The dream of living in a farm house in the region of Valencia, known as the Community of Valencia, can develop into a nightmare if a number of aspects are not taken in consideration.
In the Spanish countryside there are a lot of farm houses, in the majority they are empty and in some cases in a ruinous state. They are witness of a past period, before mass tourism to the coast developed into the major economic activity.
Farm house land
In every case land associated with a farm house is considered non-urban. Non-urban land is not only ruled by each Town Hall, but first of all by the urban development department of the central Community Government in Valencia. Non-urban land has different classifications. It can be destined to agricultural uses or it can have levels of protection in term of special values for the environment, landscape or fauna. These classifications can be checked by viewing the Town Hall urban plans and in each case the referred law is the LOTUP 4/2015, which is the common urban development law for the Community of Valencia.
There are some common rules for all types of non-urban land on which one may wish to build a property on or live; such as the minimum plot of 10,000 sqm, the confirmation of water and energy supply, the maximum surface that can be built in relation to the plot and the surface of the plot that can be occupied by buildings. All these rules are essentially oriented to new buildings, and for residential uses, such as a detached house. The maintenance of the agricultural use of the land is also a requirement.
If the idea is to add other uses, such as a B&B, bring animals, or other business activities, the action becomes much more difficult. The law indicates that non-residential uses of new buildings must have special permission granted from the Government in Valencia. The project must be declared as of interest to the Community of Valencia. The time frame and complications involved in achieving these permissions often leads to discouragement.
Town Hall rules deal with other aspects of new constructions, such as esthetic appearance and the materials to be used, in terms to preserve the traditional farm or countryside house architecture.
In the cases of existing buildings, refurbishments, restoration and maintenance works are always admitted, also in the cases when the building is located in protected land but with special requirements. To increase the existing surface is only permitted for the main building, a second house would never be allowed. Secondary buildings and pools are accepted in relation with their use.
In order to preserve the traditional architecture, in cases of existing buildings, the law is more flexible to develop business activities. The declaration of interest for the Community is not a requirement in the cases to convert old existing houses into B&B, guesthouses and small hotels. The license for the works, so as for the activity can then be handled directly by the Town Hall.
In every case, before beginning any project of building on non-urban land it is very important get as much information as possible and to be advised by architects and solicitors who specialise in these matters.
Javier Leonardo Rímolo
Gross & Rimolo