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Changing the usage license of a commercial property in Spain

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Changing the usage license of a commercial property in Spain

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When renting or purchasing a commercial property in Spain, it is important to ensure that the building has the correct licenses prior to commencing business.

As in the majority of countries, premises in Spain are licensed for a particular use.

The licenses in question are known as the opening and activity license.

The opening license and activity license are compulsory municipal licenses so that a commercial, industrial or service activity can be carried out on the premises.

The licences also confirms compliance with the condition of the property and that it conforms to all current regulations, such as building regulations and health and safety.

The licenses are granted to the owner of a business and must be renewed each time the activity on the premises is modified.

Activity requirements

It is essential to keep in mind the usage of the premises. It is prudent to research the requirements for the correct licensing before choosing a shop/warehouse/office.

For instance many local town halls may have locations where certain business are not allowed to operate.

Even if an activity similar to the one you are going to open was carried out previously, it is good to check the regulations to avoid unexpected difficulties.

Types of licenses

Depending on the activity that will be carried out on the business premises, there are twotypes of license which differ based upon the level of potential disturbance or inconvenience caused, damage and risks to people of the activity.

Innocuous activities

These are business types that are not considered to cause discomfort, environmental impact, damage to public or private goods or risk to goods or people.

Many small businesses such as fashion stores, non-perishable food products, service industries or general offices are considered to be in this category.

Qualified activities

These activities are those that can be considered as annoying, unhealthy or dangerous (hotels, industrial activities, certain shops and services) and that require sanitary, safety and / or environmental corrective measures.

Many of these business types require a complete technical project andapproval by the local council. This is a process that can take several months.

The only exempt activities are those professional, artisan and artistic that are carried out in the home, as long as there is no sale or direct access to the public and no inconvenience to neighbors.

Regulations governing opening licenses

At a national level, Law 12/2012 on Urgent Measures for the Liberalization of Commerce is the article that determines what type of transaction each commercial activity must pass.

Therefore, the usual procedure for applying for an opening and activity license consists of the following 5 steps:

  1. Technical project by an accredited technician
  2. Visa of the project by the Official School (entails fee payment)
  3. Payment of municipal taxes
  4. Presentation of statement & declaration
  5. Meeting with architect of the local town hall

How we can help

Gascón Bernabéu represent many business owners both Spanish and international who have opened new commercial premises throughout Spain.

As part of our legal services we are able to manage the application process on the client´s behalf.

This would involve appointing a local accredited architect and liaising with all parties through to completion and opening of the business at the premises.

In the majority of cases we are also instructed by clients to draft the commercial lease and undertake all negotiations with the landlords.

If you need assistance with any commercial property related matter in Spain, please don´t hesitate to contact us.

A member of our team will contact you to discuss how we can help.

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