A recent Andalusian Parliament meeting approved, with the support of PSOE, PP and Ciudadanos a reform of planning laws that allows houses to put in order built on illegal plots.
Until now they could not aspire to any regularization, since the Law on Urban Planning of Andalucia (LOUA) stated that such buildings could not be deemed legal through the passing of time and therefore there was always the possibility of demolition. Recently, a bill amending the Act offered the possibility of legalisation This is a figure referred to in Decree 2/2012 of regularization that will allow owners to register their homes in the Land Registry and also access basic services (water and electricity), something that until now was not possible.
The Ministry of Planning estimates that the measure may benefit some 30,000 homes throughout the community of 300,000 irregular buildings that exist on undeveloped land. For collectives affected such as Save Our Homes Axarquia (SOHA), which brings together more than 400 owners, mostly foreign residents, the Bill can benefit some 70,000 housing units, of which 10,000 are in Malaga. The president of SOHA, Philip Smalley, sees the change as very positive and that many families will be able to resume their lives and “end the uncertainty that they have been subject to” because in many cases the subdivisions were made even with the approval of the municipalities.
The new rules may benefit residential buildings which were built 6 years ago or more on isolated locations on undeveloped land provided they are not located in flood-prone areas or in areas declared as special protection or are affected by administrative procedures. To prevent further construction in illegal subdivisions, it makes it clear that reform does not apply in cases where the time limit of six years has not elapsed.
In the case of buildings on plots that have settlement status adjustments can be made through their incorporation into the overall urban planning (PGOU) of the different municipalities. In return owners should take urgent corrective measures to eliminate the landscape or environmental impacts that may have occurred, especially on water resources.
In addition to the modification of the articles of the LOUA, the regulation also includes three additional provisions aimed at strengthening the process of identifying buildings on undeveloped land, ensuring access to information about them and to facilitate their registration in case of regularization. The first provision is that municipalities should start drafting the plan within two years, a necessary tool for identifying housing and the implementation of the AFO (outside regulation) regime. The second requires corporations to respond within a maximum period of two months to queries raised by the public in relation to urban regime for land and buildings on undeveloped land, while the third introduces a supplementary scheme to the AFO for order to implement the process of registration of properties regularized so that the owners will not have to wait for the decision before they are provided with water, electricity and register its construction in the registry.
Rodrigo Sanchez, the PSOE, said that “we can show that Andalusian institutions are a useful tool for solving the problems of citizens.”
From the PP, Patricia Navarro, was more critical of the changes and it doesn’t go near to what should be done in Andalucia and reaffirmed the commitment of his group “continue fighting for the regularization of housing.”
Marta Escriva of Ciudadanos, said during the parliamentary debate that reform is “a breakthrough”, but noted that it is best to make a new LOUA.
The parliamentary Podemos, Mercedes Barranco, criticized the rule as creating inequalities”, while considered that does not solve the problem holistically.