By Stan Dickens, Villa Surveyors

Villas in apparent good condition before a building inspection

In general, every house built in Spain after 1975 should have been built with a building license. However, in many cases this was not followed particularly for houses in the countryside.

Fortunately for owners, in many cases a property can be legalised in Spain even though it was not originally built with the proper permits or does not comply with current urban planning regulations. This is done through a DAFO certificate.

The process of obtaining a DAFO certificate involves submitting an application to the local town hall or planning authority. This is normally undertaken by an architect or engineer acting for the home owner. The application must include documentation, such as building plans, evidence of ownership, and any other required information. The authority will then assess the property and determine its eligibility for the certificate.

Once the DAFO certificate is issued, it provides certain benefits to the property owner. It grants legal recognition to the property, allowing owners to make certain modifications or improvements within the limits established by the certificate. It also protects against potential penalties or fines for the property’s irregular status.

It is important to note that the DAFO certificate does not automatically legalise all aspects of a property. It usually comes with limitations and conditions set by the local authority, such as restrictions on further expansion or limitations on use. These conditions vary depending on the specific circumstances and the regulations of each municipality.

It is advisable for property owners to consult with professionals, such as lawyers or architects, who specialise in urban planning and property law to understand the implications and potential limitations of the DAFO certificate for their specific property.

Overall, the DAFO certificate is a valuable tool for property owners in Spain to regularise their irregular properties and obtain legal recognition, ensuring a more secure and compliant status for their assets.