Requirements for the construction of houses on rustic land in Mallorca

Written by: Pelayo de Salvador Morell

18/05/2020 | Individuals and non-residents

Rural land in Mallorca is widely regulated by several different regulations, which often makes it difficult to analyse plots of land. In this entry we include a summary of the current situation, after the entry into force of Decree-Law 9/2020, of 25 May, without prejudice to the fact that each Town Hall may include greater restrictions.

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Requirements for the construction of houses on rustic land in Mallorca

When looking for a rustic property in Mallorca, it is especially important to analyse its urbanistic situation. Traditionally, many properties have been built on rural land without the necessary licences, so it is very possible to find illegal dwellings.

In spite of this, increasingly restrictive regulations, in which the possibility of requesting demolition on rural land has no statute of limitations, the possibility of anonymous complaints and the creation of the Agència de Defensa del Territori (ADT) - the body in charge of inspecting rural land - mean that, at present, attempting to build illegally on rural land in Mallorca is practically a waste of money.

We summarise, in general terms, the minimum plot requirements needed in Mallorca to be able to build a single family house on rural land, including the new features introduced by Decree-Law 8/2020, on urgent measures for the protection of the territory of the Balearic Islands.

In any case, it is always advisable to carry out an exhaustive analysis of the plot to be purchased in order to know exactly the construction possibilities, both with specialised lawyers and architects.

What type of land do I need?

The rustic land in Mallorca has different qualifications, so we must take into account, first of all, in what type of land we want to locate our house.

As far as residential use is concerned, the first thing to note is that, if permitted, only one single-family detached house can be built per plot.

In this sense, this use is prohibited in:

  • Natural Areas of Special Interest of High Level of Protection (AANP),

  • Natural Areas of Special Interest (ANEI),

  • Rural Areas of Wooded Landscape Interest (ARIP-B),

  • Areas of Territorial Protection (APTs)

  • Areas of Growth Transition (AT-C)

  • Risk Prevention Areas (RPA).

On the other hand, in the following zones, the use for single-family detached housing is conditioned to the fulfilment of the additional requirements established in rule 20 of the Territorial Plan of Mallorca in all cases:

  • Rural Areas of Landscape Interest (ARIP)

  • Areas of Agricultural Interest (AIA). In these areas, once the areas of "HIGH AGRICULTURAL VALUE" have been defined, the use of housing in new buildings will only be permitted when it is linked to an agricultural exploitation, or provided that certain requirements are met.

  • Areas of Transition of Harmonisation (AT-H)

  • Rustic Land of General Forest Regime (SRG-F)

  • Rustic Land of General Regime (SRG)

How much land do I need?

The next question, once we have confirmed that we have found a rustic land where the use of housing is conditioned, is what is the minimum area of land that we will need to build our house. In this sense, we should point out that there are two general "minimum units", which vary depending on the classification of the land:

14.000 m2:

  • Areas of Agricultural Interest (AIA),

  • Areas of Transition of Harmonisation (AT-H)

  • Rustic Land of General Regime (SRG)

50.000 m2:

  • Rustic land of general regime - Forestal (SRG-F).

  • Rural Areas of Landscape Interest (ARIP).

However, it should be noted that these are the minimum measures required by the Territorial Plan of Mallorca in force at the date of this entry. In some cases, municipal planning may require larger sizes, reaching a minimum plot requirement of 200,000 m2.

What other limitations?

However, the above are not the only requirements, since, as we have seen, the use of rural land for detached single-family dwellings is conditional upon compliance with the following requirements:

  1. That in the area where it is intended to be implanted it is not prohibited by the general planning and that the conditions that it establishes are fulfilled.

  2. Only one dwelling per plot may be authorised.

  3. The plot must meet one of the following requirements, depending on the date on which the division, segregation or fragmentation was carried out:

  • Before 16 July 1997: No limitations.

  • Plots segregated after 16 July 1997 and before 13 October 1999: Single-family housing may only be authorised when this division, segregation or fragmentation has not given rise, simultaneously or successively, to more than five independent registration units, excluding the parent property, unless they have subsequently been grouped together again below this limit or if they are actions covered by point c. below and the minimum plot requirement of this regulation is met.

  • Plots segregated since 13 October 1999: The use of single-family dwellings is prohibited, except for those resulting from a first division, segregation or fragmentation carried out in a public document by virtue of donation or inheritance from parents to children, the exception being limited, in both cases, to a maximum of one plot per child and only once.

Only on land that meets these conditions may the use of rural land for the construction of a building be authorised.

Will I be able to build whatever I want?

No, the island regulations include a series of minimum restrictions, which may be increased by the local councils, so in each case, you will have to consult the specific regulations of the council where you are going to build. In this regard, the architect to whom the work is entrusted will be responsible for compliance with the regulations. Among the most noteworthy limitations, the following should be highlighted:

  1. Maximum buildable area of the plot: In the case of Natura 2000 Network or ARIP: 1%. In all other categories: 1.5%.

  2. Maximum percentage of occupation: In the case of Natura 2000 Network and ARIP: 1.5%. In all other categories: 2%.

  3. Maximum volume: 900 m3.

  4. Maximum swimming pool: Surface area of 35 m2 and volume of 60 m3.

  5. The total surface area of porches may not exceed 20% of the surface area occupied by the rest of the building.

  6. Aesthetic limitations: type of carpentry, visual appearance of materials and finishes of the façades, type of roofing, fencing, etc.

  7. The part of the plot not occupied by the building or by the rest of the constructive elements must be kept in a natural state or in agricultural, livestock or forestry use.

Of course, it should be noted that the installation of wooden huts, yurts, tippis, caravans or other non-traditional elements in Mallorca is totally forbidden, neither as main elements nor as accessories.

For all of the above reasons, prior to the purchase of any land, especially rustic land, it is advisable to seek the services of a lawyer and an architect to help you make your dream home a reality.

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