Everything you need to know before buying a prefabricated house in Spain

I have received some enquiries from clients that have thought that a prefabricated house away from the hustle and bustle of the city would be a good choice to live or spend their holidays. 

 

A few questions spring to mind.

Can they be installed in any plot? Is a building license required to live in it? Where to obtain the building permits?

I have to say that as far as I know there is no specific regulation on building, licences or taxes for prefabricated houses in Spain, however the procedures of installation of these houses are as per a normal house.

In this sense, the Spanish Civil Law does make a distinction between real estate and other type of estate. In its article 334, it refers to real estate as "land, houses, roads and buildings of all kinds attached to the ground"; While defining the rest as those that "can be transported from one point to another without undermining the thing to which they are linked."

Therefore, if your prefabricated house needs foundations and connecting up to public services and energy supplies, it will be considered as “real estate” and you will have to follow the process included in the Spanish Building Law (LOE) and the Technical Building Regulations (CTE). You will need a license for the construction, and other infrastructure works.

For all these formalities, a project registered in the College of Architects and signed by an architect must be obtained.

 

What type o plot should I buy?

As a general rule, if we are going to use the house as your home, it will be necessary for the land to have planning permission. However, if you wish to have the property in in rural land, (land without planning permission) each Autonomous Community will have the last word, the competent body for land development and let me tell you now that it is very hard to obtain planning permission in rural areas if you do not have a business to manage the land with some agricultural activities.

In Extremadura they are more flexible with the installation of mobile homes or with solar energy on rural areas as long as they are not installed in a protected area, while most other regions in Spain including the Valencian Region, are difficult to obtain the correspondent planning permission and becoming even more so with the years.

To know the planning classification of the land, each municipality has its General Planning Plan and its regulations, according to which the residential zones at the municipality are regulated. Therefore, what I recommend before anything is done is to go to the town hall to which the plot belongs and request a certificate of the planning conditions of the plot or even better, pay a visit to the town hall architect and he will explain the characteristics of the plot and will inform you if the plot is compatible with the installation of your prefabricated house. Normally they do not care about the construction model, but issues such as distance to the boundary, amount of construction area, maximum heights or exterior finishes will be carefully inspected.

 

Having all permits will prevent you from more than a scare, as with any incompatible land use. In addition, it is advisable to know the state of the terrain, to ensure its suitability, geotechnical and topographic studies may be carried out however all those matters should be taken care by your architect anyway.

 

What taxes and fees do I have to pay?

All the procedures for this type of housing entail costs.

Normally a building tax is payable, which is a tax to pay the town hall for analysing your project, normally It varies from 0.5% to 2% of the budget shown in the project. If all is correct they will issue the building licence with an approximate cost of 4% of the budget shown in project.

Once we have the house ready, we must regulate its use. For this purpose, a habitation certificate is requested with a minimum payment that will depend on each Autonomous Community, the first occupation license with which the municipality certifies that the provisions of the project have been complied with and that it is around 1% of its cost, as well as the connection to the water, electricity and gas if available.

Mobile homes are exempt from these procedures unless they wish to link to services supplies. If so, documentation equivalent to traditional housing must be obtained.

Prefabricated houses considered real estate may apply for a mortgage as a common home. However, if the house is on land without permission, or it is not correctly registered in the Land Registry or it is mobile there will be no mortgage option, but a financing such as a personal loan may be obtained.