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AFO Pros and Cons (Information)
Thursday, 03 February 2022

The new law of 3/2019 for Urgent Environmental and territorial measures for irregular building in Andalucia has repealed the law of 6/2012 and the Decree of 2/2012. The previous law was widely criticised in rural areas where old buildings dating back to the 1970s and 1980’s were judged on the same criteria as luxury villas which had been built illegally by riverbeds or on protected land.

The law will make it easier to obtain a decision on their status from the municipality and an AFO – asimilado a fuera de ordenación. The AFO confirms that although the property is “outside the planning rules” it is registered as complying with the new law. There are less strict requirements and the time period for resolution of the matter will be 6 months from the date of application. If an AFO has been applied for under the old rules a new application can be made using the new less stringent rules. If the municipality does not respond within 6 months the AFO is not granted. A uniquely Spanish concept of “silencio administrative negativo” applies. 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. What does it mean that a building is in a situation of assimilation to out of order? The situation of assimilated to out of planning (AFO), determines the regime applicable to a finished building that has been built without the mandatory urban planning licenses, or contravening their conditions, and on which it is not possible to adopt measures to protect urban legality or restore the disturbed legal order. What are the advantages of recognition of AFO status? The recognition of the situation of AFO requires the processing of a municipal administrative procedure. Once the procedure is resolved, the buildings will be able to have access to basic sanitation, water supply and electricity supply services if the corresponding infrastructure networks already exist or resolve these services autonomously. In addition, the conservation works necessary for the maintenance of the safety and health conditions that guarantee their habitability or use and access to the Property Registry are admitted. How is the procedure to recognize the AFO situation initiated? It can be initiated ex officio by the City Council or at the request of interested persons, through the corresponding request addressed to its City Council. Is having the AFO status recognized the same as having a license? No. The recognition of the situation of AFO does not legalize the building. Can the situation of AFO be recognized in buildings that are grouped? Yes, the recognition of the situation of AFO is independent of the type of land in which the buildings are located and their form of implementation.

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