Buying a villa with planning permission issues

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08 Jan 2009 00:00 by ferlow Star rating. 5 posts Send private message


Second time lucky - I tried to post a message a few minutes ago but it didn't appear.

I am new to this forum - I wonder if anyone can advise?

I have seen a villa I like in the Costa del Sol area which is a good price. I have now been told that two bedrooms were added about two years ago without planning permission (as part of a full renovation). I have read that anything which was built more than four years ago should be ok (i.e. you won't be asked to pull it down), but this was only built two years ago (and I'm not sure that is true anyway). Is there any way round this - can I regularise the property in some way with the local authority before buying it or is it just totally unsaleable. Are there any circumstances in which it would be a good idea to go ahead with this or should I just steer clear? I do like the property a lot, and it is at a very good price (though perhaps this is the reason).

Thanks a lot

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08 Jan 2009 21:05 by Roberto Star rating in Torremolinos. 4256 posts Send private message

Roberto´s avatar

Usually anything that appears too good to be true, is. From what little you've told us about it, I would say best to stay well clear of it, especially in view of all the planning irregularities that have come to light recently and things such as the Priors in Vera (see the thread on the march about threats to properties). But, if you really are tempted, invest in the services of an independent lawyer to investigate and advise you, before parting with a cent.



"First get your facts; then you can distort them at your leisure"

Mark Twain




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09 Jan 2009 06:55 by ferlow Star rating. 5 posts Send private message

Thanks for your reply, Roberto. I know what you advise is the sensible thing to do (and I would certainly get a lawyer's advice before parting with money), but I suppose what I want to know before I go any further is: what are the real risks? Does anyone know anyone who has been asked to demolish something in these circumstances (the villa is in the San Pedro area, and is not part of a development), or is it the case that, in practice, things are allowed to stand?

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09 Jan 2009 09:22 by rowlandsbb Star rating in Gloucestershire &Hue.... 762 posts Send private message

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Roberto is right you should stay clear unless you have very good legal advice giving you the all clear

Remember that in UK you would not buy a house which has an extension put on without the required planning permission and building  regulation approval

We do have laws relating to 'established development' which can in certain circumstances legalise situations such as this

If you really like the property then one approach is to tell the vendor that you will buy 'when and if ' the building is fully legal and that the vendor must take the appropriate steps to do that and pay the costs

Head should rule the heart when it comes  to property!!!  





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09 Jan 2009 09:56 by ferlow Star rating. 5 posts Send private message

Thanks a lot Rowlandsbb for your reply. I can very much see the wisdom of your advice but I am not able to let go of it just yet! I have copied the thread to the "Buying property" forum because I think it should probably be there. I posted the following reply there:

Roberto and Rowlandsbb replied, cautioning me (very sensibly) against going any further without having legal guarantees (thanks to both of you for replying). I'd still like to know though if anyone has direct experience of a case like this. The villa is in the San Pedro area, not in a development. How big is the risk that you would actually be asked to demolish? Does anyone know anyone who has been asked to or does the town hall have a relaxed attitude to this sort of thing? I have had anecodtal evidence from friends that there would be no problem, but I do take very much to heart the advice of Roberto and Rowlandsbb that it is best to have legal guarantees. I think the cost of the property is very relevant here. If it is a big enough bargain, it might be worth taking the risk, but I do need to know how big the risk is before making that decision.




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09 Jan 2009 10:32 by Poppyseed Star rating. 893 posts Send private message

Hi Ferlow, to ask how big is the risk in Spain is like asking how long is a piece of string, I don't think anyone can say for sure. The only thing that is for sure is  decisions in Spain appear to be random and inconsistent and I wouldn't touch it. with a bargepole.  If you think  about the people who obtained proper building pemits etc and are now coming unstuck, I don't rate your chances with one you know doesn't have all the right permissions. If it's such a bargain it would seem the vendors know something..........My advice would be take the advice of the professionals who have contributed to this thread.

Regards, Poppyseed



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09 Jan 2009 11:33 by rowlandsbb Star rating in Gloucestershire &Hue.... 762 posts Send private message

rowlandsbb´s avatar

First please note that I can not give you advice on this question but perhaps a 'view' may help

The last thing I want to do is encourage you to buy a house which is not fully legal

But you may like to look into this approach

It is essential that the main and original part of the property is fully legal so the price you pay should only reflect this...starting at the house value today without the extension

I suspect that the worst case scenario would be that you would have to knock down the illegal extension [ The Vera incident perhaps illustrates this as they did not knock down the garage as it was legal!!!] 

Most countries have laws allowing for retrospective approval of building and planning matters and I think Spain has them...but check

So you could [ but should not] buy on the basis that you were going to get retrospective approval or the established development rules apply

Straight away get this sorted as until you do the house will be virtually unsaleable.....and in valuation terms has no value

You should appreciate that you would be taking on the role as ' a property dealer' which you are probably not

Now the price you should pay..........the dealers price!..........which of course depends on the location etc

But as a starting point I suspect that a dealer would value the legal part of the house conservativley as at today, then make an offer circa 20/25 % less

a lot of risk and time in sorting everything out and dealers like a big reward for their efforts.....helps to balance out the ones that go wrong!!!!

As you are not a dealer do not buy......lots of choice out there!






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09 Jan 2009 12:04 by ferlow Star rating. 5 posts Send private message

Dear Rowlandsbb,

Thanks a lot for taking the time to reply. You are absolutely right, of course. Your message has focused my attention on the difficulties I would probably have to face, so you have done me a big favour. And as you say, there are probably lots of alternatives out there.

Thanks also to Poppyseed and Roberto for your advice.



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