Declaración de Asimilado a Fuera de Ordenación (DAFO)

The Junta de Andalucía has introduced a new law requiring sellers of property situated on rustic land (any land that is not within the urban boundary) to obtain a certificate from their local Town Hall known as a Declaración de Asimilado a Fuera de Ordenación (DAFO).

The DAFO certificate clarifies the situation of the property and confirms that there are no problems relating to the house or the land.

All property sales of houses on rustic land and updates of Escritura descriptions will need this certificate.  For sales it will be needed prior to completion.

As the DAFO can take a little time to obtain it is advisable to start the application process before the house is offered for sale.  Sellers need to apply for the certificate at their local Town Hall either in person or through a lawyer or asesoría.  For houses already on the market, the application process needs to be started as soon as possible.  Alternatively the process can be started once a buyer has been found however this may delay completion of the sale quite significantly and the speed with which certificates are issued depends on the area in which the seller lives.

The first step involves employing an architect or technico to visit the property to:

  • Produce comprehensive plans of the property. 
  • Confirm that the property is habitable with a functioning bathroom and kitchen.
  • Confirm that the property has legal electricity and water connections.
  • Confirm that the property has proper waste disposal for sewage - a septic tank not a ‘black hole’ or ‘pozo negro’.

This information is then submitted to the Town Hall along with documents including a copy of the Escritura, Catastro plans, latest IBI bill (paid) and NIE certificates.

In order to issue the DAFO certificate the Town Hall will check their records to ensure that:

  • Proper planning permission has been granted for everything in situ.
  • There are no sanctions against the property or files open investigating issues relating to the property.

In addition the Town Hall Architect will visit the property to ensure that all of the above requirements have been met.

This law also applies to description updates so if anything has been added to the property such as a pool, bedroom, dining room, bathroom, storage room or garage then the DAFO certificate is required.  Any additions need to have been in situ for more than 6 years and if planning permission was not obtained at the time of building then the Town Hall will charge the cost of a building licence.

Each Town Hall has its own system of charges which can vary considerably so the cost of the certificate will be determined by where the property is located.  Every property is different and as such it is difficult to estimate the total cost of obtaining the DAFO certificate as it will depend on the circumstances and location of the property.

Following the issuing of a number of these certificates by Town Halls for sales over the past months, we now have more experience of what is involved.  If a first occupation licence was obtained for a house at the time of the original purchase and nothing new has been built since, then the DAFO is not required for the sale of the property.  But if anything new has been added to the building then the DAFO will be needed.

Problems have been encountered when it becomes apparent that a property has been built on land declared as protected in the Plan General 2006.  In these cases the DAFO cannot be issued unless the property was completed more than 4 years prior to the date the land was declared as protected.  So if the property was built prior to the land being designated as protected then the DAFO can still be applied for.  However this does not apply to houses built on land forever protected such as the national park.

Before applying for the DAFO, property owners must be 100% certain that everything that has been built on their land has been in situ for more than 6 years – this even includes pergolas.  The Town Hall will check on the overhead plans produced by the Junta de Andalucía to make sure this is the case and if something has not been in place for the requisite 6 years then the Town Hall may require it to be removed.  This does vary from Town Hall to Town Hall so each property owner needs to check with their particular Town Hall.

Frequently asked question:

We’ve never heard of this law – when did it come into effect?

Decreto 2/2012 was introduced in 2012 by the Junta de Andalucía.  Details can be found on their website by following this link:

It is only really within the last year or so that the law has started to be enforced in earnest as Town Halls were previously unable to issue DAFO certificates as their Plan Generals had not been approved by the Junta.

The Plan General shows all of the land in a Town Hall’s area and categorises it as urban, rural, protected or not protected.  Most Town Halls have now had their Plan Generals agreed so they are able to issue DAFO certificates.  Much of our experience so far has been with the Town Hall in Cómpeta where they are issuing certificates quickly and efficiently.

What is the purpose of this law?

The Junta requires Town Halls to ‘legalise’ all country properties (properties built on rustic land) thereby ensuring that records kept by Town Halls match what is actually physically on the ground.

Why do sellers need a DAFO certificate?

Although the law applies to Town Halls, increasingly lawyers acting for buyers are requiring sellers to obtain a DAFO certificate for their property.

The DAFO certificate clarifies the situation of the property and confirms that there are no problems relating to the house or the land and gives buyers peace of mind that there is nothing untoward with property they are buying.

Are all Town Halls dealing with the DAFO in the same way?

The short answer is no – each Town Hall appears to have different requirements.  Sellers need to contact their own Town Hall to be sure of these.  Also Town Halls are applying different charges for DAFO certificates.

How much is it likely to cost?

The cost can vary enormously and depends on the individual property and the Town Hall.  A ballpark figure is in the region of €3,000 to €5,000 but it may be considerably less or more depending on the area and the status of the property.

We’ve heard that not everyone has had to obtain a DAFO certificate for their property?

It depends entirely on the lawyer for the buyer – most lawyers are now insisting on the DAFO but some are not.  This means that sellers will not know whether they have to apply for a DAFO certificate until after they have found a buyer.

For this reason, we advise all our sellers of the likelihood of needing the DAFO certificate so that they are able to factor this cost into the price they accept for their house.  This prevents them from finding themselves in a situation where they may have accepted an offer only to find that they have an unforeseen expense as they near completion.

For a confidential, informal chat please call Denise on 618 295 063 or email   

This information has been produced by Sunset Properties Spain in consultation with Asesoría Axarquía (Torre del Mar) and Cómpeta Town Hall.  Please consult your lawyer, asesoría or local town hall for further advice and information.