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Properties on the seafront. How are they regulated?

In areas like Malaga, it is very tempting for both foreign and national clients to acquire properties on the seafront, enjoying the incredible views that they invariably offer.

At first it may seem like a straightforward process. However, purchasing a property can turn into nightmare if you do not have the benefit of professional legal assistance from an expert in real estate and construction law. This is due to the fact that the future owner faces numerous risks when purchasing a property, which, while daunting, can be overcome with the right legal guidance.

Most people are not aware of the fact that the Spanish coast is divided into different bands in accordance with the current Coast Act. These include the coast´s “public domain”, as well as its areas of transit, protection and influence.

Regulation of properties on the seafront

According to the Coast Act 22/1988, the width of the protection zone is set at 100 meters inland from the internal limit of the coastline, the transit area includes a zone of 6 meters, measured inland from the internal limit of the coastline and, finally, the area of influence includes a minimum of 500 meters from the inside limit of the coastline.

Due to the existence of these areas, different restrictions are applicable that may even entail the prohibition of property construction, as is the case with the so called “protection restriction” which can result in the property being deemed to be “unregulated” or, in the worst case scenario, in the seizure of the plot by the authorities.

A property understood to be “unregulated” is one in which only repair and maintenance work can be done, as any other reforms or building work are strictly prohibited, decreasing, therefore, the new owner´s rights.

Apart from the above, were the new owner to decide to demolish the existing building and build a new one, it is of great importance that a legal adviser indicate the urbanistic parameters to follow, as, in those cases in which the existing property does not comply with the law, and is, therefore, “unregulated”, the new property must be built in accordance with the law, which may entail the obligation of reducing the square meters of the new building, etc.

At Lexland, due to our location in the centre of Marbella, and to the professionalism of our Town Planning Department, we have a wide experience in the buying and selling of properties on the seafront. We can inform you as to whether your property is located in a protected area, and advise you accordingly, resolving any legal issues that may arise. We are here to help you.


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