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Understanding the Habitation License in Spain for Property Sales


Understanding the Habitation License in Spain for Property Sales

When selling a property in Spain, it is crucial for both sellers and buyers to be aware of the legal requirements that must be met. One aspect that often comes into question is the necessity of a habitation license, known locally as the “licencia de ocupación” or “cédula de habitabilidad”. This document verifies that a property meets the government’s living standards and is fit for occupancy.

The Purpose of the Habitation License

The habitation license serves as a quality assurance that a property complies with the municipal regulations regarding health, safety, and hygiene. Issued by the local town hall, it outlines that the building has been completed according to the approved planning permission. It is often a requirement for newly built homes, but it may not always be mandatory for older properties depending on the region.

So, who is responsible for arranging the habitation license in Spain?
Generally, it is the property owner’s obligation to acquire this document. For new constructions, it is the developer’s responsibility to obtain the habitation license once the building is completed. They must ensure that the construction complies with all the technical requirements stipulated by Spanish building regulations. After checks by municipal technicians, if the dwelling passes, the license is granted by the town hall or the autonomous community, depending on the location of the property.

For existing homes, when there is a change of ownership, or significant renovations have taken place, the new owner must apply for a first or updated habitation license. The process begins by hiring a certified architect or technical architect, who visits the property to verify that it meets the requirements and to draft a habitation certificate.

This certificate, along with other necessary paperwork, such as the deed of the house and identification details, is then submitted to the local town hall.

Timing can vary, but it often takes a few weeks to several months to receive the habitation license once the application is submitted. It is crucial to initiate this process promptly to avoid any legal inconveniences or disruption in service access; for example, some utility companies may require the license before setting up services like electricity or water.

Is it Mandatory for Selling?

The necessity of having a habitation license to sell a property in Spain can depend on the local regulations and the age of the home. Generally, a seller is expected to have this license in place when listing the property on the market.

In some cases, particularly with older homes or in certain areas, the absence of a habitation license might not be a legal barrier to the sale. Yet, this could potentially complicate the buyer’s ability to secure utilities such as water and electricity, and might present challenges when trying to obtain a mortgage.

Selling Without a Habitation License

While selling a property without a habitation license is not illegal, it’s essential to understand the potential implications. The lack of this document can affect the attractiveness of the property to prospective buyers and might lead to reduced offers. Additionally, a buyer might request that the cost of obtaining the license be deducted from the sale price.

The Impact on Buyers

For buyers, it’s advisable to ensure that the property has a valid habitation license before proceeding with a purchase. It provides them with the assurance that they’re investing in a property that meets the necessary standards. Not having one can result in additional costs and legal hurdles post-purchase.

Best Practices for Sellers

It is in the best interest of the seller to have the habitation license sorted when planning to sell a property. Doing so can smooth the process, add value to the property, and prevent negotiations from stalling. If a property does not have this license, the seller may consider applying for it prior to listing the property for sale. This increases transparency and could prevent potential mistrust or legal issues during the sale process.


In conclusion, while the habitation license may not be a legal requirement for the sale of all properties in Spain, it is generally considered best practice to have it and at Casas Manuel, a valid Habitation License is one of the key documents that we require when listing a property for sale. The absence of a habitation license could have implications on the ease and value of the transaction. Sellers should inform themselves of their specific regional requirements, and buyers should exercise due diligence in ensuring the property they wish to purchase complies with local habitation standards.

For those unfamiliar with the process or the language, navigating administrative tasks in Spain can be daunting. Therefore, many opt to consult with a local solicitor to facilitate the process. These professionals can liaise with the necessary bodies and ensure all paperwork is correctly completed and submitted on time.

In summary, whilst the initial application of the habitation license for a new home falls on the shoulders of the developer, the responsibility of obtaining or updating a habitation license for existing properties resides with the current owner. It’s a clear-cut process that, with the right guidance, can be navigated smoothly, paving the way for a stress-free enjoyment of your Spanish home.

If you have any questions about obtains a habitation license in Spain or would like any further information on buying or selling a property in Spain, please do not hesitate in contacting our friendly team at Casas Manuel Real Estate.

Casas Manuel: Your gateway to buying or selling Spanish properties. With professional insights and offices in Costa Blanca South, find your dream home by the sea.

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Benijofar, 03178, Alicante, Spain
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