What is the AFO certificate?
The AFO is an acronym for “Asimilado al régimen de Fuera de Ordenación”.
The AFO is a particular certificate created in Andalucía in 2012, in order to normalise properties that were illegally built on rural land.
This certificate does not legalise a property, however it does confirm the property as recognised officially out of planning – meaning it cannot be torn down and it gives these properties the opportunity to contract services such as electricity and water from the Town Hall.
In other words, the AFO is a legal written recognition of the illegal situation of a property.
This certificate is especially necessary for anyone wanting to sell their countryside property; a potential buyer might ask the seller to apply for the AFO certificate. It is also necessary if the Town Hall requires the owner to legalise the property.
To obtain the AFO, there are some costs involved like getting an architect to write up a project, paying taxes to the Town Hall, checking the supplies – like water, electricity, septic tank – although this may vary according to the town.
The procedure of obtaining the AFO is often slow and bureaucratic, but every case is different and must be treated as such.
Owning a rural property with an AFO certificate means that it is not possible to build further extensions on the house, nor is it possible to create a swimming pool. In certain areas it is possible to apply for building licence by presenting the AFO, but it is purely up to the Town Hall if they grant you building permission or not.
How do you go about obtaining an AFO certificate?
The property needs to meet certain requirements before being able to apply for a certificate, including:
– The completed building must be more than 6 years old
– The property should not be built on protected land
– The property should not be built inside the area of an urban settlement
– The wastewater system would need to be adapted
The property owner will need to provide evidence of ownership, technical documents proving that the building is safe and fit to live in, proof of the year the property was built, as well as proof of the fee payment to the Town Hall.