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License of first occupation

architecture 1857175 960 720 - License of first occupation

In the event that you are going to build a house from scratch or go to make a major reform in an existing home, you should bear in mind that you will need a first occupancy license. In this post, we explain in detail everything you need to know about this document.

The license of first occupation is a document issued by the administration after verifying that a construction or dwelling has been executed according to the technical project of work that was presented to the city council.

It is a way of certifying that the work has been carried out according to the conditions for which the works license and the permits were granted, without altering anything and complying with the urban regulations, it is possible that it also serves to legalize small modifications carried out in the work as long as they are legalized according to current regulations. It is also a way to prove that the building has all the necessary conditions to be used for residential use. Otherwise, the house can be closed and closed. Another function of this license is to verify that the construction meets all the requirements of health and safety.

There are three types of first occupancy licenses: for newly built buildings, for those that have been substantially modified (for example, an extension) and those that have modified their use (from office to home or vice versa).

You should not confuse it with the certificate of habitability since the license is replacing the cedula.

Why do you need a first occupation license?

This document is necessary because it is the only way to legalize your construction and, in addition, it will be useful to contract and register the supplies when you want to put the house in use, for example, water, electricity, gas. When you make the public deed of the house you will also be required this report.

Obtaining this license is a guarantee for third parties that acquire any property, because if someone bought a home that lacked a first occupation license, later it will have problems when it is legalized or registered. Its mission is to protect buyers, so before paying for a house, it is best to make sure that it has all the documents and that they are in order.

In the courts and tribunals of our country, the sale of real estate without a first occupation license is declared void, since this may be due to the fact that it has not been built in compliance with the law, which would lead to its irremediable demolition, or that what is built is not safe and does not meet the basic conditions to live.

The solution is the radical nullity of the agreement with the return of the price of the house plus taxes, interest, commissions and court costs that the buyer would have paid, in exchange for the return of the home object of the sale to the seller. It may give rise to the payment of compensation for damages in favour of the buyer depending on the case.

What kind of buildings need a first occupancy license?

These licenses are designed for the first use of buildings and comprehensive rehabilitation.

Also for premises resulting from works that are made in buildings and that change their configuration, alter their uses or modify the intensity of said uses, for example increasing the number of homes or transforming homes into commercial premises.

It is essential for the use of the facilities and for the opening of industrial and commercial establishments.

Why do we need this document?

First of all, this license is necessary to be able to have electricity, water, gas supply, sometimes even the telephone. Since the companies are prohibited from providing these services without the license of first occupation since they would be supplying an illegal dwelling outside of ordination.

On the other hand, when selling or buying a property is also one of the requirements. This guarantees the acquisition of said property under the conditions necessary to be used.

Application process

The person requesting the first occupation license is the developer or owner of the home. This should go to the town hall and submit the required documentation (Plans of end of work, Brief Memory of modifications, Final Certificate of the work, etc).

The city council will study the case and may deny or accept the request. The license will be accepted as long as it complies with the requirements of adaptation to the project and use.


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3 thoughts on “License of first occupation

  1. Sue Duncanson

    What's the situation with older properties? I bought my cortijo without a first licence in 2016 but get conflicting advice about whether it should or shouldn't have one in order to sell.

    1. (2)

      Hello Sue, if your house has never had a First Occupation License, the only solution is to regularize this situation. You have to write a Legalization File. At this point, it is inevitable to face the most delicate point: all constructions are not legalizable. In addition, depending on the severity of the case, the cost of legalizing a home can be considerable. You have to study each case individually to determine if it is viable or worth the investment.

      The next step is to check if the property to be legalized complies with the applicable regulations. If the answer is positive, you should look for a collegiate Architect and present a Legalization File in the Town Hall. Otherwise, it will be necessary to study whether, through a reform project, it would be possible to achieve it. In this case, a Reform Project and a Legalization File of the reformed house must be prepared. Subsequently, both documents will be presented jointly at the Town Hall. When it is also not possible to comply with the regulations by carrying out reform works, it is only necessary to study the exact reason for this impossibility and assess whether there are alternatives

      Kind Regards

  2. MR R GAY

    Having just had to pull out of a property (Resale) purchase due to the property never having a first occupation licence, I feel this document should be a legal requirement and the onus should be on the Vendor to provide also it should be illegal to market a property without the said document (Or it should be made very clear in the purchase agreement the Property does not have a licence.


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