Information about the Certificate of Habitability (cédula de habitabilidad)

When purchasing a property, careful examination of the contractual and legal situation is of utmost importance. However, one often overlooks a seemingly insignificant piece of paper, namely the habitability certificate (cédula de habitabilidad). There is a common misconception that this document is only required for the completion of construction. Unfortunately, this is completely false and may be due to the difficulty in pronouncing this term in Spanish.

The “cédula” is a document issued by the Island Council (Departamento de Territorio del Consell de Mallorca) that certifies that a building intended for residential use meets the minimum requirements for size, technical connections, and sanitary facilities. It is, therefore, a government control instrument, which is evident from the fact that water, sewage, electricity, gas, and telephone connections can only be installed if a “cédula” is available.

But what is the purpose of a “cédula” if the aforementioned connections are already in place? It is important to know that a “cédula” has a validity period of only ten years and must be renewed thereafter. Accordingly, there are three different types of “cédulas”: the initial occupancy certificate (cédula de primera ocupación), the renewal certificate (cédula de renovación), and the exemption certificate for properties completed before March 1, 1987 (cédula de carencia).

Cédula de primera ocupación

This certificate is required when a building is first completed, modified, or subject to a change of use. It requires the submission of proof of ownership, plans, and photographs, all signed by the architect. Additionally, the cadastral data, building permit, and final construction certificate (certificado final de obra) from the architect and municipality are also required.

It is important not to confuse this with the “licencia de primera ocupación,” which is issued by the municipality (Ayuntamiento) after the building has been inspected.

Cédula de renovación

This renewal certificate must be applied for after ten years have passed. Once again, documents proving ownership must be submitted, along with a current dated and signed photograph of the property by the architect. A site plan of the property with cadastral data is also required, as well as a confirmation of habitability by the architect.

The cédula de renovación serves as a control instrument for the municipality to determine whether the building, constructed ten years prior, is still habitable and whether any unauthorized modifications have been made.

Cédula de carencia

This exemption certificate can only be requested for buildings completed before March 1, 1987. In these cases, proof of ownership and photographs, along with a site plan, must be provided. In a significant difference from the previous two certificates, it is sufficient to submit a “certificado de situación urbanistica,” which indicates that the construction was completed before March 1, 1987, that there are no violations, and that no structural modifications were made after March 1, 1987.

As you can see, the renewal of an expired “cédula” is particularly important when planning to sell a property. A well-advised buyer will always insist on a valid “cédula” being presented.

This is a machine translation of the German article.

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