When carrying out any type of work it is advisable to know what can happen if we do not comply with any type of regulation and what sanctions the Administration can impose in the event that we are in breach of any regulation.

What are urban planning sanctions and infringements?

Town planning sanctions are understood to be those that derive from the consequence of an action or omission that constitutes a town planning infringement, with the prior opening of a file and sanctioning procedure, the most important of which is a financial fine.


First of all, what is a town planning infringement?

It is defined in art 225 of Royal Decree 1346/1976, of 9 April, which approves the Law on the Land Regime and Urban Planning:

The violation of the prescriptions contained in this Law or in the Plans, Programmes, Standards and Ordinances will be considered urban infractions”.

In article 51 of Royal Decree 2187/1978 of 23 June, which approves the Regulation of Urban Planning Discipline for the development and application of the Law on the Regime of Land and Urban Planning:

“Any action that contradicts the Rules or the urban planning in force”.

Art 201 Law 9/2001 Land Law of the Community of Madrid:

Urban planning infractions are those actions and omissions that violate or contravene this Law, the Plans and the Ordinances, and are subject to sanction and typified in this Law”.

What kinds and types of penalties are there?

Once we have seen the concepts of infringement and sanction that have given rise, we have to see the degree of seriousness of our non-compliance, for this, as indicated by the law 9/2001 in its art 204 Land Law of the Community of Madrid, there may be very serious, serious and minor infringements;

They are very serious infringements:

When they affect

  • land classified as undeveloped land for protection or classified as elements of supramunicipal or municipal networks of infrastructures, facilities and public services
  • those considered to be in the public domain because they are included in protection or servitude zones, by urban or sectorial declaration.
  • Total or partial non-compliance with the obligations imposed by provisional or precautionary measures adopted in the exercise of the power to protect legality and re-establish the disturbed legal order.
  • The destruction or deterioration of property catalogued by urban planning or declared of cultural interest in accordance with legislation on historical, cultural and artistic heritage, as well as land subdivisions on undeveloped protected land.




The following shall be considered serious infringements


– The carrying out of land transformation acts and activities by means of works, constructions, buildings or installations without the formal cover of the required approvals, qualifications, authorisations, licences or execution orders or in contravention of the conditions of those granted,

– Acts consisting of earthworks and mineral extractions without the required authorisation.

– The implementation and development of uses incompatible with the applicable town planning regulations.

Failure to comply with duties and obligations imposed by law during the execution of urban planning.

Failure to comply with the provisions of the planning, management and execution instruments or those voluntarily assumed by agreement, unless they are voluntarily rectified after the first requirement formulated to this effect by the Administration, in which case they will be considered minor.

Refusal or obstruction of inspection work.

And the following shall be considered minor infringements:

Actions or omissions not regulated in the previous numbers, usually in the case of minor works, when

– There is no legal need for a technical project

– There is little impact on the urban, rural or natural environment.

Amounts of penalties:

Once the types of penalties are known, we will see what possible ranges we can be faced with, so in the same way the infringements will be sanctioned with the following fines in relation to their level of seriousness:

– Minor offences: fine of 600 to 30,000 euros.
– Serious infringements: a fine of 30,001 to 600,000 euros.
– Very serious infringements: a fine of 600,001 to 3,000,000 euros.



Limitation period

In this situation, we can consider the possibility of the statute of limitations, as it may be one of our possible solutions, if we meet the necessary requirements.

The statute of limitations for urban planning penalties will expire after four years, except for those that affect green zones and open spaces, which do not have a statute of limitations period.

It should be remembered that this prescription period will begin to run from the time the sanctioning resolution becomes final, and it should also be noted that, unlike expiry, this prescription period can be interrupted at any time by the administration.

Here we will make a parenthesis to highlight the statute of limitations for urban infringement, the normal and most common thing is that together with the sanctioning procedure there will be another procedure for the legalisation or demolition of the work, for this we must take into account that the statute of limitations of the former will never begin to run before the total termination but only afterwards. It is very important to know that this prescription does not make the urban development licence legal or grant it.

What to do when faced with a sanctioning file?


Once the case has been raised and we have read everything, we will have to find and give a solution, the law 39/2015 of Common Administrative Procedure of the Public Administrations enables us the following appeals that we can urge against the administration:


This is lodged with the hierarchical superior and only in those resolutions that do not put an end to the administrative process.

Appeal for reconsideration,

This is lodged with the same body that issued the decision, the defining feature is that it can only be lodged for those acts that put an end to the administrative procedure.

Extraordinary appeal for review,

This is exceptional in nature as it can only be used to allege an error of fact, the appearance of an essential document, falsehood, criminal offences (prevarication, bribery, violence, fraud, etc.).

Contentious-administrative appeal,

As a last or alternative route, this means that we now enter the judicial route and leave the administrative procedures behind.

On these occasions, in order to lodge any appeal or if we have any doubts, we must go to a professional who will advise us and will be able to process any procedure appropriately.

If you are facing any sanctioning process, please contact us.