Applying for registry information

  • You or your lawyer can apply at any of the Registries of Spain in person, by fax, mail or email.
  • You can also apply via the website of the Association of Registrars of Spain To receive a “simple note” in English, use the new portal for international users

After completing an enquiry form, your application will be redirected to the appropriate Land Registry. Once issued and translated, the note will be delivered by email and you can pay with any major credit card. To find out which Land Registry’s jurisdiction the property is in, ask the Consumers’ Service of the Association of Registrars, on freephone 900 10 11 41, at or via email to The same way, you can also find out Land Registry addresses, phone and fax numbers, email addresses and ask about any other registration matter. The registration information may be obtained as:

  • A “simple note”, which contains a description of the housing, its location, surface, appurtenances, its share in the condominium, any administrative regime that could affect it (if it is a public housing), mortgages that may remain on it, interest and costs, liens, seizures, easements, any disputes over ownership, scal conditions and, in general, anything affecting the home ownership.
  • Certification on domain and charges, which may be of a broader content than the simple note, and could be used in court.

The main purpose of the Land Registry is to publish and protect legal entitlements. When it provides a description of the property, it takes it from the catastro and from descriptions of the parties, which may or may not be up-to-date. The Catastro (also often spelled as Cadastre), is the official institution in charge of giving a graphic description. You can check the accuracy of the catastro via their website at, or with a RICS surveyor.

You may also request the registrar to provide a written report on the registration status of the property, or ask him or her for verbal advice. Land registrars are required to verbally report on matters relating to the registration status of properties, and such legal advice is free of charge. Registration information is provided in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Protection of Personal Data.

In addition to checking the housing situation in the Register, the seller must provide you with certain additional documents:

  • For resale homes, the authorised copy of the deed in which the acquisition was formalised.
  • A receipt for the last payment of the Property Tax.
  • In the case of condominiums, a certificate issued by the president or secretary of the home owners association stating if the property is up to date in the payment of community fees.
  • The formal statement, on a public document, that there are no current leases on the property.

Applying for Registry information for Non-EU foreigners

For any type of property being bought by foreigners, legislation on national defence can come into play. In strategic areas, prior authorisation by military authorities is required for non-EU foreigners to acquire housing, whether residents in Spain or not. It applies around Cartagena, the Strait of Gibraltar, Cadiz Bay, Galicia, border areas with Portugal or France, the Islands and Ceuta and Melilla. Furthermore, it is mandatory to register the transaction in the Land Registry.

Off-plan property – urban and building regulations

Examination of the physical and legal situation of the property is more difficult where it has not been built yet. The only description is the one the agent shows you, and it will only be built if the developer ful ls his obligations in accordance with the contract. So for off-plan property do not sign a contract or pay any money without rst checking:

  • The developer actually exists and the person signing on its behalf is entitled to do so. Check that the sponsoring company is registered at the Companies Registry. You may obtain information about the registration of the company, its administrators, agents and statutes, through a commercial register or This can be obtained quickly and easily over the internet with a credit card payment.
  • The land on which the building is to be erected is registered in the name of the sponsoring company with which you sign the contract.
  • The planned property has been authorised by the council and granted a licence. This can be checked at the Land Registry, because if the description of the planned property has been entered in the Registry then the license must already have been justi ed to the registrar. If the description of the building is still not recorded in the Registry then you will need to go to City Hall to check if the site has permission to build.

Each municipality has its own urban development plan that will agree with the planning regulations of its Autonomous Community. Several municipalities may create a joint plan, regulating new developments outside the urban grid. This plan will determine whether you are able to build on the plot, and the possibility of building and renovating in the future, or, on the other hand, the extreme threat of receiving a demolition order. Technical offices of the councils should provide you with the information about the urban situation and the changes that may affect the plot in the future.

If you are required to sign a private contract before the building is fully completed, and you are asked to pay any amount on account of the price, you should consider:

  • f the contract includes unfair terms, which would be considered null and void even if the purchaser has signed them. These could be terms claiming to allow the developer to make subsequent changes to the project without the buyer’s consent, or waiving the right of the buyer to choose a notary, saying that the buyer has to bear the costs of preparing the documentation.
  • Where payments are made to the developer, you may require that they are paid into a special account, only to be spent on construction, and that insurance is taken out or an endorsement made to ensure their return plus 6% if construction is not carried out or delivery is delayed. It is mandatory for the developer to give the client an “aval” from a bank which guarantees the payments if the project is not completed.

Once construction is completed but before signing the deed of sale, you can insist that the seller proves that the work has been completed as described in the plan, and that insurance is in place to cover any defects in construction. This too may be checked by a query to the Land Registry, because to register the completion of the building it must receive a certi cate of nal completion in accordance with the agreed plan. This will have been signed by the architect and director of the work and will include the insurance contract and a technical certificate indicating the date of completion and saying that the building ts the license. Therefore, before signing the deed, you must verify that the promoter has entered the completion of the work in the Land Registry.

In recording the completion of the building and registering construction already completed, you must obtain a technical certificate showing the date of completion and identifying that the building fits the project for which its licence was granted.

In any case, you should require the seller to state that, once built, the construction meets the technical requirements for the use to which it is intended (housing, commercial, industrial, etc.), by delivering you the first occupation licence, necessary to connect to utility supply companies (water, electricity, telephone, etc.). These licenses should be delivered to the buyer at the moment of signing the deed. Without them, you may refuse to sign, as they are essentials in law.

Purchasing by the seashore

Special rules apply for land along the seashore – which can include inland waters – and continue inland as far as around 100 metres. Such land is designated as within the public domain. You can buy a house already there, and you will be able to renovate the home, but without extending the size of the building either horizontally or vertically.

To check if the house is on land within the public domain you must go to Coastal Service or to the City Hall. Such information will also appear on information provided by the Land Registry. For the execution of the deed, a certificate from the Coastal Authority must be given to the notary, stating if the property is on or adjacent to the public domain, and any restrictions arising from that.

It is especially vital to take legal advice when buying close to the seashore.

Purchasing an apartment

When you are buying a condominium you acquire not only your property but also a share of the general building, such as the entrance hall, staircase, broom closet, machine room, elevator shaft, etc. Your share – and hence your obligation to pay the common expenses of the building – corresponds to your apartment.

The owner of the apartment must pay such expenses for the previous calendar year and the unpaid part of the current, so make sure the seller delivers a certificate stating whether there are debts. The seller may ask you to exonerate him or her from this obligation. This is quite usual, but if you agree ensure you understand the full extent of your responsibility.

Ask the seller to give you a copy of the articles of the condominium, as they may restrict your use of the apartments, their division or grouping, and they determine the common parts of the building. In the Land Registry you may obtain a copy of the clauses affecting even those that were not part of the condominium at the time the articles were approved.

Purchasing rural land

If you are thinking of building a property on rural land, bear the following factors in mind:

  • The price will vary depending on whether it is dry land needing irrigation, if it is planted with fruit, cereals, meadows, forests, etc., and according to the Autonomy on which it is located.
  • Check whether there is any existing building on the land or if there is the possibility of building in this area, according to the planning rules of the Autonomy.

Generally, rural land cannot be used for residential development, unless the Urban Authority requalifies the land:

  • It is possible to renovate existing buildings, either to live in them or to establish a rural tourism business, but it is not possible to add new buildings.
  • It is possible to erect new buildings for regular farming or hunting activity.
  • In some cases, you can build sports or cultural facilities, or those relating to environmental care.
  • Even in those rare cases where new residential buildings may be built, the land must be of a certain size as decided by the Autonomy, to avoid the creation of new villages without the proper change of use or suffcient infrastructure to support them.

The property must also hold the correct license from the municipality. The interested buyer’s lawyer must check the residential potential of the land, by asking for information at the City Hall. In general, information from Land Registry will also state whether the parcel is suitable to be built or not.

Source; AIPP / RICS / RDE