Escritura: Property Deeds in Spain
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The Escritura, or property deed in Spanish, becomes relevant during the property buying and selling process in Spain. It is an essential document for the transfer of absolute legal ownership from the original property owner to the purchaser. The formal document states who owns the property, and also provides a summary of the property. The Escritura defines a particular property whether residential or commercial. Next to this, it contains the changes in the ownership of the property.

For properties that form part of a community of owners, the property deed includes information about the community of owners. It will also state who is the administrator of the community, with the relevant contact and bank account details. When you buy a property, you need to change the ownership details in the property deeds.

The Escritura and the Catastro

As discussed above, the Escritura or Spanish property deed describes a given property, including details regarding the property owner. On the other hand, the Catastro (Spanish Cadastre or Spanish land registry) is a comprehensive register of all properties within the Spanish border.

You can check the Catastro for details regarding the number and location of all plots or parcels of land in Spain. Other profound information contained in the document including boundaries, the position of the property, class of the land, property size and the name(s) of the property owner.

When it comes to finding property ownership, the Spanish land registry is the only public department in the country that is mandated with the rights. In this regard, an Escritura is only registered with this department.

Get the help of a Property Lawyer in Spain

How important are property deeds in Spain?

Simply put, the Escritura is the only documentation that fully secures the ownership of a property in the eyes of Spanish law. It’s worth noting that failure to transfer the property to your name means that you are not considered as the legal owner.

The importance of having correct and up-to-date documentation for your property cannot be overstated. There are many costs involved when buying a property, but by purchasing a property without a proper deed, you will also potentially be opening yourself up to a lot of legal issues.

Property deeds transfer in Spain

Before a Spanish Notary the process of transfer and signing of the property deed is done. Thereafter, the owner gets the property rights and can manage it as his/her own. We highly recommend consulting qualified professionals such as SpainDesk to guide you through the entire process and ensure proper due diligence.

The Escritura is one of the most critical documents when purchasing property in Spain. It’s thus not surprising that all the parties (buyer and seller) must be present in-person to sign the property deed before the Spanish Notary. However, this can be exempted by either one or both of the parties arranging a Power of Attorney. In such cases, the representatives must all be present before the Notary. If you can’t be present, you can give us Power of Attorney, and let us take care of your property purchasing or selling.

When transferring a property deed, the parties must have a Spanish ID or passport to confirm their identity. On the appointment day, the Notary confirms all the relevant documents. Also, he/she confirms the payment that is made by the buyer to the initial property owner. The Notary then hands out the deeds for signing, only if there no objectives from either of the parties.

After signing the property deeds, the Notary stays with the original documents for a few days. During this time the property is appropriately registered in Land Registry. The property deed transfer process is very straightforward. However, the process can be delayed in some cases due to non-compliance with relevant regulations, permits, licenses, charges, and taxes. In case you lose your Escritura copy, you can request another one from the Notary, which typically takes a few days.

Updating Spanish property deeds

Whether you are a local or foreigner owning property in Spain, it’s critical to make sure that your property deeds are accurate. The description of your property registered at the Spanish land registry should match the actual nature of the property on the ground. When buying or preparing to sell your property, you should do proper due diligence. Confirm the registration of the actual property on the ground. This is properly done with the help of a lawyer.

After some time, extensions and changes to a property can mean that the relevant deeds are outdated. The property deed update process entails four items. Services of an architect, services of an asesoria, a Town Hall visit and a trip to the Notary office.

When doing changes to your property such as renovations. Before the completion of the property changes, the update of the property deed should be done. This prevents possible hurdles when selling your property in future. Some of the updates you should provide in property deeds include:

  • Adding a swimming pool
  • Property extension
  • Applying for further planning permission
  • Registering a well or borehole
  • Additional accommodation, e.g. bedroom, dining room or bathroom
  • Storage room
  • Garage

At SpainDesk, we work closely with local and foreign clientele to buy, sell, and update their Spanish property deeds. We will register properties at the Spanish Land Registry and Catastro Registry properly. We will help you make more informed decisions concerning your property documentation. Contact us for a detailed description of our services.

Get the help of a Property Lawyer in Spain

Disclaimer: Information on this page may be incomplete or outdated. Under no circumstances should the information listed be considered professional legal advice. We highly recommended seeking guidance from a legal expert if you lack extensive knowledge or experience dealing with any of the procedures outlined in these articles.

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