The Council of Government has approved the Decree Law of Urgent Measures for the Environmental and Territorial Adaptation of Irregular Buildings, which aims to resolve a situation that affects more than 300,000 families in Andalusia. This rule, in the development of which the collaboration of the affected owners and town councils will be fundamental, tries to integrate, normalize and balance the Andalusian territory, in addition to giving a clear answer to the owners of these buildings distributed throughout the community.
In Andalusia there is a serious problem generated by irregular buildings built outside the urban legality on which it is no longer possible to adopt measures for the exercise of the power of protection of urban legality and re-establishment of the legal order, having elapsed the period available to the Administration to act on them. The origin of these buildings, outside of all planning, means that they do not have infrastructure for basic services of sanitation and water supply and electricity, so they are not guaranteed the minimum conditions of safety and health required for their habitability.
In addition to the problems associated with the precarious urbanization of the support where they are located, there have been risks to the safety and health of the affected population, deriving from the location in areas with natural risks and from the self-supply of water in soils contaminated by the lack of sanitation and purification of residuals.
Against this backdrop, the Minister for Development, Infrastructure and Territorial Planning, Marifrán Carazo, stressed that the decree law emphasises two issues: environmental protection and the simplification of processes. The main objective is to improve the environmental and scenic conditions of groups of irregular dwellings. In order to regulate them, measures will be imposed to correct the effects of the disorderly and indiscriminate growth caused by the overexploitation of resources such as water and soil.
On the other hand, the approval of the decree law will repeal two laws – Law 6/2016 of 1 August and Law 2/2018 of 1 August, a decree -2/2012 of 10 January, and an order of March 2013. In addition, this same decree law will be repealed once the new Land Law is approved, which will include all its contents. It is, therefore, an emergency decree law, although later the Land Law will regulate this matter.
For the councillor, this decree law is not intended to give an “amnesty”, since it will prioritize “the inspecting and sanctioning action”, but at the same time gives an answer to the current problem based on the rule three pillars.
The first part of the urban planning instruction approved in May, which extended the declaration of assimilated to out of order (AFO). This figure is not a legalization but the recognition of a situation of irregularity before which, when prescribing the crime, it is not possible to adopt measures to restore legality. The AFO declaration allows owners access to the Land Registry and to basic services such as water, electricity and sanitation, as well as the possibility of carrying out conservation and maintenance works.
Accepted the possibility of the declaration of AFO for isolated houses in general, the Board has so far refused to admit such a declaration for isolated buildings in unconsolidated urban land and urban land and also in buildings located within settlements (groups of buildings). For such situations it was necessary to wait for the approval of the general planning and also of the special plan or partial plan that developed it to be able to accede to the basic services.
The new decree law allows access to the AFO to any irregular building, although with some exceptions, such as homes that are still in time to restore legality (six years from construction) or with sentence. Nor can the decree law be applied to housing that is seated on floors of special protection.
Secondly, the settlements had to be included in the general plans and, once that step had been exceeded, the municipalities would have to develop a special plan or a partial plan for each of the settlements. With this decree law every municipality will be able to formulate, immediately, a special plan for a specific group of houses that has or does not have its PGOU approved.
Until now, we had to wait an average of nine years to approve a PGOU, plus the 20 months that a special plan required. From now on, the problem can be solved in a period of between 12 and 18 months, in collaboration with the town councils.
Finally, the third pillar on which this decree law is based is the incorporation of urban irregular housing groupings into general plans. Municipalities must provide in their PGOU a series of minimum services, such as public facilities or green areas, if they intend to incorporate a settlement as urban or urbanizable.
Marifrán Carazo recalled that this problem “comes from afar” and that previous governments have tried to solve it without success on three occasions. He added that it is the will of this new Government to prioritize the inspecting and sanctioning action so that the problem does not occur again, thus applying the competence in the field of urban discipline.