Obtaining an AFO
Obtaining an AFO has now become a big part of our selling process for rural properties here in the Almeria region.
WHAT IS AN AFO? (Asimilado Fuera de Ordenacion)
An AFO is an administrative certificate that confirms the legal status of the property officially recognised out of planning permissions. A property may not have a licence of 1st Occupation or may have had extentions that have not been carried out with the relevant planning consent.
Some properties had licences that were given and have now expired or have been revoked in some cases. The AFO in simple terms does not make the house legal! it does however regularise a property! Be aware it can have restrictions attached! Once given that means it has been recognised and regularised as of the date issued and as it stands of that date. So no new changes can be made after the AFO has been given.
If you purchase a property with an AFO it is purchased with the knowledge of what is there now is it basically, you can not go building extentions etc and a house with an AFO that does not currently have a swimming pool, you can not put one in, however you can have an above ground one installed without it affecting the AFO. In some areas you can apply for a licence of works to the town hall presenting your AFO, however this is not guaranteed and is purely down to the Town Hall if they grant you permisson or not.
So if you are purchasing a renovation project, or a property that requires any alterations, please get your solicitor to check with the relevant town halls to see what or if there would be a restriction because of the AFO. We see so many houses on website, nomally too cheap to be true, but they normally do not have this documentation, we have properties offered to us daily that we can not market until they get the AFO!
We also have owners shout as us when we ask for one! Why? Understandably and we do not take offence, some purchased in good faith back in the day from their agent, when they have come to sell, we the nasty agent who wants to protect our furture purchaser and want to achieve a stress free sale and purchase for all parties, requests paperwork some have never heard of or do not want to get or because there is a big cost involved.
Whilst some unscrupulous agents out there are still prepared to market them, you will continue to find "bargain properties on the web" but buyer beware! they will inevitably cost you far more than you expected at the end of the day.
The Junta de Andalucía made it law that all town halls must have a list of all properties and their legal status as per the Decree 2/2012, of January 10. Why? Because of the documented corruption found within the Town Halls who were illegally granting building permission on land that clearly should not have been built on i.e. rustic land!
The AFO Certificate does however allow the property to have access to the basic services.
Utility companies, water, electricity etc are requesting an AFO upon receiving an application for connection.
Likewise, should a license to carry out renovation work on an existing property be applied for, the town halls are also requesting to see the AFO certificate before they can issue the renovation license.
There is an amended Andalucia land regulations in 2012 that says a house built before 1975 and with it´s original building permit/licence does not need an AFO. However they also grant power to the individual Town Halls to administrate their urban planning, which means if they insist on an AFO it has to be done.
Since the Decree was passed, all of the local town halls have drawn up their own regulations for the issuing of the AFO certificate and the amount of tax you have to pay to obtain one. So it is so important as a purchaser to make sure the property has this document prior to a sale being completed.
How to apply for an AFO
The owner of the property has to apply for the certificate at their local Town Hall either in person or through a lawyer. Spanish Property Choice has been given recommendations by past clients who have gone through this process sucessfully with their solicitor and we are happy to put you in touch with them to discuss this further should you wish.
Click the link for Solicitors who can apply for an AFO for you
For owners who would like Spanish Property Choice to market the property for them, we are here to help and advise all the way. The application process needs to be started as soon as possible to aid a quick and efficient sale, what you do not want is to start the process when you have a buyer! it will either hold up the sale and cause unnessasary stress or it could scupper the deal all together. There are many properties for a client to chose from that do have the right paperwork, so let us help you get this process going by contacting us on firstname.lastname@example.org
So to start the process you need to employ your architect who will then need full plans of of the property, confirm the property has water and electricity connections, confirm it has a functioning kitchen and bathroom and part of the permission is to have a 3 chamber Pozo installed.
Then this paperwork is submitted to the local town hall along with copies of the ecritura, catastro information, IBI bill and your NIE numbers.
You will then once granted will have a Declaración de Asimilado a Fuera de Ordenación (DAFO).
One bit of advise - Make sure that everything that has been built or extended on the land has been there for more than 6 years! This includes pergolas, car ports etc.
The local Town Hall will check all the overhead plans produced by the Junta de Andalucia and even Google to confirm the declaration and if something has not been in place for the requisite 6 years then the Town Hall may require it to be removed. This does vary from Town Hall to Town Hall but best check it out before applying.
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