In Mallorca, it is well known that it has become more and more difficult to be granted planning permission. Our current situation is that despite these strict laws, many people would go ahead and build anyway, regardless that they could be fined or have said construction removed. With this in mind it comes as a surprise that the local Government have brought a new law to legalise these constructions.
Despite the rules, Mallorca has many properties and therefore many illegal properties. It could be said that the main reasons for building without planning permission in our opinion occurred because:
- Planning restrictions were too strict and fines from the town hall were never implemented, so there was never a threat to the construction
- In 1997 the minimum plot size granted planning permission had to be 7000 m², increased to 14,000 m² throughout Mallorca. In Pollença the plot always had to be 14,000 m² but many plots were smaller than this.
- Increased demand in rental properties which included extensions, terraces and swimming pools on properties which were originally small farmhouses.
- Cost of renovating a rustic finca were more favourable than buying a plot in a residential area
As a result:
The paradox of having a community being built up and employment created for the building trade and the development of this villa holiday tourism (in a society that employment was very seasonal), which was bringing wealth to the towns despite, the building regulations did not allow this constructions.
The land and building laws and regulations in Mallorca are complex and to be honest don't work well. With a vast amount of different regulations there is no blanket answer to whether a property has been built with or out-with the law. For this reason each property in our sales portfolio must be carefully evaluated before offering to our clients. The core market investing in property in Mallorca are those from the UK and Germany, for this reason buying an illegal property or a property with some element of illegal construction is certainly flashing warning signs. What would happen to my property? Will I get a fine? Will it involve a lengthy court case with lawyers? These are perhaps just a few questions running through someone's mind and a common concern. The new land law allows for some illegal constructions to be legalised so long as they follow a few key requirements.
From the standpoint of the town hall, the development boom did good things for the town and boosted the economy. Now it is taking action to rectify problems caused by it's strict regulations. The new law states that properties built in the countryside can be legalised providing no legal action is currently taking place or has taken place in the last 8 years. Properties constructed on protected countryside that have evidence of construction prior to 1991 may also be legalised. Other requirements include:
- Plans of the existing construction must be drawn up by an architect
- Payment of licences and taxes paid to the town hall declaring the property as a new construction
- A percentage of the construction cost to be paid based on m²
- 15% during the first year
- 20% during the second year
- 25% during the third year
Of course there are a few loopholes, the basic structure of the property should be respected and no substantial changes or extensions have been carried out. (this is for ilegal properties)
However, in general this is good news to some home owners wishing to invest in legalising their property, either to avoid possible fines or to make it more appealing to buyers. Although this investment doesn't come cheap as it could cost an estimated 50,000 € to legalise a 200m² construction. On the hole it is an encouraging sign that new laws are being passed and that changes are being put though.