It is perfectly possible to transform a commercial premises into an apartment. However, it is a process that must take into account a number of legal issues.

Let´s take a look at the most important aspects when it comes to converting a commercial place into an apartment.

¿How do we do it?

There are many reasons why the option of converting a business premise into an apartment can be considered. From setting up a home in an area where it may be hard to do so, or perhaps due to economic reasons. In any case, whatever the reason, all options go through a series of administrative and technical procedures.

It should be noted that some of these procedures may vary depending on the geographical location we find ourselves at. So far, lets take this as the example we should follow to start to understand how it´s done:

This process would first involve the application for a building licence which provides for the adaptation of both the space and the facilities to the new use to which they are intended. This licence must be applied for in all cases, even when the work or the planned transformation is not highly complicated. This is because the purpose of the work is to change the usefulness of the space, and therefore there is the obligation for the license.

A declaration of cadastral alteration must be made with the licence obtained. This causes the cadastre to modify the object of use of the premises, recognizing it directly as housing.

In the last step you must apply for the first occupation license. It is a municipal license, which must be applied for in the municipality you find yourself in, and for which it is necessary to present both the declaration of change of cadastral use and the final certificate of work.

Conditions for change from premises to housing

In addition to administrative procedures, a number of conditions must be taken into account, without which this transformation work cannot be undertaken.

So, even before any of the administrative steps, there are a number of issues that we need to be clear about. Obviously, these issues go through the very characteristics of the premises, their surface, the regulations in force, and the type of housing we want. It should be borne in mind that not all business premises are going to serve this transformation.

Following the example above we will see below some of these keys and basic conditions.

Firstly, it is requested that the business premises, in order to be transformed into housing, count with more than 38 useful m² . It´s possible to transform the premises into a studio with fewer metres, specifically if the premises are between 25 and 37 m². Under 25 m² residential use of the premises is not possible, no transformation could take place here.

In the other sections related to the measures there may be some differences according to the zonal norm. For example, with regard to the background, where the recommendation is not to exceed 12 metres. Also, the façade must have more than 3 meters in the exterior, and 2,70 meters in the interior. Heights may vary, but the free height should be at least 2,50 meters in no less than 75% of the housing surface. In the rest of the house this height should be not less than 2,20 meters.

On the other hand, certain elements must exist within the resulting housing. These elements are the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, and living room. In the case of a studio, we remember with less number of square meters, the bathroom should be independent, but the rest of the rooms can be grouped in a single room containing the dining room, kitchen and bedroom.

The facilities, which must comply with the relevant regulations, include smoke extraction systems for the kitchen, in addition to requiring ventilation, 8% of the surface, and natural light, 12% of the surface.

The process of changing premises to housing

After taking the first steps we must apply for a building licence, for which we are going to be asked for a technical project visa. Here, the payment of municipal taxes and charges will have to be taken on board, and in some cases certain guarantees for waste management.

The decision is then communicated to us and, if it is positive, the work can be done. Once completed we can obtain the final certificate of work with which we perform the alteration of the cadastre and we obtain the first occupation license. This first occupancy license is important as it is basic to be able to request in evidence supplies such as electricity, or water.