National law also states that properties over 50 years old should have a technical inspection to ensure their structural stability – Inspección Técnica de Edificios (ITE) – which is required to be renewed every 10 years thereafter. Owners of buildings close to or older than 50 years should, therefore, anticipate that a certificate will be required in the future, and certainly before they are able to sell the property.
To complicate matters, Municipalities have been given the right to reduce the period below 50 years and add further renewal inspections. For example, Mijas requires the first inspection for properties as young as 25 years, with another inspection 15 years later at 40 years, and then every 10 years thereafter. Estepona is 30 years and every 10 years thereafter, whilst Marbella, located in between those Town Halls, is only after 50 years and every 10 years thereafter.
If you are buying, you should always ask the selling agent for the ITE and the CEE (energy certificate) as the law requires them to be available when the property is being marketed and not just presented when the sale is being formalised at the Notary, when the buyer has no chance to consider the implications. These inspections are not nearly as thorough as those of Survey Spain’s Building Surveys, as we are working exclusively for the buyer and not the existing property owner. Survey Spain always ask for them as part of their building survey and valuation inspections, as they do not want their buyer clients to be responsible for late submissions and the substantial fines that can then be applied.
According to the Málaga newspaper ‘Diario Sur’, since 2008 when the law was applied in Málaga City, there have been 14,471 reports submitted, of which 84% have indicated that the property is sound. If not, the owner is required to carry out the remedial works within 3 months and if they don’t do so, increasing fines can be applied. Ultimately, the Ayuntamiento can have the works carried out and the property embargoed (which prevents sale) until the costs, fines and interest are all paid. Some of these buildings have been brought to the attention by neighbours concerned at the safety of themselves and passers-by.