New Urban Planning Law Permits Legalisation of 350,000 Illegal Homes in Valencia

18 January 2019 – Valencia Plaza

Last Wednesday, the plenary of Les Corts approved a modification to the law governing ‘Territorial Planning, Urban Development and the Landscape’ in the Community of Valencia, better known as Lotup (‘la ley sobre Ordenación del Territorio, Urbanismo y Paisaje’), with votes in favour from the PSPV, Compromís and Podem. It is an update to legislation that, amongst many other issues, will allow the situation of around 350,000 homes constructed illegally right across the region to be legalised, according to figures published by the Generalitat Valenciana itself.

It is a controversial but necessary state of affairs, in the opinion of the Executive, which is supported by three political parties and which defends the need to give some order to a scenario inherited from previous legislatures through this initiative, as reported in Thursday’s edition of La Razón in Valencia.

When asked about the details, sources at the Housing Department explained to Valencia Plaza that these “homes, which were constructed on the margin of administrative approvals on non-developable land”, are characterised by the fact that “they lack certain basic urban services, in particular, sewerage systems”.

“After these buildings had been constructed, the passage of time since their construction gave rise to the expiry of the period for the Administration to act against them. And the legislation is lacking in terms of its ability to respond to this reality (…)”, they indicate.

According to their warnings in this regard, “the existence of these homes has an effect on the environment: the clear deterioration of the landscape that they generate and the dumping of wastewater into the subsoil without any controls or treatment, which is affecting the underground aquifers, the elimination of plant species (…) and the fragmentation of habitats”.

Individual processes for homes built prior to 2015

As a result, they highlight that “beyond safety, health and public aesthetics considerations”, the buildings and land “on any kind of land and whoever the owner”, must be conserved and maintained”, in accordance with the environment in which they are located and in accordance with the rules established by the urban planning legislation for them”.

For this reason, the reform of the law allows these residences to be legalised, although it limits itself “to buildings completed before the entry into force of Lotup (in 2015) (…)”.

According to the Housing Department, the legalisation of these homes “could be performed on an individual basis”, and they may be eligible for it “in all cases regardless of whether or not they have a file open”. Of course, provided they fulfil the requirements stipulated for it.

Solution to the ghost PAIs

Beyond that question, the update to Lotup seeks to provide a solution to the ghost PAIs. The reform reflects that in the case of urban planning projects that have been started but which have been suspended and which may have some viability, Town Halls have the option of dividing the sectors into smaller execution units so as to carry them out, step by step, and it extends the term to 10 years.

For those PAIs that are “anti-economic”, and which may be reversible, an inverse Reparcelation may be applied to return the plots to the previous legal situation and, therefore, remove the burdens on owners (…).

Original story: Valencia Plaza (by Dani Valero)

Translation: Carmel Drake

281