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Building Regulations - Rustic Land

- Updated: 05/11/2009

For many of us, the dream of living in Spain will mean the open Countryside - Far from the Madding Crowd : Peace and Tranquility over Neighbours and Mains services. However, the practicalities of getting your project off the ground need addressing !

Building Regulations - Rustic Land

Land that falls within the definition of this category is also outlined on the General Plan, which can be viewed at your Town Hall. As the name suggests, and as you would probably expect, rustic land falls outside the Town or Village itself and is often on the fringes of the Town Halls geographic territory.

Unlike urban land, where the rules are laid down by the local town hall, in this case it is the regional government who makes the rules regarding the minimum size of the building plot in rustic areas. For example the Regional Government of Valencia clearly state that the law requires a minimum area of 10,000m2 for any building to take place on Rustic land. Other Regions may vary so it is wise to check with your local Town Hall at the very start of your search for a suitable plot.

However, rustic land may then be further sub-categorised into three different classifications: Protected, Restricted or Building land. So it is not always the case that just because the plot is 10,000m2 or greater that you will be able to build on it. Once again, these categories are shown on the General Plan available in the local town hall and should be checked before any agreement to purchase is made.

Rustic land tends to be much cheaper per m2 than urban land; the problem is you need to buy a lot more square metres in order to have a plot large enough to build !

Footprint of Property

This is always fixed at 2% of the plot size

- So on a plot of 10,000m2 it is possible to build the ground floor to a maximum of 200m2

Total Build Area

This is always fixed at 4% of the plot size. On a plot of 10,000m2 it is possible to build two floors each of 200m2 making a total constructed area of 400m2.

It should be noted that these are the maximum areas of occupancy and construction can exclude a cellar, (which may be the same area as the ground floor,) terracing, porches/pergolas and a swimming pool.

There are other rules governing the maximum height of the building. Rustic houses are restricted to two floors. Rules vary as to the height of sold boundary walls typically 1 to 1.80 metres.

Aesthetic appearance

As you might expect, in order to maintain a traditional country house effect, properties built in rustic land need to be built to fit in with the surrounding properties and the general area. For example you would be unlikely to get permission to build a Modern Glass Fronted Ibizan style Villa on an Inland or rustic plot. Traditional inland rustic houses are commonly known as Finca's and are either clad in stone, or constructed entirely from stone.

Rules regarding aesthetics are laid down by the Town Hall and therefore vary from area to area. Some Town Hall's may have strict rules concerning the direction of the roof-line, types of windows permissible, number and dimensions of arches, materials of construction etc... whereas other towns may have less rigid restrictions - if Indeed any at all.

As with all Building projects, Tumbit recommends that you consult with experienced, reputable LOCAL Architects, surveyors and Builders as they will more than likely already be familiar with the regulations that your local Town Hall has set down.

Comment on this Article

I am looking for professional advice for building on land I own in Almunecar/jete/Granada I have owned the land (10500m2 intensive wet) for over 12 years. It currently has a legal reformed 125m2 cortijo built on it. Eight years ago I created a platform and paid for architect drawings to separate the land into two plots so I could build another property. The drawings currently describe the separate plot as approximately 3500m2. I am confused as it seems the laws have recently changed and I am looking for some clarity and guidance. Ideally I would like to build three 30M2 luxury holiday homes on this plot opposed it just being sat empty and baron. It would also help bring income and tourism to the local area. Kind regards Simon
Simon Mullier - Sun 11th Mar 2018
Sadly this is all too common with rural properties in Spain. Aside from the mortgage issue, it can cause problems if you over want to extend or modify the property - and also if any of your neighbours want to stake a claim against your boundaries. Personally, I would make it a condition of the sale that the details are registered correctly with BOTH land agencies.
Ed Gardner - Mon 22th May 2017
I d like to buy rustic land 5000m2 with a house 80 m2 and a storage 30 m2 in Callosa: I went to the register and there was only 3000 m2 registered and 32 m2 surface house. The immo told me they often register less to pay less to register? They told me i can t get a loan in Spain for this property. Does it mean it s partly illegal. They have water and electricity from companies, not from the townhall: What can happen if I buy this property. Where can I control if everything is legal: Nice regards Georgie
Georgie Greven - Mon 22th May 2017
I don't feel that there is terribly much more I can add. The gentleman needs to contact a good local architect who can advise him on the details of the local building regulations. The national ones can be affected by municipality edicts.
Peter, As stated above, get advice from a local architect or even 2 to make sure that its correct, and ask for a copy of the regulation. You may find there isn't any! The PGOU or general plan ALWAYS has to be approved by the Community planning authority. If that hasn't been done, then its just a draft and has no legal standing. I dont necessarily agree with the 'always' mentioned above as there can be local variations. Best to make a written request to the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) for guidance with regard to any specific plot. Whilst it may lose you a month xor so waiting for a reply, you may be pleasantly surprised at what's permitted. You should at least be able to move forward with confidence. There are rules and regulations for all things and remember that acting 'in good faith' is no substitute for prudence and questioning.
Hi, can you help, I have obtained building licences, but my neighbour is not happy, I have replaced 2.5m high trees with a 2.2m wall. Planning who granted the licences, with no height restriction, are now saying the wall can only be one (1)m high, which clearly offers no privacy, this change does not effect the neighbours views. My question is what is the max height of a boundary wall. regards Peter
Peter Fake - Wed 7th Aug 2013