All towns and cities in Spain have an “Ayuntamiento”. This is the word used for the Town Hall/Council building and was often known as the Excelentisimo Ayuntamiento (“most excellent”). You may still see it referred to as Exc. Ay.
The Ayuntamiento plays an important role in Town life for the local residents and often will be located in an impressive, imposing building with flags hanging outside in the town square.
But what exactly goes on there that you need to know about in your day to day business and would you ever need to visit it? Well, several things – such as this is where you will need to go to get your Padron, possibly find out about building permissions and other licences including permission to have a fire.
As a resident or owner of property you will need to visit your town hall to obtain your Certificado de Empadronamiento. You may also hear this Certificado referred to as the Padron Municipal de Habitantes. It is basically a census record, similar to our electoral roll and you can register as an individual or as a family. For everyone registered, the Ayuntamiento will receive funding to cover services such as policing, health centres and maintenance of the town. The register also gives the official number of how many people are living in the community.
How you exactly go about applying will differ from one town hall to the next. Some Ayuntamientos will ask that you make a payment (usually 1€ or thereabouts) each time you get a duplicate Certificado but mostly it is just a case of presenting yourself with your Passport, Escritura and NIE certificate if you have one. Padrons, like the NIE certificates, are only valid for 3 months from issue date.
You will need your Padron to register with your local doctor or if you are buying a car and wish to transfer the documents into your name.
The Town Hall will also issue licences for building works, whether it is for major building or small works to your property. It is a legal requirement that you obtain permission for any work done to your property. This is not necessarily a tricky business if it is only small works “obra menor” however you will need to complete the relevant paperwork and pay the fees. Larger building projects (“obra mayor”) such as building a new home or even adding a swimming pool or garage may require an architect and are more complex. If you don’t speak any Spanish you will need to enlist the assistance of a translator although in some more heavily populated tourist areas you may find this unnecessary as the staff in the Ayuntamiento may speak English.
Spainhas three main police forces and attached to your Ayuntamiento are the local police or “policia local/municipal” or “guardiaurbana”. The role of the police forces vary although they do also overlap. There is a high ratio of police officers to inhabitants inSpainand you will often see the local police around town. It is their role to deal with minor crimes such as traffic control and civil disturbances. They wear blue uniforms and patrol in white or blue cars. Don’t confuse them with the National Police who also wear a blue uniform but may well be armed with submachine guns! You may have come across the National Police if you have visited an Extranjeria or Comisaria to apply for your NIE number or Residency.
If you need assistance or advice on applying for a NIE number or your residency, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.