The First Occupancy Licence (LPO) is an administrative document issued by the Town Hall where the property is located and has a dual purpose. The first is to accredit that, once the construction of a building has been completed, what has been executed corresponds to the project that was presented to the Town Hall to apply for the building permit. The second is to certify that the dwelling complies with the health and safety standards required of all new constructions and that it is therefore suitable for residential use or human habitation.
Both the granting of the First Occupancy Licence and its regulation are the responsibility of the Autonomous Communities and municipalities and, therefore, the applicable regulations and requirements will depend on where the dwelling is located.
There are several Autonomous Communities (CCAA) where it is not necessary to obtain a Second Occupancy Licence, including Andalusia, Aragon, Castile-Leon, Castile-La Mancha, Galicia, Madrid and the Basque Country.
The rest of the Autonomous Communities do require this administrative document, such as the Valencian Community, the Balearic Islands, Cantabria, Catalonia, Extremadura, La Rioja, Murcia and Navarre.
In this article we are going to focus on the First Occupancy Licence in the Valencian Community, where Imont Legal & Taxes SL has two offices of lawyers and tax advisors specialised in the purchase of a property in Spain.
How is the Licence of First Occupation procedure carried out in the Valencian Community?
In the Valencian Community, the procedure is carried out by means of a “Declaración Responsable” (Responsible Declaration), the regulation of which is contained in DECREE 12/2021, of 22 January, of the Consell, which develops or complements LAW 5/2014, of 25 July, of the Generalitat, on Territorial, Urban and Landscape Planning, of the Valencian Community.
Decree 12/2021 establishes that the “Declaración Responsible” for the first occupation will be compulsory in the following cases:
- The first occupation of residential buildings and their installations of new construction.
- The first occupation of dwellings that have undergone an extension, modification, reform or refurbishment.
- The first occupation of buildings and installations that had another previous use and are now used for housing, such as, for example, commercial premises.
Who has to present the Responsible Declaration for the first occupation?
This declaration must be presented by the developer or owner of the property to the Town Hall where the property is located, accompanied by a series of documents, such as:
- DNI of the declarant
- Copy of the title deed
- Photographs of the property
- Certificate of completion of works and installations issued by the architects and endorsed by their professional associations.
- Certificate of the end of the urbanisation works, when this has been undertaken at the same time as the construction of the dwelling.
The signatory of the Responsible Declaration must also state that he/she has another series of documents ready to be made available to the municipal technicians, when required by them at the time of inspecting the dwelling. These documents include:
- Energy efficiency certificate (CEE)
- Certificates of compliance with fire prevention and protection regulations.
- Certificate of acoustic insulation
- Telecommunications certificate
- Waste certificate
- A document issued by the companies supplying water for human consumption and electricity and, if applicable, also gas or thermal energy, accrediting the availability of a definitive supply or that the general connection rights have been paid and that these services are ready to be contracted by the owners once the LPO has been obtained.
Once the Responsible Declaration has been presented to the Town Council, it authorises the occupation and use of the dwelling from the day of its presentation and the contracting of the dwelling’s supplies, but this is without prejudice to the powers of the municipal technicians to check, control or inspect compliance with the legally established requirements and the adequacy of what has been executed with the contents of the declaration.
Circumstances in which the Responsible Declaration of first occupation must be renewed
Once the Responsible Declaration of first occupation has been obtained, it must be renewed 10 years after its issue when one of the following circumstances occurs:
- The transfer of the dwelling, whether by sale, donation or inheritance.
- When it is necessary to formalise a new contract for the supply of water for human consumption, gas or electricity.
When one of these circumstances occurs, it will be necessary to obtain a certificate of habitability or Second Occupancy Licence. To do this, owners must present to the Town Hall a Declaration of Second Occupancy including a copy of their DNI, a copy of the title deeds and a certificate of habitability issued by an architect or a competent technical architect.
For practical purposes, we can say that obtaining a Licence of First Occupancy is essential for homeowners, not so much because it proves that the property complies with all the legal requirements for residential use, but because it is a document required by the supply companies to contract the water, electricity and gas supplies for that property, which we will need to live in it in healthy conditions.
At Imont Legal & Taxes we know that the LPO can be a complex issue. Therefore, if you have doubts or need advice for the First Occupancy Licence in the Valencian Community, you can contact us. Our team of professionals will help you in everything you need.