On Wednesday, 20th July 2016, the Parliament of Andalucía approved a bill to modify three articles of the planning laws of Andalucía (LOUA) to permit the regularisation of isolated residential properties located on illegal land divisions (parcelaciones urbanisticas) on non urbanizable land (suelo no urbanizable). The bill was passed with the votes in favour of PSOE, PP and Ciudadanos and the abstention of Podemos and IU.
It is estimated that some 30,000 houses in Andalucía will benefit from this change and when this new law comes into force in August homeowners can ask for the regularisation of their home by applying for an AFO certificate, a document that official declares their property to be assimilated to the planning regimen of ‘fuera de ordinacion’. ‘Fuera de ordinacion’ being a category assigned to properties that do not conform to current planning regulations but are accepted by the authorities.
Maura Hillen, the president of the property rights association AUAN, (Abusos Urbanísticos Almanzora NO), expressed her total satisfaction with this change. “This change is the result of nine years of work by our association and it will deliver real and immediate benefits to our members. Nearly all of them will eventually be able to obtain electricity, water and paperwork for their homes.
We are grateful for the spirit of common sense and consensus shown by our politicians, and without wishing to undermine our gratitude to all political parties, I believe that it is fair to mention the important role played in all of this by the provincial executive of the PSOE in Almeria under the leadership of José Luis Sánchez Teruel, that has been key to this reform”. She also feels heartened by the words of the General Secretary of Territorial Planning and Town Planning of the Junta de Andalucía, Rafael Márquez, when he says that this reform of the LOUA is sufficient, but if necessary more changes will be made. Maura considers that this is a big step forward but it is not the end of the road for the owners of houses that are waiting to be legalized via a town plan (PGOU). We need more measures to speed up the legalization of these houses and for this reason I am heartened to hear the commitment made by Sr. Márquez”.
She continued “This latest change demonstrates what can be achieved through cooperation at a regional and national level by well organised associations using the advice of experts to make reasonable and achievable proposals to our legislators”. With regard to the latter Mrs Hillen underlined the contribution of AUAN’s legal advisor, Gerardo Vázquez. “We owe him a great debt of gratitude” she stated.
Asked about the practical implications of this new law, Mrs. Hillen answered “When this law comes into force in August, every property in Andalucía completed after 1975 will need an AFO certificate or a licence of occupation in order to guarantee compliance to the planning regulations. This carries obvious advantages in terms of greater legal certainty for prospective buyers”.
The president of AUAN concluded “This is not an amnesty. The house needs to comply with various administrative and physical requirements -all at the cost of the owner, of course. But it allows thousands of houses to exit a legal limbo and puts an end to the anguish of thousands of purchasers in good faith who bought these houses in the past. We are very proud that our efforts have not been in vain.”
The image shows British vice consul Rosslyn Crotty, center with paper Jose Luis Sanchez Teruel, representatives of associations AUAN, SOHA and CALU, PSOE executive in Almeria and various mayors and former mayors of the Valle of Almanzora.