LEGAL TIPS FOR RESALE PROPERTY PURCHASE IN SPAIN
Before you complete your property purchase in Spain, you should make sure that:
- You have seen the Land Registry extract (“nota simple”) relating to the property, and checked the following details:
- The property and land for sale match the details registered
- The seller is the registered owner.
- There are no debts or charges, such as a mortgage or attachments (“embargos”), on the property.
- There are no legal proceedings initiated against the property for contravention of land planning law.
You have checked that planning permissions are in order and the property is a legal build. The Town Hall can inform you whether the building has all licences and permissions and provide details of the type of land.
You have checked the latest town plan to see whether or not the plot you wish to buy has any building restrictions, is in a green zone or includes a public pathway or similar. This can be viewed at the Town Planning (“Urbanismo”) Department of the local town hall.
You know the cadastral value of the property and how much purchase tax (Transfer Tax) will be due. Be aware that tax is charged on the Regional Government’s valuation of the property as opposed to the amount of the sale.
You can check this at the Regional Government’s online tax agency site using the cadastral reference number.
Make sure you have seen the following documents:
- A paid-up receipt for the previous owner’s annual property tax (“IBI”). It is also wise to get a certificate from the town hall proving that there are no unpaid rates from previous years.
- The Cadastral certificate giving the exact boundaries and square metres of your land. The Cadastral record will be linked to the Land Register record by a cadastral reference which will be included in both. You should double-check that the property and land description contained in both records matches although it quite common that they do not.
- The licence of first occupancy or habitation certificate issued by the town hall. You will need this document to be connected to electricity and water companies. Developers cannot force you to complete without this licence.
- Receipt to prove all utility bills have been paid by the previous owner.
- If applicable, a certificate signed by the President of the Community of Property Owners stating that there are no outstanding debts for unpaid service charges. You should be aware that if you later find that there are such debts outstanding, as the new owner, you assume the debts for the current and three previous years (four years in total).
As from 1st june 2013, all homes for sale or to let in Spain are required by law to have an energy efficiency certificate. If you are considering buying a property, the seller is obliged to show you this certificate.
On completion, the public deed should reflect an accurate description of the property. It is advisable that you register the property in your name with the land registry as soon as possible to ensure full protection of your rights. The notary public can even send advance notification to the land registry electronically once the public deed is signed.
If you are considering purchasing a coastal property you should contact the coastal demarcation office in your region to get a certificate to certify that the property is not affected by the 1988 coastal law. Bear in mind that while it is possible to view the coastal boundaries of the public maritime areas online on the environment ministry’s website, this may not provide sufficiently accurate information on which to base a property purchase.
Exercise extreme caution if the land registry record shows that the property you wish to buy is built on rural land. In normal circumstances, this type of land is reserved for agricultural use and you would need to undertake additional checks with the municipal and regional authorities to ensure that full planning permission has been obtained for residential use.