Certificate of Habitation – First occupation license
The certificate of habitation or First occupation license (in spanish: Cédula de Habitabilidad or Licencia de Primera Ocupación), resumes the confirmation from the Town Hall that the property is ready for habitation, and it is applied once the property is finished with the Final Works License (Certificado Final de Obra), and inscribed in the land registry with the New Building Declaration-DON (Declaración de Obra Nueva).
This document is extremely important to get the electricity and water supply contracts for your house. Before the builder obtains the certificate of habitation, there could be water and electric supply in the construction, because the builder obtains temporarily these services to for the machines. But the supply obtained from the builder is a supply for “works”, but not for “house”.
Sometimes, buyers or promoters are left in their properties with electric and water supply for works use for years, because the builder did not obtain the proper Certificate of Habitation (CH). They have water and electricity, but in a very poor condition and more expensive than the normal supply for a house.
In order to guarantee you, as buyer, that the builder will obtain the proper CH, it is recommendable to leave a part of the payment of the price when the CH is obtained. It will force the builder to work right and to do his best to get this document asap. You cannot legally sell a property without this document.
If you are living in a property that does not have a “cedula”, or you have lost or never received a “cedula”, then you can enquire about this by contacting the technical department at your local town hall, bring your passport, NIE number and title deeds and maybe even your recent water and electricity bills for applying for it.