What is an AFO on a rural property in Andalucia Spain.

  • Red Rose Property Spain by Red Rose Property Spain
  • 7 months ago
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What is an AFO

The AFO: Asimilado al régimen de Fuera de Ordenación – Assimilated into the regime of being outside planning regulations

Following different regularization on the subject, it was approved by the Junta de Andalucía the Spanish Decree 3/2019 dated 24th of September of 2019. The aim is to regularise and recognise the situation of dwellings located on land which cannot be developed (rural land) by means of issuing an administrative certificate stating the legal situation of the property, this is now called the AFO

This Decree is only applicable for properties situated on “Suelo no Urbanizable” land which cannot be developed- (rural land) in the region of Andalusia.

An AFO in Andalucia

In compliance with this Decree, Town Halls have proceeded to draw up their local rules to regulate the procedure by issuing these certificates and to regulate the tax or duty that must be paid to obtain them. The process of drawing up the local regulations has been considerably delayed, but at the present time most of the Town Halls (not all) are able to begin processing the certificates in order to give them to whoever applies for them.

The tax to be paid to obtain such certificate varies depending upon the Town Hall and the difference could be significant according to the municipality where the property is situated.

To start the process in the Town Hall a certificate must be presented that has been issued by a qualified expert who has seen the property, measured it and confirmed certain technical questions.

The Andalucian AFO

Basically, the content of this certificate implies the following:

  • Confirmation that there are no administrative proceedings registered against the construction (nor sanctions or demolition proceedings) by the Town Hall.
  • Confirmation that any possible town planning infringement that could have been committed has expired.
  • Confirmation that the construction fulfils the minimum requirements of living and health conditions, including suitable sanitation (septic tank).
  • Confirmation of the type of building work that can be carried out on the property: strictly refurbishment and conservation. Never extension or structural building work.

In effect, this ‘AFO’ certificate does not change the legal situation of the property, nor does it provide any more rights than it already has. That is to say, any construction that fulfils the above and is duly registered is not going to be ‘more legal’ after obtaining this document.

Utility companies do require the ‘AFO’ certificate for new contracts and connections for the supply of water and electricity, but not for any change of ownership of existing supplies. The Town Hall also requires the certificate in order to be able to grant a building licence for the refurbishment of existing buildings.

Frequently asked questions about the AFO

1. Do I need the ‘AFO’ Certificate for signing the public deed of change of ownership?

No. The Notary’s office does not require the ‘AFO’ certificate in order to proceed with the execution of the Public Deed of Purchase and Sale.

2. Do I need the ‘AFO’ certificate to register my Public Deed in the Land Registry?

No. The Land Registry does not require the ‘AFO’ certificate to register the Public Deed.

3. If all existing constructions on the property fulfil previous requirements, but there is a component that does not do so (for example: a new porch recently erected on the terrace; a small hut installed for the dog; a recently built barbecue, etc.), will I be able to obtain the ‘AFO’ certificate?

No. For the Town Hall to issue the ‘AFO’ certificate EVERYTHING existing on the property has to comply with the requirements. It is not possible to obtain the ‘AFO’ certificate because these small components do not fulfil the requirements.

4. In the above case can the Town Hall initiate proceedings against the property, or only against those elements which do not fulfil the requirements?

Only against elements existing on the property which do not fulfil the requirements.

5. If I do not obtain the ‘AFO’ certificate, can the Town Hall initiate any proceedings against the property?

If the constructions are sufficiently old and the action taken by the Town Hall has expired, it cannot initiate any proceedings even though the property does not have the ‘AFO’ certificate.

It can only consider initiating proceedings regarding those elements that have been carried out recently and that are not of sufficient antiquity.

6. Can the Town Hall require me to obtain the ‘AFO’ certificate?

According to the literal meaning of the Spanish Decree, the Town Hall could initiate the proceedings for the granting of the ‘AFO’ certificate and thereby notify the owner. However, in normal practice this will not happen.

7. The property has a main house and a swimming pool, which are registered in the Land Registry and have sufficient antiquity, but there is a barbecue area that was installed three years ago. Am I able to obtain the ‘AFO’ certificate?

No, because there is an element on the property which does not fulfil the requirements.

8. In the above case where I am unable to obtain the ‘AFO’ certificate, can the Town Hall initiate proceedings against the house or the swimming pool?

No, because they are registered, with sufficient antiquity and any infringement would have expired. Proceedings could only be initiated against the barbecue.

9. The property needs a change of flooring, bathroom tiling and an inner wall knocked out. Can I ask for planning permission from the Town Hall?

In these cases, the Town Hall will require that you obtain the ‘AFO’ certificate before giving you planning permission.

10. If I do not have the ‘AFO’ certificate, can I obtain a permit for minor construction work in order to carry out any type of refurbishment or maintenance work in the property?

Officially, no. The Town Hall will require you to obtain the ‘AFO’ certificate prior to granting any type of ‘minor construction work permit’ for the property.

11. How much does it cost to obtain the ‘AFO’ certificate?

The tax to be paid for obtaining the ‘AFO’ certificate varies considerably according to the Town Hall. It is usually a percentage of the valuation of the building, but in some cases, it is a fixed amount. The amount can vary greatly depending upon the Town Hall and the details of each individual case.

12. How much time is needed to obtain the ‘AFO’ certificate?

The time varies according to the Town Hall and there can be a great difference depending upon which Town Hall is involved. It could take months, or in some cases even more than one year.

Red Rose Property and it’s lawyers can help you getting all right paperwork when buying a property in Spain.

Look at our rural properties in Spain which we have currently for sale.

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