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Will we have to pull a balcony down that was built by a previous owner without planning permission?

Property Law

Antonio Flores Vila

27th of February 2004

Q. I am writing to ask you for some advice on a property I purchased in Mallorca with my father last year. We have just found out from the previous owner that he did not get planning permission from the Town Hall to build a balcony/terrace. Will the Town Hall make us pull the balcony/terrace down? If we had to pull the balcony terrace down do we have any legal rights to keep the balcony /terrace, due to the fact this all happened before we purchased the property. We have a lawyer who worked with us on the sale of the property is he to blame for not recognising this in the first place. I would be most grateful for any advice you can give myself and my father.

Tracy

    A. It does happen ocassionally that when the purchase is made the solicitor ommits establishing if the square meters of the aparment and those registered on the deeds coincide, as well as the description of the property on the deeds and the reality. It is therefore advisable that a surveyor, or even a valuer, draws up a report and establishes that the property is fully and properly registered.

    It would be advisable that you try to register the balcony terrace in the land registry, for which you would have to prove that it is more than a number of years old (4 in Andalucia) and therefore the legal rights of the Town Hall to proceed against you have expired. For the above purpose you could either have an architect draw up a report confirming the age of the works, or apply for a ´cerficate of age´ from the Town Hall, to whom you would have to prove the works have more than the years the Town has to process a claim.

    I suggest you talk to your lawyer to ascertain the best way forward.


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