The AFO (also called SAFO and DAFO depending on the area) is a special regime created in 2012 to normalise illegally built properties on rural land. Only in Andalusia 300,000 houses are estimated to be outside the law. That means: being built without owning the obligatory license from the City Hall. The truth is, in the majority of cases the offence will have prescribed and the property cannot be demolished. This situation had been leaving many homes in a sort of ‘no man’s land’, since they could be neither legalised neither knocked down.
What’s even more worrying: this stopped many homes from accessing water and electricity supplies. For this reason, the Junta de Andalucia established the ‘AFO’, which is the acronym for ‘Asimilado al régimen de Fuera de Ordenación’.
When is the AFO certificate necessary?
Owners of properties in the Andalusian countryside may be obliged to apply for the AFO certificate in two occasions, that is:
- The type of building, e.g. a flat, a standalone house, a luxury villa or a loft.
- The surrounding areas and facilities, such as supermarkets, means of transport, green areas, schools, health centres and public services.
- The size, quality and thermal insulation of the construction
- The year it was built
- The level of noise and safety on the streets of the neighbourhood
- The distance to the city centre; if it’s a rural area, the distance to The nearest village
- The state of the building: has it been recently renovated? has it passed a technical test? what is the current state of the facade?
- Is space distributed in a functional way? How easy is it to use?
- If it’s near the coastline or if it has a swimming-pool.
- The quality of the views from the building.
- The orientation of the building and the amount of light in the rooms.
Based on this list, you can review the properties you visit and find the best fit for your needs. The more requirements it meets, the easier will be to resell the property and the better the investment. Once you have found a place that interests you, it will be time to dive into the extensive paperwork and applicable taxes. For this, we suggest reading our checklist to prepare for buying property in Spain.
For further enquiries and specific requests, feel free to reach to the Legal & Tax Help team through our contact form. We are a group of English speaking lawyers based in Malaga, Costa del Sol.