The ever-present dangers of DAFO

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In a quiet little village, Puente don Manuel on Friday April 14, about 150 expatriates were crammed into Mis Tapitas Bar, anxiously listening to an explanation of the catalogue of restrictions which might soon be imposed on their homes.

Mario Blancke, well-known activist, the mayor of Alcaucin, and spokesman for SOHA (Save Our Homes in Axarquia), addressed the meeting, which was also attended by Jose Juan Jimenez Lopez, the mayor of La Viñuela, and Gregorio Campos, President of the Commonwealth of Municipalities of the Costa del Sol-Axarquia.

He explained that the Junta de Andalucia is pressuring local councils to classify all of the buildings on non-urbanisable land as either ‘legal’, ‘illegal’ or ‘DAFO’ (Declaration de Asimilado a Fuera de Ordinación), which according to SOHA is hard to translate, because there is no parallel in English planning law, but is roughly ‘accepted without planning permission’.

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The status of legal or illegal homes will become clear, but if your home has to apply for DAFO status, then the immediate effects are:

You cannot mortgage the property, extend it, or reconstruct it after structural damage. If you sell the property, the town hall has the right of first refusal.

Most homes built since 1997 on rural (or non-urbanisable) land would be classified as needing DAFO. Very many expatriates’ homes will fall into this category, since so many building licences were granted illegally by those same town halls which will soon apply these severe restrictions.   

Mayor Blancke reassured the meeting that no demolitions are currently planned in the local area. 

He recommended homeowners not to panic, but to follow the advice of SOHA by awaiting developments, and not to apply for DAFO, or start any legal action until they have been pressured to do so.

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