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In Spain, the continuous aging of the housing stock is a current reality for many people. That being said, this is not the only factor affecting the housing industry, as it also depends on the amount of use and maintenance that is applied, however this aging process may also be the main motive that is leading many homes to be declared as dilapidated. Specifically, this article will explain what to do and when to act if a building is declared as dilapidated in Spain, although first we will explain what is understood by a dilapidated building and how many types currently exist.


Legally Dilapidated Buildings

Firstly, it is important to understand what is referred to when discussing a legally dilapidated building. In Spain, there is something called Urban Ruin which is an administrative act that declares a building in a state of ruin or dilapidation. This dilapidation stems from deterioration, wear and tear, serious damage as well as structural and architectural depletion. This may lead to an order for demolition or directly to rehabilitate the building in question.


As such, a building is considered in legal ruin or dilapidation when there is structural deterioration of a home up to the point that it directly affects the safety of the people in the building, specifically anyone that resides, works and moves about the building or even near the building. This is to protect the urban area of the city surrounding the area of the building.  Considering these characteristics, the authorities identify and classify possible dilapidated buildings in order to prevent any danger that may occur as a result.


Types Of Legal Dilapidation

As previously explained, the definition of a home that is legally dilapidated has different subtleties and categories that define each type of deterioration in line with its characteristics. Traditionally in Spain, there have been three different types of circumstances to declare a home in ruin and these include: technical, economic and urbanistic dilapidation. However, there is also a fourth state added in that is called imminent dilapidation. The following list goes into more detail about each of these circumstances:

1.Technical dilapidation:

This refers to a general state of a building with structural deterioration. The wear and tear of this type of ruin requires in-depth work. It surpasses simply renovating the building to reaching the extreme of complete reconstruction of each building element or even demolition.


2.Economic dilapidation:

This occurs when more than 50% of the renovation work required to conserve the building is needed to return it back to the corresponding conditions for safety and liveability. In this case, the economic value refers to the amount of the building in question rather than the land that it is built on.


3.Urbanistic dilapidation:

This is the state that occurs when, due to a modification in the planning of a specific municipality, a building no longer complies with the new regulations that were not previously in place when it was built. As a result, the building is outdated and is not “up to code”. Urbanistic dilapidation only allows for conservation work that does not imply a ¡n increase in volume or that does not propose an increase in the value for expropriation purposes.


4.Imminent dilapidation:

The imminent dilapidation of a building is identified when a building reaches such a poor state of conservation that it becomes dangerous for the citizens of the municipality or city where the living space is located. The actions for the authorised entities top handle the situation are eviction or demolition.


How and Who Can Declare a State of Ruin or Dilapidation?

For the administrative process of a building in a state of dilapidation, it is necessary for an expert to intervene, a professional in charge of declaring a building dilapidated. In the event that several expert reports clash, the town hall should be the entity to resolve the conflict and proceed to establishing the corresponding declaration of dilapidation or not. This declaration may lead to a renovation or a demolition.


If a living space is declared dilapidated, if the person in question does not agree with the declaration, it is possible to present an appeal before the town hall of their municipality or city within one month of the time when it was declared. As a landowner, it would be possible to present an administrative appeal in court with the complete margin of two months starting from when the announcement of the declaration of ruin was received by the authorities, given that possible errors are considered for construction that lead to the declaration of ruin.


In any event, it is also important to revise and keep in mind the municipal regulations of the location in question. If you would like more information about this or other subjects, do not hesitate to contact us at detea@detea.com or read related articles on our website.

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