Registering ownership

The legal processes have not quite finished yet, however. With the escritura signed and the taxes paid, the final step is the registration of Frank and Diane’s rights at the Land Registry.

Who manages the registration?

To register property rights in the Land Registry, the following documents must be presented at the local Registry Office:

  • A certified copy of the deed of sale.
  • Printed tax self-assessment form, showing payment of taxes at a bank.
  • The most recent property ownership tax (IBI), or a cadastral certificate showing the cadastral reference of the property. These documents should be incorporated into the deed and its copies.
  • Proof of submission of a copy of the deed to the local tax authority for the purposes of the Municipal Tax on Increase in Value of Land of Urban Nature (plusvalía).

img-couple-5The housing authorities from the Autonomy may also require the seller to deliver a certificate of habitability, proving that the property meets all the technical requirements for habitation. Resale properties, as long as they have the supplies contract in place, will not need to show these licences.

The presentation of these documents to the Land Registry can be done directly by the buyer, an agency, the notary, the lawyer or a gestor.

However you choose to do this, once these documents are at the Registry, registration must be completed within 15 working days. Otherwise there will be a 30% reduction in fees. The registrar will verify that the agreement has been made with full legal effect and the property rights of the buyer will be recorded at the Land Registry. If the registrar sees that the documents have defects preventing their registration they will notify the filer of the document and the attesting notary.

Defects noted by the registrar may be corrected, or if you do not agree with the registrar, you may request a second opinion from another registrar who may replace the first. The corresponding appeal may be submitted to the Directorate General of Registries and Notaries, or you may directly challenge it before the Court of First Instance in the capital of the relevant province.

This registration is necessary for the buyer’s newly acquired right to be fully protected:

  • You will be considered the only true owner unless judged otherwise.
  • You are protected against creditors of the seller.
  • You are protected from hidden charges against the property.
  • You may obtain judicial protection of your rights.
  • Once you have registered your rights, no one can effectively acquire any rights over your home without first obtaining your consent.
  • You can obtain a mortgage loan to finance the purchase of housing. Only if the buyer registers his or her right of ownership may the bank register the mortgage that guarantees repayment.

The change of ownership will be notified to the cadastre so they will know that the property taxes will now be paid by the buyer.

For all these reasons it is essential, as we have already explained, to check if there is any seizure, mortgage or other charge in registration history of the house or the land on which it is to be erected, and to buy only from the person listed as its owner in the Land Registry. It is also essential, once you have signed the deed, to complete the registration of your rights in the Registry.

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Source; AIPP / RICS / RDE