Spanish property law, some improvements!

A new Law came into force on the 7th July 2011 (Royal Decree Law 8/2011) which has important implications for anyone thinking of buying Spanish property.  This new law has introduced important changes with one change in particular crucial and with which I am very satisfied – as it is long overdue:

From the 7th July 2011, all town halls in Spain will have to send a report to the Land Registry in Spain informing them about which properties in their area have infringed their local Urbano plan.  This means that this critically important information (for anyone thinking of buying a Spanish property) can be obtained directly from the Land Registry in Spain.  This will greatly speed up the process of investigating the legalities of a given property – not least because local town halls in Spain can be notoriously slow in providing this information.

I have always made a point of applying for information in writing from the local town hall relevant to a property I am investigating.  However, some town halls in Spain have made my life quite difficult as they have been reluctant to issue the report in less than a month!  In some cases, Spanish property purchases have failed because of the time the report has taken to be prepared – which is ridiculous.  So, I have welcomed this new law as it will make things much easier for purchasers (and their Spanish lawyers).

A further section of the 7th July 2011 law (Royal Decree Law 8/2011) also specifies that the deed (Escritura) for new build properties in Spain cannot be registered with the Land Registry in Spain until a builder has a properly issued an Occupancy Permit for the property concerned.  This is a further good regulation.

As I have stressed time and again, the Occupancy Permit (Licencia de Primera Ocupación, sometimes referred to as a Certificado de Habitacion or Cedula´) for a property is extremely important and you must be very wary about buying a property in Spain that lacks an Occupancy Permit.

Finally, the new law also states that those who have done extensions or material changes to their Spanish property which have not been registered will need specific documents – if they wish to have the changes registered.  The latter action, of course, is important – particularly for onward sale purposes…



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