Spanish building licences are famously difficult and tortuous to obtain and in most cases something of a nightmare. Here are 5 common nut tricky situations that can only be solved by using a Retrospective Licence and that we surveyors are quickly able to spot:

1-Garages or building work carried out attached to the boundaries (even permanent carports etc) cannot obtain a licence (generally speaking). The minimum distance from an open window to the neighbour’s boundary is 2 metres in Spain, but generally detached villas must be a minimum of 3 metres away from the boundary, although this may vary and can even be much more.

2-Glazed in terraces or closed in porches are built without a proper licence in 95% of cases. Spanish properties traditionally tend to have many open (patios) or semi-open spaces (porches) to create breezes or shaded areas. These semi-open spaces are very frequently closed in by using glazing or brick work. The Spanish law regards these enclosures as extensions of the built floor area of the property and therefore they are subject to a ‘Major Licence’ for their construction. Licences to close these spaces in are generally not issued.

3-Most pools are not declared in the title deeds. Many of them don’t have a licence either. The small percentage that have a licence generally don’t have the architect’s certificate signing off the building of the pool. If you are selling your property you can use a Certificate of Antiquity or Retrospective Licence for pools, to give peace of mind to the purchasers and also use it to upgrade the title deeds to include the pool at the time of selling.

4-Any exterior cupboard, semi open kitchen or other covered building work must have a proper ‘Major Licence’ when it has an interior height over 1,50 metres.

5-Under-builds with living accommodation are not allowed by law and like the previous examples can be added to the title deeds using a Retrospective Licence.

In all these scenarios the document needed is a Certificate of Antiquity, also known as a Retrospective Licence, to guard against possible sanctions, and it is highly recommended that they are obtained to avoid putting off potential buyers due to the existence of illegal extensions in or on the property. It will also be needed in order to update the property’s description in Title Deeds & Land Registry.

The condition in order to obtain a Retrospective Licence is that the building work done is 4 years old in Murcia Area, 6 years old in Almeria area and built before August 2010 in Alicante area.

If you are purchasing a property in this area remember to always give your solicitor an exact description of the property highlighting the building works above and ask them to guarantee what you are buying is exactly what is registered at the land registry.

Only qualified Spanish architects are competent to issue retrospective licences so if your solicitors are studying your case, ask them to contact Martinez de la Casa Architects to provide the Antiquity Certificate and we will make the whole process easier, faster and cheaper with our fixed published prices and guaranteed deadlines.

The cost of a Certificate of Antiquity / Retrospective Licence for pools is 190€ +IVA (229 €) and extensions or complete properties 270€ +IVA (326 €).  Discounts available if you require your Energy Performance Certificate (121€ IVA Inc) or Habitation Licence (from 118€ Registration tax not included), done at the same time.

Martinez de la Casa Architects can guarantee all services within stated deadlines and a fixed price. With over 10,000 clients in South East Spain, we are considered one of the most prominent and respectable architecture practices, providing all types of certificates and licences, amongst other services.

For all enquiries or to arrange an appointment please call

665 810 411 or visit to see an impressive list of over 200 client’s testimonials.