Renovating a house in Spain is an excellent way to improve its design and habitability and, at the same time, increase the value of the property on the market. In a region where housing is so much in demand, making certain modifications can be highly recommended. If you want to know more about what factors you should take into account and what building permits you may need for different types of renovation projects, then read the advice we offer below:

Minor refurbishments to update fixtures and fittings

This is a minor renovation for which, in most cases, you will not need a building permit or to request a building license from the town hall. With this type of work you will be able to give a face-lift to the house, a cost that will depend mainly on the quality of finishes you choose.

The most common reforms of this type are the renovation of kitchens and bathrooms, although it can also include changing floors, windows, doors, etc. If in addition to the functionality you want to improve the value of your home, keep in mind what is more in demand and to suit tastes within the local area, since the same characteristics are not sought in Mijas compared to Marbella for example, where homebuyers would demand a higher quality.

Renovations that change the layout of the property

Depending on the type of changes, these works, which are usually minor, may need a license, which in Spain is referred to as an ‘obra menor’. The implications and requirements will depend on the scale of the modifications, and the municipal requirements will be greater if they affect the structure of the building, as is the case with load-bearing walls and any internal layout modifications.

Due to the entire spectrum covered by converting the layout of a house, it is difficult to estimate an exact price, but the more professionals you need (builders, plumbers, electricians, etc.) the more the cost will rise.

Renovations affecting the structure of a property

When renovating your house in Spain, structural reforms are one of the projects that require more bureaucracy, since they are considered as major works and require a more comprehensive permit, called a ‘licencia de obra mayor’, and therefore take much longer to obtain. In these cases, the project must be signed by a qualified architect and then submitted to the city council, who will review and approve it by granting a building permit.

These types of modifications usually include construction works such as the building of a new extension, moving exterior doors or windows, or anything that may change the external appearance of the property. Since they involve the intervention of qualified technical personnel such as architects, in addition to the high cost of materials, these types of works are the most expensive.

Renovations that affect a community building

Take note that if you want to renovate an apartment and for this you need to modify part of the property that intervenes with the common areas of your building, regardless of whether it is a major or minor reform, you will have to request written authorisation from the community of owners. If these works are not regulated in the statutes, they will need to vote in a neighbourhood meeting and get the percentage majority that the law stipulates.

Renovations that increase the square meterage of the property

This type of modification is also considered a major work and could be quite a major outlay depending on its size. In addition, being a substantial modification, you will have to present a project signed by an architect to the planning department of the local Town Hall. This must take into account the regulations and urban planning laws.

Renovations that imply a change of use from a business premises to residential home

Although these types of modifications do not have to be very expensive or require large works, at a bureaucratic level they are quite slow and can be difficult to obtain. For this you must obtain a habitation certificate (certificado de habitación) from the Town Hall.

In order for the council to declare your property habitable, you must submit a project signed by an architect that demonstrates it consists of the correct size and has all the utilities required by municipal regulations.

As you can see, renovating a house in Spain can involve different permits and legal requirements depending on the type of work you want to do. To ensure your satisfaction, the best course of action is to use a specialist building company to advise you throughout the process.