Recently approved legislation, with effect at both a national and regional level, is intended to support retail operators by removing administrative burdens in connection with the opening of new premises

On 25 May 2012, the Spanish Government approved Royal Decree 19/2012 of 25 May (“RD Ley 19/2012 de 25 de mayo”) (the “Royal Decree”). This piece of legislation, which takes effect on a national basis, is aimed at removing various bureaucratic obstacles, formalities and costs in connection with the opening and operating of retail premises which have a sales area of up to 300 square metres (sq. m.).

The Royal Decree eliminates the need to obtain pre-opening authorizations and permits linked to the protection of the environment and to health and safety and which will instead be replaced by a post opening control by the relevant Authorities.

As from 29 May 2012, the only requirement for the opening of retail premises which have a sales area of up to 300 sq. m. is the submission to the Local Authorities of the so-called “responsible declaration” (“declaración responsable”) in which the retailer must represent that it complies with all the requirements set forth in the relevant regulations, has paid the relevant fees and is in possession of the correct technical documentation.

The Royal Decree should therefore significantly accelerate the process for opening new retail premises.

In addition, the new legislation also removes certain obstacles regarding the permits and licenses which must be obtained regarding the refurbishment of retail premises. Such refurbishment works may now be initiated by simply presenting the “responsible declaration” provided that a technical project (being referred to under the terms of the Spanish Construction Act - “LOE”) is not required. Again, the administrative control of refurbishment works will be carried out a post opening basis by the relevant Authorities.

  • The Royal Decree is applicable in Spain as from 29 May 2012 in relation to the operation of retail premises of up to 300 square metres
  • It provides for the removal of the requirement to obtain pre-opening licences and permits which are replaced instead by a “responsible declaration” which must be filed by the retailer
  • It also avoids much pre-opening bureaucracy formerly required in relation to refurbishment and fit-out works of retail premises
  • Supervision and inspection by Public Authorities regarding environmental matters, public health and safety to be exercised on a post-opening basis

Did you know that…?

  • The Madrid Regional Parliament has recently approved Law 2/2012, of 12 June, which allows retail premises to open the 365 days of the year
  • It entered into force, within the Madrid Region, on 15 July 2012