Spain Explained

The Spanish Land Registry

Property in Spain should be registered on the Land Registry or ‘Registro de la Propiedad’. This is an official record of who the owners are and contains other important pieces of information. But what is the purpose of this register and how does it work in practice?

The Registro de la propiedad or Land Registry is an official record that includes information about who owns a property. Also includes if there are any charges, mortgages or encumbrances on it. It can also help establish where the property boundaries are, the type of land it is built on and is an important check for anyone considering buying a property in Spain.

The Spanish government manages this official register, overseen by the Ministry of Justice. The Land Registry protects property rights and may provide critical information via the ‘nota simple’ including among others Court precautionary measures, rentals or construction infraction.

Legally, property does not have to be registered in the Land Registry. However, doing so comes with a number of advantages. Especially for buyers, it safeguards against unexpected debts, taxes, and costs. For example, you could be held responsible if the current owner hasn’t paid utility bills. Also if it has outstanding property-related debts.

If you do have a claim to a property in Spain – for example, if you are renting to buy the property – then this should also be registered at the Land Registry as a safeguard to ensure that the agreement you came to is officially recognized and cannot be revoked.

Checking the Land Registry site for information about a property you intend to sell can also prove to be useful. This is the crucial information your potential buyer will seek. Avoid losing a sale due to undisclosed recorded issues.

Checking out the Land Registry

To independently check a property’s status, use the Spanish Land Registry’s website. It offers Land Registry details in both English and Spanish.

However, if you engage the service of a professional, you will make sure the contents and information provided by the “nota simple” will be correctly interpreted.

What you need to proceed

If you are interested in finding out more details of a property on the Land Registry then there is some basic information that you will need to know about it:

  • The name of the Municipality it is located in (the town e.g. Torrevieja)
  • The Land Registry Office and Registry Section (it gives you an option for finding out this information)
  • The name(s) of the owner(s)

The search will be easier if you are able to supply the IDUFIR which stands for IDentificador Único de Finca Registral. An individual completes the search, allowing you to provide additional details like the postal address, previous owners, and any other information that can help them in their search.

A professional is still important

The Land Registry website helps when identifying potential properties. When moving towards serious consideration and the next steps, it’s advisable to involve a professional lawyer.

Even in its translated version, some of the details provided on the Land Registry extract will be hard to interpret if you are not familiar with Spanish conveyancing. It is difficult to know what all the warning signs are that a property may have complications. After all, whether buying or selling your property, it is one of the biggest financial decisions you are ever likely to make so do make sure no stone is left unturned.  

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