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Ministry of Defense Property Permit
26 January 2021 @ 18:29

A law dating back to 1975 means property buyers from non-EU countries will have to obtain a military permit if they would like to go through with their purchase. Cases are already starting to appear in the Costa Blanca, Costa Cálida and the Balearic islands. The Provincial Association of Promotores (Provia) claims that around 800 homes purchases could be delayed due to the legislation each year.

The law from the times of Franco forces non-EU citizens to apply to the Ministry of Defense for permission to buy a property in those areas that have been classified as being of strategic interest for the defence of the country. Naturally, British nationals have remained in complete ignorance of this bureaucratic step. But since the 1st of January 2021, all notaries have been instructed not to grant title deeds to UK citizens unless the relevant paperwork has been presented, given that the UK is now no longer part of the EU or the Schengen zone. Just when you thought you had all the paperwork under control...

As absurd as it may sound, it has always been an issue but now with the UK out of the EU the requests for permits are estimated to increase six-fold causing significant delays. In theory, but not always requested, buyers from the UK will have to provide a 5-year criminal record plus a certified translation, both apostilled by a notary as well as maps of the location and detailed plans of the property. Of course, these plans may not exist at the time of purchase and may incur an extra expense for the home-buyer. All documentation must be sent to the military authorities.

This situation affects some 1,500 municipalities throughout Spain. The zones delimited in this 1975 law are the so-called “zones of restricted access to property by foreigners” but apply only to rustic land and not to urban land. But beware: you do not need a permit for urban land if it was already urban before the 1978 regulation came into force or if, afterwards, it had the approval of Defense. And to prove it, a certificate from the corresponding City/town Council is required, which can take a while to receive, but even in the best of cases, it will delay matters a month according to some experts.

Therefore, a British, Australian, American or Russian buyer, for example, who wants to acquire a property in the countryside with has rustic land within it must agree with the seller - and state in the pre-sale contract - a long enough period for signing the deeds to allow him/her to obtain the prior military authorization. Unfortunately, it cannot be precisely predicted how long it will take in each case until the applicant is granted such permission. Depending on the size of the land, the procedure can take up to a few months.

As I am sure we all agree, it makes no sense that in Spain there are more than 1,500 municipalities that for reasons of National Defense are considered areas of restricted access to property-buyers from non-EU countries. The purchase of a property on rustic soil should not be subject to the control of the Ministry of Defense. But until the law is changed, and it most probably will be, this is the situation. That said, with so many other priorities at the moment, I can't see anything being changed in the near future. So make sure you check with your lawyers before signing any pre-purchase contracts.

Has anyone come up against this requirement before? If so please leave a comment.

Official publication:

Like 3


pjck said:
30 January 2021 @ 10:42

Well, UK is a third country now... but I heard it made a trade deal with Cameroon and Kosovo - so maybe there it will be easier?

mestala said:
30 January 2021 @ 15:26

Ohhhh,they'll be more to come yet,Spain will no doubt be getting their heads together thinking how to screw the Brits...good luck

Poppyseed said:
02 February 2021 @ 14:42

My lawyer told us this only applied to properties built after 1996, and so the confusion starts.

AshtonBlueMooner said:
27 April 2021 @ 22:50

Currently going through the process of obtaining the ministry of defence permit. Adds to the costs of purchase with the ACRO checks and the Public Notary and Apostile on passports and all documentation but this cost is offset by the drop in purchase prices in so many areas of Spain, many at 40-50% cheaper than 4-5 years ago. That said, it's now a much slower process, but worth the wait.

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