information is unbelievable. One agent admitted to me he had sneaked if off an IBI doc left lying around in the house.
Remember that even the bricking or glassing in of a patio is an alteration and there are many thousands of those that aren't registered.

surely it would make sense to copy the docs to hold in the sale file (if they have one).
I appreciate Catatstral isn't exact, may be out of date or not updated - but that can be proved by docs. But when you look up a house that has no garage, no swimming pool and is half the size and you have just seen it in all its glory !! Then when you can see it is on rustic land for agricultural use you can smell the dead fish before it arrives. Very rarely is it even worth calling in your solicitor.

I just can't understand sensible people coming from Northern Europe, who wouldn't buy a garden shed without loads of investigation who will invest the value of their home property in a place in Spain without getting into the box and investigating all corners as well as the lid to make sure that they are buying something that is legal.

Again my experience with agents is they are rarely from that line of work in their home country, being carpenters, builders, IT experts - anything but knowledgable in houses and Spanish property law. When you ask them about the legality they start rambling on about others that may or not be legal and skirt the problem. When you ask if the extension is legal they go off for a cup of coffee.

there are over 12,500 illegal properties in the Almanzora Valley, centred on Albox, most of which could be demolished even though a large number have "legal" paperwork that isn't recognised outside their community.

Caveat Emptor
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Old Jul 14th 2013, 9:14 pm
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Default Re: Unregistered house extensions/alterations

Originally Posted by Domino
which must mean there are a shedload of not good ...
Indeed there are

they seem to go by the word of the vendor.
Have you ever sold? I don't know about Mazaron, but in CBS even the shitty agents ask vendor for a copy of the escritura.

I am currently looking to purhcase but have now reached the point of asking for the Catastral reference of any properties I am interested in. The trouble I have in getting such information is unbelievable.
A quick look at the plan attached to the escritura will reveal whether any extension has been approved.

surely it would make sense to copy the docs to hold in the sale file (if they have one).
Most EA will have the escritura and will be happy to let you look and if they don't look for the door.

As you say
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Old Jul 14th 2013, 9:32 pm
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Default Re: Unregistered house extensions/alterations

Originally Posted by missile
Indeed there are

Have you ever sold? I don't know about Mazaron, but in CBS even the shitty agents ask vendor for a copy of the escritura.

A quick look at the plan attached to the escritura will reveal whether any extension has been approved.

Most EA will have the escritura and will be happy to let you look and if they don't look for the door.

As you say
God the ones I have been to see must be REALLY BAD - the best comment I have been getting is "the vendor has all the docs"

never sold, currently still renting, still on the market but considering writing a blog about the performances I have experienced from people who seem to think that as I am English I must be STUPID. But then they are in the majority expats themselves. One even admitted her house was also illegal and shrugged.

oh and I understand that the normal fee for the bulldozer is around €9k
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Old Jul 14th 2013, 10:02 pm
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Default Re: Unregistered house extensions/alterations

Originally Posted by missile
When one views, it is usually obvious if a property has been extended. You should ask for confirmation that all alterations have been approved. If you are in any doubt ask to see the escritura.

Any good estate agent will demand the vendor gives him a copy of this and several other documents, BEFORE he advertises the property for sale.

Be careful. In some regions of CBS it will be the entire property which has no planning approval. If it is that easy to obtain retrospective approval, ask yourself why vendor did not regularise their property before selling? Do not rely on "it is over 4 years old". There are many such which have been demolished.
I think the area we are looking is unlikely to have totally illegal properties. I've found the permission and a plan for the development of the whole area on the Ayuntimiento website.

Incidentally one estate agent we viewed the same property with twice hasn't contacted us to see if we are still interested. Maybe that was because we said that if an offer was accepted we weren't prepared to pay a holding deposit until our solicitor had seen the paperwork and also that we would only pay the deposit to our own solicitor (not the estate agent).

This particular property doesn't have any external extensions, just a developed underbuild.
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