Spain Explained

Not quite perfect. Dealing with defects.

What happens when your dream home in Spain turns out to be not quite as perfect as you thought at first? What can you do when you spot defects in your new Spanish property? The good news is that there are laws to protect you from those annoying little, and large, problems with your home in Spain.

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You can’t be too careful when buying a new property. You should always choose a reputable builder and a good, independent, solicitor. But even when you’ve followed the right course of action and all the checks have been made there can still be teething problems with your new Spanish property. It might just be some peeling paint or a dodgy door handle or two. Or it could be something a little more sinister such as a crack in the wall or lose floor tiles.

Fortunately there are laws to protect you, particularly if the property is a new or recently built one. The builder or developer has to take full responsibility for any defects, hidden or visible. Ultimately, the finished product is down to them, whether it’s an electrical, plumbing or structural fault.

The claim period varies depending upon the extent and severity of the problem. For example:

ClassificationExamplePeriod of claim
The finishPainting

Floor tiles

Doors

1 year
The habitationIf it affects satisfactory use3 years
The structureFoundations

Pillars

Beams

Framework and supporting walls

10 years

It is important that you make your claim against defects as soon as you can after spotting the defect and certainly within a two-year period. For  structural claims your builder was required to take out insurance and may also have taken out additional, discretionary insurance for habitation.

It’s important to note that you can also claim if you bought a new property second or even third hand, provided it is within the time frame. So, if there is a problem with cracks appearing in the ceiling and your property is three years old, you should be able to place a claim.

If you are buying from a private individual you have less of a guarantee. You will only be covered for six months for hidden defects. It will also depend upon there being any clauses in the contract or deeds. A law firm can check this for you.

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In the event that your seller doesn’t pay up there are courses of action. As in most cases where there is a dispute, it will need to go to court. This involves additional expense but costs will be paid for by the seller if you win your case.

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