The Spanish Coastal Law (ley de costas 1988) defines a public domain area along the coast and a further zone where special restrictions apply to private ownership.
The aim is to make the whole length of the coastline accessible to the public and to defend the coast against erosion and excessive urbanisation.
Basically there are two zones separated by a demarcation line (deslinde).
The two areas are, the public domain, in which there can be no private ownership, and then a private zone of 500 meters in which there are several areas and various restrictions to private ownership, the restrictions are very stringent nearer the sea but get more lenient as you get further away from the sea.
.The public domain (dominio publico maritimo terrestre DPMT) has a very wide definition, including :-
1) the surf zone and the beach.
2)all areas where the sea waves reach or have reached in the worst known storms.
3)all areas where there is sand, shale or pebbles, whether or not it is built on or whether or not the waves ever reach there, up to a point where the effects of the coastal winds are negligible and the area is not necessary for coastal protection.
4) all areas reclaimed from the sea
Inside this public domain everything belongs to the state and you automatically lose ownership rights .
If you can prove the property is legal and was built before 1988 you can apply for, as compensation, a concession to use the property for 30+30 years, otherwise it can be demolished.
The concession however can be rescinded at any time by the authorities if it is in the "public interest" and the only indemnification is the cost of the buildings on the property, ie. not including the land.
You cannot sell the house or concession (but you have to continue paying the mortgage and all running and maintenance costs) and you cannot leave it to your children (unless they are living there when you die).
The private area on the other side of the demarcation line (deslinde) is split into two zones, the first 100 meters is the protection zone and the next 400meters is the zone of influence.
Inside the 100 meter protection zone private property is allowed if legally built before 1988 and on land officially recognised as urban land in 1988 and even then it must be a minimum distance of 6 meters from the demarcation line or else it can be demolished. No new build or extensions are allowed and you need permission to do any maintenance. The protection zone is reduced to 20 meters if the urban land was consolidated before 1988.
Within the zone of influence restrictions still apply but are less intrusive, you are allowed to build new property, but for example, you are not allowed to build lines of high rise properties.
The "Asociation of people afected by the Spanish coastal law" (PNALC) is agroup of people who own legal property and are affected by the coastal law and aims to:- publicise the issue nationally, within Europe and globally: monitor the application of the law: when necessary advise members how to defend against illegal appplication of the law.
We also want to help the authorities to change the abusive application of the law.
We think that sometimes this law is being applied in an arbitrarily and retroactive way and many property owners are facing "legal uncertainty"