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LEGAL CHECKS FOR PROPERTIES IN COSTA BLANCA, SPAIN

Professional Help

Since you are buying in a foreign country with a different system and language it is advisable to have professional help which means an A.P.I. estate agent or a Spanish lawyer, as they are the only people with a government licence to carry out conveyancing in Spain. They are happy to provide a complete service to Costa Blanca property buyers that will include translation, N.I.E. numbers, bank accounts and arranging utility payments apart from their conveyancing work.

Costa Blanca Property For Sale

Apartments For Sale Costa Blanca
Villas For Sale Costa Blanca

Legal Checks

A registry search is essential prior to signing a contract or title deed. The result of the search, the "Nota Simple" enables a check on the following points:

  • That the owner of the Costa Blanca property is who they say they are. It occasionally happens for example that a property is registered in the name of a couple and that a surviving partner will offer to sell without being aware that it is necessary to complete and register the inheritance first.

  • That the property being offered for sale corresponds to the property that is registered. It's not unusual for additions to have been made to a property at a later date such as converting an under build into an apartment or adding a bedroom without it appearing in the title deed. It is advisable to prepare the documentation such that the full constructed area appears in the deed.

  • That everyone is aware of any debts on the property. It is quite normal for a property to have a mortgage inscribed and with this information the bank can be contacted with a view to cancellation prior to signing the title deed or the buyer may wish to take over the loan. Any other debts will appear with this check and it is important to identify these as under Spanish law as they are transmitted with the property and need to be cleared.

  • The local authority (ayuntamiento) zoning (Plan Parcial) of the property to be sold. Most Costa Blanca properties offered for sale will be on Urban (Urbano) zoned land but fincas will usually be on Rural (Rustico) land and occasionally on land programmed for urbanization (S.U.P.). Each zoning has it's own regulation that varies for each municipality but can be checked with a town hall building department note (Cedula Urbanistica). On older properties the registry may still show land qualified as rural when in fact it has changed to urban many years previously.

Other Checks

To have a complete picture of the property and change over the utilities it's important have copies of the last bills that will usually be electricity, water, rubbish collection (basura) and the rates (I.B.I. Impuesto Sobre Bienes Inmuebles), gas (sometimes) and community fees in some urbanizations and always in bungalow complexes and apartment blocks. The SUMA local tax office needs to provide a copy of the latest rates bill paid (by law now) and the agent has to provide a certificate signed by the community administrator showing if community charges have been paid or are still outstanding. This is also now required by law for the signature of the title deed (escritura).

Power of Attorney: If either party is signing with a power of attorney this needs to be checked prior to the notary appointment to see 1) if it is still valid 2) if it covers the actions required - it could only cover only purchase or only sale and may not allow mortgage signatures 3) that it is valid in Spain. U.K. powers of attorney can be used but they need to come either from a Spanish embassy of consulate or from an approved list of notaries and be translated by a special translator (traductor jurado) with an Apostille stamp. It's usually better to prepare a power of attorney in a notary in Spain while you are there. It's not expensive (about € 70) and allows one family member or a legal representative to act for the others. Don't do a general power. It's much better to do one that is specific to the purchase or sale in question.