The president of the Junta de Andalucía, Susana Díaz, stated in Wednesday’s state of the region debate that her government plans to apply changes to Andalucía’s planning laws, or LOUA, which could regularise up to 3,000 illegal properties in Malaga.
The proposed modification refers to Article 185 of the LOUA which states that subdivided plots of land are subject to urban planning and the necessary regulations. Changes to the existing article would allow buildings on these plots to be included in Decree 2/2012 - not previously permitted - which regularises illegal properties under something called ‘asimilado a fuera de ordenacíon’. This measure, while not permitting full legalisation and the granting of primary occupation licences, does permit property owners to access basic services such as electricity and water.
However the reform will only affect small subdivided plots of land - into two parcels or more - and not those on which whole residential estates have been built. Nor does it affect those plots built on protected land or flood plains.
In spite of this the measure could benefit, in terms of Malaga province, around 3,000 homes or six per cent of the total number (estimated at around 50,000) of illegal properties. The figure rises to 20,000 to 25,000 in the whole of Andalucía.
It has been common practice in many communities to divide an inherited plot of land among members of the family so that each one can build their own home. According to the president of the association of illegal homes in Mijas, Juan Antonio Blanco, of the 4,000 illegal properties in his municipality, half have been built on subdivided plots of land. In Alcaucín properties of this type number 500 while in Arenas the figure reaches 300.
The modification of the LOUA has long been requested by campaigning groups. The secretary of SOHA (Save Our Homes Axarquía), Mario Blancke, who is also the town planning councillor in Alcaucín, has welcomed the move, saying “it’s good because the owners of homes on these types of plot had nothing”.
However SOHA and the mayor of La Viñuela, José Juan Jiménez, among others, are still calling for the measures to go further so that the owners of illegal properties are able to make them properly legal and thus obtain full habitation rights.