Even though the figure of the responsible declaration is not new, The recently approved modification of the Land Law of the Community of Madrid has given prominence to this formula, whose main objective is to give agility to certain actions thanks to its use to the detriment of the classic license. Adolfo Pérez, de LABE Abogados, states that «the main difference between a license and a responsible declaration lies in the moment in which the applicant can execute the work or activity for which the permit is requested: while with the license, it is necessary to wait for the formal resolution that authorizes him to carry out the work or to start the activity, the completion and presentation of the responsible declaration is enough to start the requested activity ».
From the promoter employer, they have welcomed this change. Daniel Cuervo, Secretary General of APCEspaña, admits that “it implies legal certainty, certainty, lower production costs that will also entail the final product and more collection for municipalities.” In this sense, the responsible declaration replaces the first occupation license, which, according to Cuervo, “is part of the solution, since it solves the delays that occur once the project is finished and pending delivery to clients.”
The latest data from the Official Associations of Architects of Spain admit that, between January and September 2020, 11,046 new construction properties have ceased to be approved compared to the same period last year, 14% less. At a time of health crisis in which the visas for new residential projects are on the decline, as are most of the market indicators, experts interpret any step forward in terms of red tape as good news.
No changes in residential
However, the execution of a new residential development continues to be managed in the same way, an aspect that does not help to increase the supply: «We suffer the longest waiting period in urban planning licenses in the building license, which amounts to more than 12 months on average “, says the spokesman for APCEspaña. In the same line is pronounced Alfredo Sanz, President of the General Council of Technical Architecture of Spain (CGATE), assuring that “the paradox has arisen on countless occasions that it costs more to report a license in time than to build the building.”
The administrative burden borne by municipalities has always been the main obstacle for the works to flow. Sanz considers that “the responsible declaration, if it is accompanied by the proper technical documentation and endorsed by a professional association, can perfectly supply the administrative control”, adding that “if the Administration cannot put more resources, what is available and The benefit of citizens are the collegiate infrastructures that provide legal guarantees for this process to take place.
At the same time, the use of technology would allow speeding up these procedures. Cuervo maintains that “the Rivas Vaciamadrid City Council and the Madrid City Council are already using a digital tool that allows technicians to carry out verifications and verifications of whether or not the projects comply with urban regulations”.
Regarding the danger that this model is unreliable, Pérez clarifies that «the declaration implies that all the data contained in it are true and truthful, and that the interested party meets all the legally required requirements for the exercise of the activity.
The responsible declaration will also replace the licenses that were previously needed to carry out some of the most common actions in the communities of owners, such as the removal of architectural barriers or certain conservation and maintenance works. Isabel Bajo, President of CAFMadrid, admits that the rule “facilitates the execution of works immediately, without having to wait for the granting of a license, but leaves its correct execution in the air before a future inspection”.
Thus, the competent authority could decide a posteriori that something has not been done properly, which for Low it generates uncertainty and “leaves the correct execution of the work to the discretion of the municipal technicians.” For this reason, it is essential that all the action processes that are still in the air are defined, “generating the inspection criteria in time and content that give legal certainty to this action, not leaving them to interpretable criteria”, concludes Sanz.
Boost to rehabilitation
Another of the changes to the CAM Land Law is to eliminate both the license requirement and the responsible declaration when it comes to carrying out minor urban works and actions, such as the change of electrical or gas installation, the replacement of bathroom and kitchen tiling and the change of doors and windows. Sebastian Molinero, Andimac’s secretary general, values this shift positively, “as long as all projects are subject to compliance with the regulations that affect it.”
In addition, it states that this modification “will help promote employment in the sector, despite the complexity of the 2021 context, and will also contribute to developing qualified construction jobs, since rehabilitation especially requires professionalized trades.” This clear drive for rehabilitation is coupled with the arrival of community funds, which will be the definitive boost for this sector.