Villas in Spain (and semidetached houses)
Article by Per Svensson In relations between owners of houses there are basically, according to our experience, three main problems: Villas in Spain
1º.- Distances (reference made to buildings)
2º.- Partition walls dividing properties and grounds.
3º.- Obligations, rights of lights and sights.
Let's look at the first case. Distances are regulated in the Spanish Civil Code, Articles 589 to 592. We can summarise it as follows:
If one wants to build any kind of construction near another person's wall, you will have to respect the distances established by rules and customs of the place, avoiding any possible damage to other properties. Villas in Spain
If one does not, one will be responsible for any possible harm and/or damage caused.
If one wants to plant a tree near another property, one must respect the rules which exist and the customs of the place. If the trees eventually will become high, one must leave a two-meter space beween the trees and the neighbour's property, and half a meter in case of bushes, plants or shrubs. Villas in Spain
If branches from trees of the neighbour spread over ones property, one has the rights to request the neighbour to cut them. If the problem is with roots, one can cut them oneself.
With reference to the second problem: the dividing line when two houses are separated by a common wall. This situation is regulated in the Spanish Civil Code by Articles 571 to 579 or by local rules and customs.
We summarise them as follows: Villas in Spain
In cases where there is no property title or outside sign or any proof to the contrary, the dividing line between two properties is considered to be:
1. in the joint walls of adjoining buildings to the highest common point,
2. in the dividing walls in gardens or yards situated in villages or in the countryside,
3. in the growing hedges which divide rural properties.
Spanish Law Article 573 makes references to some situations where it is presumed that no dividing line exists. But with the right evidence, its existence can be proved.
Both neighbours have the same obligation to maintain, repair or to build the joint walls or hedges. However, one can be freed from this obligation if the dividing wall is not important to one.
Article 577 grants the right to the owner who has a property adjoining another to make a dividing wall higher. If the neighbour does not agree to the work, the owner who wants the work done must do it at his own expense. If the dividing wall cannot be raised without reinforcing it from the ground level, the beneficiary has to make the reinforcement on his side. If an owner wants to put in new roof beams, he can only support them on his own wall or on his half of the common wall.
Likewise, all damage or harm caused by a higher or wider construction done on top of a former one, even if temporary, has to be covered by the beneficiary, who also must pay alI maintenance charges for the wall. Villas in Spain
Now let us look at the rights of lights and sights, ruled by Articles 580 to 584 of our CiviI Code:
The owner of a dividing wall, adjoining another house, cannot install windows or cavities, balconies or any other kind of openings in the joint wall or walls.
It is permitted to make windows or openings to receive daylight in walls that are not joint and dividing, but that are next to another property, as long as they are not more than 30 cm square, with iron grills fixed in the wall. Villas in Spain
But such openings do not create any permanent rights and can be closed by the owner of the adjoining property if he is granted the ownership of the dividing wall, if nothing is agreed beforehand.
It is not allowed to make windows in walls with views in a straight line over the neighbour's property if there is not at least a two-meter distance between the wall containing the windows and the neighbouring property and 60 cm when the view is not in a straight line, but sideways. If the owner of a property has acquired the right to have a straight view to the neighbour's property, this neighbour may not construct anything closer than three metres distance.
We advise any foreign owner to make inquiries at the townhall and apply for the proper licences and authorizations. Villas in Spain
On the other hand, if one is faced with one of the above- mentioned problems, it is better to act according to the local rules and customary good neighbourhood relations and try to come to a friendly agreement which, in the end, will benefit both parties. If there is a language problem, find an interpreter, but never take justice in your own hand. If an agreement is not possible, go to a lawyer who will advise you. Villas in Spain
If you have any suggestions of what you would like me to tell you about, just contact me.
More articles related to living in Spain from our guest writers:
Laws for owners of properties
Dividing walls between properties
Disputes with neighbours?
In relations between property owners there are basically three main problems.
Water and Electricity connections
Organize your finances
InheritanceTax in Spain
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