Licence of First Occupation and Completion

Published on 2/16/2007 in Buying Process

The fact of having the purchase deeds signed  before a Notary in Spain means that your house “has been born” to the “legal world”. It is necessary a previous or simultaneous title which is the  “New work declaration deed” over the land. The Notary deed will allow you  to transmit the house. That is in the civil  and registry level.

The developer must also fulfill some requirements before the Public Administration ( i.e.- before the Local Council: planning obligations, reparation duties…) therefore, the Local Council won´t proceed to the granting of the First Occupation License (Licencia de Primera Ocupación) till these requirements are met.

The lack of FOL can impede the owner to have the power supplies connected : water, electricity, telephone, gas… it can even imply an impediment to have the house as registered domicile in the Local Council “ Padrón” registry.

The proper definition of the FOL is of a  license by which  it is checked that what it has been built  is adjusted to the Project. The FOL verifies if the building can be assigned to its legal use, because it is located in a proper  planning zone and it meets the basic safety and health conditions, it also confirm that  the builder has fulfilled his commitments on urbanisation of the surrounding land.

Regarding FOL and completion, Consumers specialists state:

1.- The seller who signs the public deeds of purchase without FOL ( First Occupation License) is in breach of contract even if the house has been physically handed over, because the ownership rights that he is trasmitting are not valid for the use of the house till the FOL is granted.

 2.- The buyer can be opossed to the signing of the deeds till the FOL is granted if the completion date was fixed for anytime after the end of the work, and the seller cannot cancel the contract due to this negative of the buyer until he fulfills his contractual obligations ( by obtaining the FOL).

 3.- The buyer can cancel the contract ( even after the signing of the deeds), with full devolution of amounts, interests and compensation of damages if after the completion date, either  the deeds having been signed or not, the building does not have the FOL.

4.- If the buyer decides not to cancel the contract, he must not occupy the house, even when having being formally handed over, because that would involve an administative infringement and because he can be deprived of its use by the competent Administration.


Written by: Maria de Castro

About the author:

Maria de Castro is a Spanish Lawyer and the Director of the Law Firm

Costa Luz Lawyers are contract and consumer real estate law specialists covering all parts of Spain. You can contact Maria at

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Feeg said:
Monday, July 30, 2018 @ 1:16 AM

I have an apartment in an old building (1964) in Estepona. There is no FOL and the town hall said nothing they can do. I need an FOL so I can get a tourist licence for renting; any ideas?

Christopher Gamble said:
Wednesday, March 2, 2011 @ 6:18 PM

With the current statye of the properety market its about time all this red tape go revised and simplified as the last thing the market needs is BARRIERS.

mikesmith4 said:
Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ 5:12 PM

Please could you explain what is a partial licence of first occupation and when is it usually issued?

9_Palms said:
Tuesday, October 21, 2008 @ 2:22 PM

We are waiting for our certificate of habitation. We like our neighbours are fed up with the builder and the council. This artical raises maybe other issue's although we had to like other move in to the property.

culmore said:
Monday, June 2, 2008 @ 3:54 PM

can i cancel a the contracy after the issuance of
licencia de primera ocupacion?

bones said:
Monday, June 4, 2007 @ 1:40 PM

If the developer cannot obtain the FOL until 18 months after the contract completion date, can the developer claim force majeure as a litigating circumstance, because the council won't issue the license until phase one of the development is complete?

tenter-hooks said:
Thursday, March 15, 2007 @ 12:46 PM

Clear and informative.
Gracias María

diamond said:
Saturday, February 17, 2007 @ 11:38 AM

very well explained

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