Urban infringement


The urban infringement is a conduct or action that violates the urban planning and that results in a warning.

The people who commit this offense violate the order established for the city and this has the usual effect of a monetary sanction. In addition, the altered order must be restored.

This offense consists of violating the administrative law, in this case, urban planning, since, if it violated the criminal law, it would not be an offense, but a crime, and the consequence would not be a sanction, but a penalty.

These infractions will receive a warning, which will not be about custodial sentences as it happens with the consequence of the crime.

Types of urban infringement

Contrary to what happens with infractions in general, in Spain urban infractions are not divided into three, see, serious, less serious and minor, but there are only two types: minor and serious.

  • Serious: The action is considered more serious and will also have a harsher penalty. For instance:
    • Build on undeveloped land.
    • Build on developable land, but that is not in urban planning.
    • Parcel in sites that are not yet classified as developable or as undeveloped.
    • Do works that disturb public use.
    • Failure to comply with the rules of distance between buildings.
    • Excess height in construction.
    • Parcels without a license.
  • Minor: These infractions do not deal great damage and have a smaller penalty.
    • Build near a listed building without a license.
    • Building without the required hygienic conditions.
    • Tear down buildings that are protected.

Who can commit the offense?

The people who can be held responsible are:

  • Promoter of the work: contractor of the works and technical director of the work.
  • The technician who would have reported favorably to carry out the work.
  • Legal persons, that is, companies themselves can be responsible for urban infringement.

Requirements to impose this offense

The requirements are the same as for any administrative offense:

  • Action: A natural or legal person is needed to commit an action that is aimed at producing a result, which violates urban regulations.
  • Typified by law: This action must be listed as an offense in a regulatory body, usually urban codes.
  • Guilty action: This means that the person knew that their actions were not in accordance with the law.


Sanctions are the consequence stipulated by law for actions that constitute a violation. These sanctions must be proportional according to the action taken.

The criteria that are taken into account to stipulate these sanctions are:

  • Intentionality.
  • Reiteration.
  • Nature of the damage caused.
  • Recidivism.

Infractions and sanctions are subject to a limitation period. This means that, if the administration does not demand compliance with the corresponding sanction within a certain period of time, the infraction can no longer be punished.

This period begins to count from when the offense is committed.

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