Legalisation of Properties in the Balearic Islands

Changes to the existing legislation concerning legalisation bring big changes to Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza.

Changes to a very important Spanish law that came into effect in January 2018 do not only concern both Spanish and expat residents in Mallorca, Menorca or Ibiza – anyone who is considering buying a property in the Balearic Islands, who has just made a new acquisition of a property, those considering constructing their own dream house or simply extending an existing construction should pay attention to this rather important piece of legislation!

Today, whilst complex and drawn-out, it is still within the realm of possibility to register and document an illegal building in the Spanish land registry, both in rural or urban areas of the Balearic Islands. This is possible thanks to a condition set out by the local town councils – that your property is considered anObra Antigua – an old construction.

To meet this condition, at least eight years must have passed since the completion of its construction – without the relevant and competent authorities opening any procedures or infractions against the property. After this eight year period has passed, upon which its illegal status will have “expired”, any property on Mallorca, Menorca or Ibiza will be eligible for registration at the correspondent local land registry with a Declaration of Antiquity”. In these cases, even partially illegal buildings, i.e. buildings which were registered and then have been extended without permission, are eligible for registration, as after eight years have passed the Spanish authorities are no longer legally entitled to draw up a demolition order for the property

However, this situation will not be indefinite, and in the future, registration at the local land registry office will only be a legal possibility if the appropriate procedures have been followed accordingly. To meet these requirements, a building application must be made by a licensed architect, a building permit must be issued by the neighbourhood association (should the plot be part of a community or urbanisation), and a document confirming that a competent surveyor has made an inspection at the property. Moreover, the building will have to apply with the appropriate plans and permissions requested from the local government.

Unfortunately for private property owners in Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza, these changes in legislation must be taken seriously as in 2018 alone, more than 50 illegal constructions were demolished by decree of the local town halls – including private residences. For this reason, it is absolutely critical that one checks whether the popular Mallorcan “fincas” (country homes) are in fact legal and if there are any pending demolition orders to be carried out against them.

These problems often arise in areas which plots of land that don’t have the necessary applications for construction, or aren’t connected to the main sewer systems of the island. These are criteria which must be diligently checked whether they intend to build on land or just extend the existing construction. There are also areas in which building is strictly prohibited and considered illegal by default, with no opportunity for legalisation.

Should you require any assistance or legal counsel concerning properties, purchases and sales on the islands of Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza, please contact us at your convenience at or by phone on the numbers listed on our contact page.


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