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A first occupation licence is a very important document and purchasing brand new properties without it might have serious consequences.

When a builder completes a construction for residential use, the Spanish legislation forces the owner to ask the town hall a First occupation licence (“licencias de primera ocupación” in Spanish). In order to obtain this licence the municipal architects will have to check that the construction is in line with the original building licence awarded by the town hall. Additionally there will be compliance checks with all construction and habitability requirements. The property will have to be fully completed with no outstanding works.

Requirements for obtaining a First Occupation licence

In order to apply for this certificate, there are several documents that will have to accompany the request:

  • End of works certificate (“Certificación final de la obra” in Spanish). This document will have to be stamped by the architects’ professional association.
  • Construction Project duly stamped and approved. In case there are substantial differences between the final building and the licence, a certificate stating that the licence has been updated will be necessary.
  • Copy of the construction licence and its updates if necessary.
  • Receipt from the town hall certifying that the request to be included in the registry of the IBI (council property tax, in Spanish “Impuesto sobre Bienes Inmuebles”) has been filed.
  • Any other documents or certificates that the Town Hall might request.

Brand new properties without first occupation licence

Without a first occupation licence, the owner of a property can incur several problems.

  • Utility companies (water, electricity and telephone) will request this document in order to connect the new house.
  • It is illegal to let a property without it.
  • It’s very unlikely that a bank will ever agree to mortgage the property.

Can I buy a new property that doesn’t have a first occupation licence?

The lack of this document is often a sign that there are legal problems with the asset. Additionally the lack of a first occupation licence will make any future resale a problem and most of the time dramatically decreases the market value of the property.

The absence of the licence can be considered a breach of contract from the builder.

Do all properties have first occupancy licence?

No, many properties built years ago do not have first occupancy licence, especially those that they have been built in rural land.

We always recommend a survey on the property done by an architect and one of the many reasons is to determine if the lack of licence will create troubles in the future.