Five Common Situations In Spain That Can Only Be Resolved Retrospectively

Five Common Situations In Spain That Can Only Be Resolved Retrospectively
Five Common Situations In Spain That Can Only Be Resolved Retrospectively

Spanish building licences are notoriously difficult; painstakingly slow to obtain and you can never be sure if they might be rejected. Here are 5 common situations that can only be resolved using a simple Certificate of Antiquity/Retrospective Licence.

1:  Planning Laws for detached properties making garages, permanent carports, or any kind of roofed buildings that are violating the minimum required distance to the plot’s boundaries is a reason to decline a license.  National planning laws for detached properties require a minimum distance between a window and a neighbour’s boundary of 2 metres.  Regional and local laws may allow between 3 to even 5 metres or more. 

There are many variables depending on different factors.  A Certificate of Antiquity is the only document that can avoid previous works being objected to by the planning department at the Town Hall.

2:  Most glass or bricked enclosed terraces and porches are built without a proper licence.  Spanish properties traditionally tend to have patios and courtyards, along with semi-opened spaces like porches and partially covered terraces to provide shelter from the sun and maximise on the outdoor lifestyle. 

These semi-opened spaces are easily closed-in, but the bureaucracy is not as easy.  These works, however small you might consider them, are adding to the registered square metres of the property and often permissions are declined.  A Certificate of Antiquity is the only document that can make these works accepted by the planning department at the Town Hall and can also be used for updating the Title Deeds.

3:  Rarely do we find a swimming pool that has been correctly declared in the property’s Title Deeds or have the correct type of license.  Of the small percentage of pools that do have a license, most often they are missing the Certificate by the Architect to sign off on completion. Nowadays a Certificate of Antiquity is the only document that can be used in order to add a pool into the property’s “Escritura” Title Deeds.  A Building Licence alone is not sufficient.

4:  Any shed, exterior built cupboard, semi-opened kitchen and other covered buildings or works such as a carport, must have a proper Major Licence, ‘Licencia Mayor’, if the interior height measures over 1.5 metres.  This means the paperwork and legal fees for obtaining a licence can well exceed the cost of actually doing the building work itself.  One Certificate of Antiquity/Retrospective Licence is enough to cover all the extensions done, on any scale.

5:  Underbuilds with living accommodation are rarely done with the correct licences and again, these can only be added to the Title Deeds using a Retrospective Licence.  A Certificate of Antiquity/Retrospective Licence is the only document that can prevent prosecution for any interior alterations done at the property or alterations that don’t meet the planning standards.

In all those scenarios the document needed is a Certificate of Antiquity also known as a Retrospective Licence. Once issued, this document acts as licence, protecting the owner against possible sanctions from the Town Hall. 

It is highly recommended to avoid putting off potential buyers due to the existence of illegal extensions in the property. It will also be needed on completion of the sale in order to update the property’s description in Title Deeds & Land Registry.

  • In Murcia area, the conditions in order to obtain a Retrospective Licence is that the building work already done is a minimum of 4 years old.
  • In Almeria area, the building work needs to be over 6 years old.
  • In Alicante area, the building work needs to be over 4 years old, before 20th August 2014.

Only building work that hasn’t been fined or objected to can use a Certificate of Antiquity to protect against any future fines.

Only properly qualified and registered Spanish Architects are permitted to issue Retrospective Licences, so if your solicitors are studying your case, ask them to contact Martinez de la Casa Architects to provide the Antiquity Certificate and we will make the whole process easier, faster and cheaper with our fixed published prices and guaranteed deadlines.

The cost of an Antiquity Certificate/Retrospective Licence for pools is 190 € +IVA and extensions or complete properties only 270 € +IVA.  Discounts are available if you also require an Energy Performance Certificate (121 € IVA Inc.), Habitation Licence (from 118 € IVA Included, Registration Tax not included) or any other of our services, done at the same time.

If you want to have YOUR Retrospective Licence/Antiquity Certificate for your extension or pool now, in accordance with present laws and protect against possible future changes in the laws that may affect you, Martinez de la Casa Architects will arrange an appointment and guarantee the delivery of the Certificate of Antiquity within 10 working days after our survey.

For all enquiries, or to arrange an appointment if you want to have your pool or extension certificate now and protect yourself against future law changes that may affect you, please call 665 810 411 or visit to see an impressive list of nearly 200 client’s testimonials.



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