Introduction and context

Faced with this question, the easy answer is obvious: of course, what you cannot do is live without eating or breathing. But this colloquial question he really refers to is: “is it legal to live in an apartment without cédula habitability? “ There are nuances and a complex casuistry to this simple question. In this article we will try to simplify and group the casuistry into three groups and assess the impact in various areas (urban legality, legality in the civil code, health, structural safety, etc.) But first let’s talk about the context:

What is a home?

The concept of “living” is not included in any regulations that regulate habitability. So if housing by definition is the place where you live, how can you know if a building entity has such a qualification?

There are no urban, construction or habitability regulations that define the concept of living. So taking into account that if we spend more hours at work than at home we can consider that we live more in the office, why should it not have a certificate of occupancy?

The answer is that the uses to which the buildings are destined (and the floors in cases of horizontal division) and the land are defined by the General Plan of Ordination of the municipalities. In this definition of uses, we mainly find two groups: economic service and leisure activities (shops, offices, factories) and housing activity; There are also other activities such as public service buildings, parks, schools, etc. but for the case we are dealing with, we can put them in the first group. Economic activities are regulated in the LPCAA regional activity regulations or some municipal ordinance and are more or less defined (bar-restaurant where drinks are prepared and served or not, with a kitchen of more or less KW, with so many square meters; painting of cars, etc.) However, the housing activity is regulated by a regulation that is not the activity regulation, it is regulated in the Habitability Decree . The Habitability Decree does not define what it is to live or inhabit. Therefore, taking into account the classification into two groups of human activities, we will define it as negative: somehow, housing is any place where we do not buy, do not work, do not study …

What main rules regulate housing in Barcelona?

You can find the areas where the use of housing is authorized and under what conditions

Surfaces, comfort requirements, ventilation, lighting are defined

The conditions and surfaces of the rooms, etc. are defined in a similar way to the metropolitan ordinances.

The regulations that regulate the building from a constructive aspect, more technical and scientific than the previous regulations.

We must therefore consider that, if an entity complies with these standards in the parts in which they refer to housing, then insurance may be fully considered housing. However, it is for homes from before 2006, logically, it is not necessary to comply with the CTE.

Is it compulsory to have a certificate of occupancy in a home?

The habitability decree of 2003 (not in force today) had set a limit year for the issuance of the certificate for homes that did not have a certificate of habitability. This limit was defined depending on the year of construction of the property, with 2014 being the maximum limit. The current decree, 55/2009 , explicitly defines the obligation that all homes have a habitability certificate. It also defines the condition that newly built homes and those that have undergone surface modifications or habitability conditions are altered must have ID prior to your occupation.

It is mandatory that the home has habitability certificate , but since the economic promotion law 9/2011 it is detaches the urban-planning legality from the concession of the cedula.

We study different cases:

1. YES it can be classified urbanistically as a home, but DO NOT have the habitability certificate in force and YES meet the habitability conditions from when it was created

This case is surely the most common, the certificate has expired or if the home is from before 1984, the year from which the first Habitability Decree begins to be effective. In this case, it would simply be necessary to carry out a certificate of habitability and process the certificate in the habitatge department, it is a service < / a> simple that has a very reasonable price.

2. If it CANNOT be classified urbanistically as a home and the use is not allowed in the area, but it DOES have the habitability conditions and DOES NOT have the valid ID

If the urban use of housing is not allowed, it is possible that it is an industrial zone or a commercial zone. In the first case, there would be the risk that the home would be unhealthy to a certain extent and a minimum of sanitary ventilation, soundproofing, thermal insulation would have to be guaranteed to avoid condensation and the appearance of mold, for example.

This case contravenes the zoning of uses on an urban scale. Because it can be dangerous for the population and could set a precedent since industrial land is cheaper than residential land, the city council could exercise its right to restore urban legality and take coercive actions.

2. A home can NOT be classified as urbanist, although the use is allowed in the area and it DOES meet the habitability conditions

We are talking about a place in a residential area, which normally has conditions that almost satisfy the Habitability Decree, although a small reform is necessary.

It may be that our premises, which does not have the qualification of housing use nor the conditions are adapted to the regulations, can legally become a housing use. To do this, you will need to carry out a change of use project.


Given the profusion of regulations and extensive casuistry. We can establish at the end of this article some questions and answers that we can be sure of:

Is it legal to live in a house?

Evidentemente sí

Is it legal to live in a premises?

We believe that it is not illegal. But it depends on the interpretation of the regulations.

Can I rent a place as a home?

Of course not, this is also a crime. The Right to Housing Law 18/2007 if specifically contemplated as a very serious offense renting a place as a home.

In our professional career we have not seen any eviction or sanctioning mechanism instituted by neighboring communities or by municipalities against residents of premises without a habitability certificate. As long as the flat or premises are owned by the resident; otherwise we would be talking about an occupation.

Colloquially it can be said that in practice one can live practically where they please as long as the property is theirs and if the exercise of this activity does not disturb or endanger third parties or material assets and if it does not undermine community or property rights. third parties.

Above all the reflections and specific cases, we must take into consideration that, in order to grant the certificate of habitability, an architect must first make an inspection of the house and at that time analyze the conditions of solidity, health, construction conditions and of habitability in general. So, anyway, the habitability certificate is a guarantee that a home meets the habitability conditions necessary to live in a healthy way. Just as it is convenient for our health that a doctor makes us periodic reviews, for the health of our house it does not hurt for an architect to inspect it, at least every 15 years (which is the validity period of the card).