In this article we are going to deal with some aspects of the so-called Second Occupancy Licence –Licencias de Segunda Ocupación– (also named the Second Occupancy Habitation Certificate –Cedula de habitablidad de Segunda Ocupación-, in some City Councils)
The Second Occupancy Licence is a document of administrative nature, to certify that a dwelling satisfies the minimum housing requirements.
For this reason, it of utmost importance that your lawyer makes sure that the dwelling has a First or Second Occupancy Licence during the initial phase of the CONVEYANCING process (revision and analysis of the documentation).
The validity period of the initial Occupancy Licence or Habitation Certificate varies according to the issue date:
– Occupancy Licences issued before 2004 shall be valid for a period of 10 years from the issue date onwards, and consequently will now have expired. Therefore, the vendor is required to provide you with a Second Occupancy Licence
– As from 2004 onwards, Occupancy Licences are valid for a period of 15 years
An Occupancy Licence or Second Occupancy Licence in force, is an official document required to satisfy compliancy with housing regulations. It should be submitted by the vendor on signing the handover of the property, and it should be declared by the Notary Public in the corresponding Public Deeds. It is important to take into account that when signing deeds for second hand properties, the Notary Public will only make a record of whether the Occupancy License has been provided or not, this will not guarantee the purchasing party that the license has not expired. It is essentially the responsibility of the lawyer in charge of conveyancing to supervise and examine all of the documentation to protect the interests of the purchasing party.
The license is essential for contracting the supply of basic amenities to the property (such as electricity, water, sewage discharge, landline and broadband connections…), and to be able to complete a second resale or any subsequent resales.
The renewal of an expired Occupancy Licence shall be carried out via submission of a Declaration of responsibility –Declaración Responsable– to the corresponding City Council, this must be accompanied by the required supporting documents which differ depending on the City Council in question. In general, the main documents required consist of proof of payment of Stamp Duty, and the Habitation Certificate issued by a competent Technical Architect. By presenting this documentation in the correct manner, we will obtain to immediate effect and for the designated purpose, the Second Occupancy Licence.
If the vendor fails to submit the Second Occupancy License, it may simply be due to the previous license having passed its expiry date. This can be easily remedied as explained above. Nonetheless, failure to provide a valid license will lead to delays in contracting the supply of basic amenities and to a series of additional expenses, that in our expert opinion, under no circumstances should be undertaken by the purchasing party.
For this reason, if you are faced with a vendor failing to submit an Occupancy License, or with an expired Occupancy License, we strongly advise you that your case is studied on an individual basis to be sure that you are fully aware of your particular situation. Only an Independent law firm with expertise in Property Law can advise you correctly throughout the entire purchasing process, and protect your interests and peace of mind.
At MSG LEGAL, as part of our CONVEYANCING service, we revise and analyse all of the necessary documentation, and in particular verify whether or not the property has a valid Occupancy License. Likewise, we can assist you in renewing the initial Occupancy License with the City Council corresponding to the location of the property, or in resolving any legalisation issues that the dwelling may require.
Please note the information provided in this article is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice.