Urbanisation in Spain: pros and cons

Clients often think that buying something in an urbanisation in Spain is by definition a safe purchase. However, this is not always correct. An urbanisation in Spain has some clear advantages, but that does not mean that problems do not arise. Therefore, this article will discuss the pros and cons of an urbanisation.

What is an urbanisation in Spain?

From an urban planning point of view, an urbanisation is a defined residential area with residential character. This means that the urbanisation is an area zoned for residential purposes.

First of all, it is then important that the urbanisation is effectively in a residential area. If this is not the case, a demolition order may have been or may be issued. Note that there are still many urbanisations that are not (fully) licensed.

In addition, the urbanisation must be finished. This means that the infrastructure of the urbanisation has been completed. Think of roads, lighting, gardens, sewerage, electricity, etc. If the urbanisation was not finished, there are two possible problems.

A first problem is that it certificate of conformity cannot be issued or renewed by the municipality. As a result, you cannot rent to tourists.

A second problem is that the municipality may demand to regulate urbanisation. This can therefore result in serious costs. Whether or not the municipality is going to ask to put an unfinished urbanisation in order depends on local political policy.

What are the advantages of urbanisation in Spain?

A major advantage of an urbanisation in Spain is that there is a minimum of social control by the co-owners or residents. At any time of the year, there will always be at least one person present. Also, most urbanisations are demarcated and sometimes even secured.

Note that villas can also be grouped in an urbanisation.

Another advantage is that you do not have to deal with the maintenance of the common parts. Think, for example, of the maintenance of the garden, swimming pool, fence, etc. This is usually outsourced to a professional syndicator.

Finally, there are often amenities nearby, such as shops, restaurants, pharmacies, etc. So you don't have to drive too far for day-to-day necessities.

What are the disadvantages of urbanisation in Spain?

You will usually also experience the disadvantages of an urbanisation in Belgium. After all, an urbanisation in Spain is similar to compulsory co-ownership such as flat co-ownership. In Spain, co-ownership is regulated by the 'Ley de Propiedad Horizontal'. For example, there is also a co-owners' association that decides on contributions and expenses, and there are bylaws and rules you have to abide by.

You will have to pay annual fees to contribute to the common parts. It happens that an urbanisation has debts, defaulters or major works planned. This can make the cost of your purchase high afterwards.

Read more about the annual cost of a second residence in Spain.

Problems arise when the urbanisation is not properly maintained, necessary works are not carried out or the common parts are neglected. Dilapidation will then occur, negatively impacting the valuation and marketability of your property.

When you go to view properties, always pay close attention to the state of the common parts. This already says a lot about the financial condition of the urbanisation. Also, be wary of ghost urbanisations.

Also bear in mind that there are often different nationalities in an urbanisation, such as British, Irish, Dutch, Danish, etc. Sometimes different customs can lead to conflicts.

Read more about co-owners' association in Spain.


An urbanisation in Spain certainly offers a number of advantages. For instance, social control is a big plus. The owners present will always keep an eye on you, even when you are not there. The disadvantages are usually financial, such as unpaid contributions and mismanagement of the communal budget. However, you can avoid these problems beforehand if you make the necessary enquiries.

Read more about buying safely in Spain.

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