urbanización (= housing development area)

This refers to settlements, managed either by the local council or by private individuals. It is important to understand the both the budgetary situation as well as the statutes of the Urbanisation in order to judge to what extent membership in such could be very expensive and extra expenses (e.g. repairs) may be incurred. Also, the shareholders may themselves spend vacation time in the urbanisation. so that it is important to check. Experience often shows that unreasonable attitudes from some people can block the development of such communities.

zona rústica

Refers to land outside built-up areas. Usually, building here is not possible. There are exceptions that, starting from a property size of e.g. 14,000 m2 or 30,000 m2, may be built in the immediate area; this however varies from municipality to municipality and region to region. It is strongly recommended to take legal advice before signing a sales contract. There are exceptions to the restrictions for agricultural buildings for example stables or a tractor garage, which are sometimes abused. Thus a sheep pen can become a country house when the 8 year legalisation period has expired. The same could apply to any other illegal construction.

zona urbana

Habitable area, which one would call a constructible site. This is the area in which building is generally permitted, and these plans can be seen at the town hall. However, suelo urbanizable means that it concerns an area which could eventually become development land. However, not yet expressly provided with a development plan, one would consider it as a future building site.

permiso de construcción (or Permiso de obra)

This concerns planning permission. It is called Permiso de obra mayor for new buildings and Permiso de obra menor for certain structural alterations. Frequently, land contracts both notary- and also privately-written are contingent upon the existence of planning permission. A copy of the contract should be obtained , so that your lawyer can check this permission. He can obtain an informe ubanistico which describes what and how much can be built on a certain plot. Usually it takes some weeks for the planning office to provide this. Occasionally the planning office can refuse this information if the legal situation is unclear.