Misuse of non-residential property, for example, living in non-residential premises, implies administrative responsibility. In simple terms, citizens face a fine. Today we will tell you how to legalize an unauthorized change in the purpose of non-residential space.
Any change in the purpose of a non-residential building/premises is considered unauthorized construction even if the equipment of the non-residential premises makes it possible to run a household in it, does not require an architectural change in the appearance of the house and preserves all existing communication.
Apartments and non-residential real estate
First, let’s try to formulate what residential and non-residential premises are and what is the difference between them. A non-residential object is one or more rooms isolated by a ceiling, floor, and walls and clearly delineated parts of buildings that are not considered technical rooms, storage rooms and cannot be used for housing. A non-residential real estate object cannot be used for living, accordingly, it can be exploited for industrial or public purposes. The purpose of using non-residential premises must correspond to the type of activity carried out in it and can be a communal, commercial, warehouse, etc.
A living space is a separate space intended and suitable for permanent residence in it, providing direct access to common areas and consisting of one or more rooms, as well as premises for auxiliary use, intended for the satisfaction of citizens of household and other needs associated with their residence in such a separate room. Auxiliary premises (basement, attic, garage) can be part of both a non-residential facility and a residential area.
Both statements are very similar. The only difference between an apartment and a non-residential property is its purpose. Residential and non-residential premises must comply with the current requirements established by the relevant law.
Change the purpose of a room or building
After we managed to find out what differences exist between non-residential and residential premises / buildings, one important question arises: can a person live in non-residential premises? Changing the purpose of the premises is regulated by the relevant law of June 7, 1994 “On construction” A change in the purpose of a room or building is the termination or change of the type of activity of a non-residential building or part of a building for which it was intended, which can significantly affect the change in the rules for the safe operation of buildings.
Rules for the operation of a non-residential building: fire safety rules, environmental, sanitary and hygienic requirements, labor protection rules. In order for the relevant authorities to confirm the change in the purpose of a room or building, the purpose and functional purpose must first be changed. Conversion of residential premises into a shop, warehouse, office, or non-residential premises into an apartment is only a consequence of the decision to change the purpose of the building.
In order to determine whether the purpose of the premises has really changed, it is necessary to compare the plan of the non-residential premises with its technical description with the redevelopment project in order to determine for what purposes the premises / its purpose were used, and also what will the previously mentioned non-residential building be used for.
Statement of intent to change the purpose of the property
To change the purpose (target / functional) of non-residential premises, you need to apply to the relevant authorities. The applicant provides a statement of intention to change the purpose of non-residential premises, that is, transfer from non-residential stock to residential. We are not talking about the intention of a redevelopment or installation/transfer/replacement of communications. An application is a document in which the applicant confirms the intention to change the purpose of the real estate object, providing a plan of non-residential premises with its technical description, a redevelopment project, indicating for what purposes the premises / its purpose was used, as well as what the previously mentioned non-residential premises will be used for.
What is the risk of unauthorized change of the purpose of the property?
A statement of intent to change the purpose of the property is submitted before the start of work, and not after the fact, when the construction work is already underway or completed. Submission of an application after the work has been completed does not relieve the copyright holder from liability. And then the question arises: who should submit an application for changing the purpose of the property? To change the function and intended purpose of non-residential premises, its right holder or his authorized person/property manager (hereinafter referred to as the applicant) submits to the relevant authorities an application for changing the purpose of the non-residential premises. The copyright holder (owner) or the manager of the property is responsible for the use of the property for its intended purpose. Organizations exercising control and supervisory functions in the field of unauthorized change of the purpose of real estate: the powiatowy inspector for construction supervision (powiatowy inspector nadzoru budowlanego) or the voivodeship inspector for construction supervision (wojewódzki inspector nadzoru budowlanego).
The copyright holder is not released from liability for unauthorized change of the object’s purpose, even if the non-residential property did not require repair, installation/transfer/replacement of communications and was fit for life. If the powiat or voivodship construction supervision office (nadzór budowlany) learns that the rightsholder has changed the purpose of the non-residential premises/building without submitting an application, they can decide to terminate the ownership rights. The owner of a non-residential property must provide the relevant documents within the specified period (the same documents as when submitting an application for intent to change the purpose of the property).
After the deadline for submission of documents, the relevant building supervision authority checks that all requirements are met. If the non-residential building/premises are further used for other purposes – even though the decision was made to terminate the ownership rights, the relevant construction supervisory authority decides to return the object to its previous purpose.
Legalizing unauthorized changes in the purpose of non-residential space
After the right holder or his authorized person/property manager submits the entire package of necessary documents in time, the relevant construction supervision authority will determine the amount of the legalization fee (opłata legalizacyjna). The investor has the right to appeal this decision to the Voivodship Construction Supervision Authority, and if this authority took the decision as a body of the first instance, then the decision can be appealed to the General Construction Supervision Authority (Główny Inspektora Nadzoru Budowlanego). If the rightsholder refuses to pay the legalization fee, it will be collected by an enforced collection of the debt in the course of action proceedings in the administration. Enforcement of the decision to collect the debt is assigned to the provincial construction supervision inspector.
Penalties for misuse of non-residential premises!
Unauthorized change of the purpose of the real estate object is fraught with administrative responsibility – a fine (even if the copyright holder has made a legalization payment). Construction supervision may oblige the copyright holder to pay a fine of up to PLN 2,000. The offender may not sign the protocol on the administrative offense. In this case, the relevant construction supervisory authority may apply to the court for a decision on the enforcement of the fine. An application to the court is also filed if the fine is not paid on time.