The certificate of habitation also called “Licencia de Primera o Segunda Ocupación” is a document issued by the Town Hall which is needed for 2 things:
o To confirm by the Town Hall that the property was built following the legal requirements of construction, building permits, licenses, etc.
o To connect the water and electric to main supply, or, for properties already connected, to change the names in contracts of supply.
The certificate of habitation is a document which is required to sell properties when they are new building. From 2008 (when a new law started), builders they cannot sell their new properties without the presentation at the notary office of this document. So, it is compulsory to have the CH for selling new properties.
But in resales, the notary does not require the CH to authorize the selling. It means that buyers and vendors they can sign their deeds without the presentation of this document.
Why is a applied CH to resales?:
o To check that the Town Hall is happy with the construction. Alternatively, this can be also checked with a certification from the Town Hall confirming there are not fines or demolition orders on the property (also called “Certificado de No Infracción Urbanística”).
o To guaranty that the new owner of the property (buyers) will have their supplying contracts on their name. If CH is not supplied by the vendor, there could happen that the supplying companies refuse to change the contracts of supply into the new owner’s name without the presentation of the CH.
So, there are owners in the area that bought their properties without CH, and then, when they wanted to change the utility contracts, they were requested by the water & electric companies to present the CH. Then, if the property had any problem, or the Town Hall just refused to give the CH, these buyers could not change the contracts of supply into their names, which remain in the vendor’s name.
o To guaranty that the supply of the water and electric is for a “house” and not for a “shed”, “albergue”, or “almacen”. Some properties in the area were declared when built not as a house, but as a “shed”, or “albergue”, or “almacen”. At time to get the connection of the water and the electric, they were provided with supply for these kind of constructions different than a house, which usually is lower power than the required for a house.
Then, it is really common to find in the area big houses with contracts of supply of “shed”, or “almacen”, which usually is not more power than 3,3 KW. Then, if buyers wanted to increase the power to normal supply of 5,5 KW, or 9,9 KW, they are requested by the companies to change the contract for a “house” use. To do this, is necessary the CH. Without the CH the use of the contract from “albergue” to “house” cannot be done. Subsequently, the power of connection cannot be increased accordingly.
Thus, although legally CH is not necessary to complete the sale of a property, is more than recommendable for buyers to have it, in order to avoid problems in the future.
To confirm if the CH is needed or not in a sale must be studied case by case, individually. It is not the same not to have the CH in Crevillente, or Catral, than not to have it Hondon Valley, or Albatera.
In fact, in Crevillente, not to have a CH is a problem since the water company cannot guaranty the supply of water without this document. So, special consideration must be in Crevillente properties.
In addition, depending on the area, the water and electric companies can make the changes of the supplying contracts even without the CH. So, each case can be different, and a particular study of the case must be made before to give a definite answer.