What happens if a property isn’t registered?

Who Pays Taxes and Community Fees in a Rental Contract With the Option to Buy

Registering a property at the appropriate registry is an essential step in a property purchase. Although you, as the buyer, are not obliged to register the property, at Costaluz Lawyers, we always advise you do so because registration provides legal security in a transaction. The registration document, known as a nota simple, also provides vital information about the property and owner. 

However, not all owners register their properties, making things difficult for the buyer, particularly if you need a mortgage. Banks need proof of registration to approve a loan. As a result, if the property isn’t listed in the Property Registry, getting a mortgage can be a challenge.  

Find out more about Property Registries and the information they provide

The Property Registry explained 

This registry is a public institution that records all transactions involving property. The archives list the owners of each property and its characteristics, including loans and charges. As a result, the property registry provides invaluable information about a property to a future buyer. 

Conveyancing lawyers use this information to ascertain important legal aspects such as: 

  • Determining whether the seller is the legal owner of the property. 
  • Finding out if there are any charges (including mortgages) on the property and who should pay them.
  • Discovering whether extension or refurbishment works are legally registered. 

Unregistered properties 

Most properties in Spain are duly registered. However, some aren’t, particularly those in rural areas or in small villages. If the property you want to buy isn’t registered, we always recommend that it is registered before you purchase. 

Registration is essential if you want to apply for a mortgage, and, in this case, we will insist the owner registers the property well before the purchase. Our conveyancing services include overseeing the process to ensure its outcome. 

Read our free guide to buying property in Spain

The registration process 

The procedure is straightforward and involves three documents: 

  • An authorized copy of the title deeds issued for the most recent transaction, i.e., when the property last changed hands. 
  • Proof that transfer tax has been paid on the purchase. 
  • Proof that local council tax (plusvalía) has been paid on the purchase. 

You take these three documents to the corresponding Property Registry (in the same province). 

Registration takes around 14 working days; once done, the bank can request a copy and start processing your mortgage application. 

Help with conveyancing 

An unregistered property is just one of the problems you could encounter when you buy in Spain. That’s why we always recommend you take professional legal advice for conveyancing

Our team at Costaluz Lawyers includes experts in all aspects of buying and selling property. Contact us now for a free consultation.

2 thoughts on “What happens if a property isn’t registered?”

  1. Hello,
    My sister and her husband had a villa built in Hondon Valley 6 years ago. The builder has proved very problematic constantly demanding extra monies. He had not built the villa to their specifications.
    He took them to court and suprisingly the judge awarded him more money, the case was settled however, he has never registered the property although always promising to do so.
    Your advice please.

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear Patricia:

      I’m deeply sorry to hear about the challenges your sister has been facing with her villa in Hondon Valley. It’s concerning to hear that the builder has not fulfilled his obligations even after such an extended period.

      Here’s a general orientation on the situation:

      Builder’s Obligations: Builders typically have a legal responsibility to ensure properties they construct are registered. This registration is essential for legal ownership and any future transactions related to the property. We would need to check the contract they signed.

      Legal Documentation: Ensure that all correspondence and agreements with the builder are well-documented. Written communication, contracts, and any promises made should be retained for potential legal considerations.

      Negotiation & Mediation: Before taking any formal legal actions, it might be beneficial to consider negotiations or mediation. This can sometimes expedite resolutions without the need for lengthy legal procedures.

      Legal Action: If the builder continues to be unresponsive or uncooperative, legal action might be necessary. In Spain, the non-registration of a property can have significant consequences, and builders can be held accountable for their lapses.

      Seeking Expertise: Given the intricacies of property law, it’s crucial to consult with a specialist in properties and rentals to get a comprehensive understanding of your sister’s rights and potential courses of action.

      Fortunately, help is on the way: Jorge Medialdea, our specialist in properties and rentals, will be contacting you shortly. Jorge is highly experienced in handling such cases, and he will provide guidance on how to address the issue with the builder most effectively.

      Once again, I’m truly sorry for the inconvenience and stress this situation might have caused your sister. Rest assured, we’re here to help and will do our utmost to ensure this matter is resolved swiftly and favorably.

      Warm Regards,

      María L. de Castro

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