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The Spanish Lawyer Online

Investigating title to the property bought in Spain.

Property Law

Antonio Flores Vila

13th of May 2000

Q. Who investigates the title to a property to be bought in Spain if the Notary does not. I understand the Notary only checks at Land Registry for charges?

Ruth Drew

    A. Dear Ruth, The Notary Public does not have a duty to investigate the soundness of a deal he will authorise by means of a public deed of conveyance. That task is done by lawyers. What the Notary does, since a few years a go, is to ask for a land registry certificate showing the charges currently registered against the property. This is only done if formally requested prior to signing the deed, Also, the Notary will ask for a copy of the last Council rate receipt paid and, as of 1999, a certificate signed by the administrator of the Community of owners showing that payments are up to date. This last requirement can be waived by the buyer, as it is there only for his protection. Notwithstanding this, there is nothing stopping a buyer and seller from signing without any of this documentation, although the lack of presentation of the IBI receipt (Council rate receipt) entails a possible fine of up to 150.000 ptas. A check into the Town Hall is also important, as the previous seller may have left unpaid ´plusvalia tax´. The Notary Public is not a lawyer and he will not check the truth of the contents of the deed. He will only certifiy the parties to the contract have sworn to it. It is highly recommendable to engage the services of a solicitor when buying or selling property. Kind regards

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