Working on your property without a license or doing work on a property which is not included in the license can have serious consequences. There are two kinds of urban disciplinary case files which are either for fines or legalisation. The legalisation file is where the procedure allows either the whole construction or part of it to be legalised. When the town hall insists on the legalisation of the work, normally the promoter has to present a modification of the project adapted to the existing building, if the excess of the building work does not violate the general urban regulations, then the town hall should concede the building license. However, if the building work exceeds the amount permitted in the regulations for that plot, then the town hall should order the demolition of the excess built.
These infringements have time limits and the time limit is decided by the different autonomous laws. In this region they are regulated by law 7/2002, of 17th December, of Urban Planning of Andalucia. Article 210 states that serious and very serious urban violations are limited to four years and for lesser violations that of one year.
The possibility for the town hall to initiate legalisation case files, are also subject to the periods stated in urban legislation. However the said temporary limitations do not exist when dealing with protecting urban legalisation in the following cases:
A. Creating urban plots on land which is not classified as being possible to be developed.
B. Those which affect:
- Land classified as being impossible to be developed with special protection or those included in the protected coastal areas.
- Listed buildings or protected areas.
- Protected parks, gardens, open spaces or infrastructures, which are determined in the regulations.
The town hall may apply to the land registry to put a preventative note on the land registry information so that any third party is aware of the urban disciplinary case file open on the property, to ensure the outcome of the matter and to make sure that the property is returned to the state in which it was before the offense.
The possibilities that the authorities have when illegalities are detected:
A.- Re-establishing legal order which includes:
- Precautionary measures for the suspension of the work being done and possibly sealing the property. (Art. 181).
- Legalisation if the work complies with existing laws. (Art. 182).
- If not, returning property to its original state, (Art. 183) by:
- – Demolition where the work is illegal.
- – Reconstruction where there is illegal demolition or destruction.
- – Regrouping where there is illegal separation.
B.- Imposition of sanctions: (Art. 212).
- Other sanctions: bans and prohibitions (Art. 209).
- Criminal liability (which exclude administrative), if there is evidence of a crime or misdemeanour (Art. 195.4).
- Compensation for damages (Art. 192.1.c).
Whatever happens, we recommend that you have a lawyer to oversee the drafting of contracts, not only with the constructor but also with the technical engineer and the works manager. If an urban disciplinary case file has been opened, it is essential that you have legal advice and give a power of attorney to your lawyer for these matters. Remember that in any case, once the work is legalised you will have to go to the Notary Public to sign the corresponding new build deeds and inscribe them at the land registry.