You have found the perfect property in Spain and want to take action. Below, we would like to outline the fundamental legal points of property acquisition in Spain. It is highly recommended that you consult an expert lawyer for detailed questions regarding real estate law in Spain, and for individual advice in order to ensure a trouble-free property purchase. An initial consultation with a lawyer in Spain is usually free and the fee for expert advice will only amount to a fraction of a possible claim in Spain. We would be pleased to recommend a lawyer to you.
The starting point for any property purchase in Spain is the “Escritura de Compraventa”, also known as the “Escritura” for short. It is the notarial contract of sale. Even more important, however, are the entries in the Land Registry (“Registro de la Propiedad”). All important data for the corresponding property is recorded here. Before each purchase, it is therefore indispensable to request a current extract, the “Nota Simple Informativa” (tittle deed). This will provide the potential buyer with legally binding information about whether:
- the seller is the actual owner of the property.
- there are any further individuals, such as spouses, partners etc. who must agree to the sale by providing their signature.
- there are any burdens such as mortgages, rights of way, usufructs or other debts on the property.
- the surface area of the property and plot of land corresponds to that given by the seller.
- a new build declaration (“Declaración de Obra Nueva”) exists and is registered.
- the occupancy certificate (“Cédula de habitabilidad”) exists.
It is important that the purchaser of the property is aware that a property will still be liable for any old debts from the previous owner up until the notarial sales contract (“Escritura de Compraventa”) is recorded in the Spanish Land Registry (“Registro de la Propiedad”).
Other important points in Spanish real estate law which are best dealt with by a lawyer specialising in property acquisition are:
- Buildable area – compliance with minimum size
- Do any building plans already exist and what types of building are permitted?
- Existence of rental and lease agreements connected to the property
- Contribution arrears, existing tax due and unpaid utility bills (electricity, water, gas, telephone)
- applicable law (in most cases a local court is recommended)
A lawyer will also ensure that secondary covenants and implicit rights are confirmed in writing.