Licence of First Occupation

Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, September, 3. 2018

Marbella-based lawyer Raymundo Larraín revisits a First Occupancy Licence and gives us a brief rundown on what it is and its relevance to a property buyer.

Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers, over 16 years’ conveyancing experience at your service.

Article copyrighted © 2.005, 2.010, and 2.018. Plagiarism will be criminally prosecuted.

 

By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Director of Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers
8th of September 2018

The Licence of First Occupancy (LFO, for short) is a crucial document on buying off-plan property in Spain that draws a line between what is legal and what is not, in general terms. A LFO does not (usually) apply to resale properties.

This article is just a stub, a short summary. If you fancy an in-depth take on this topic, you can read our 2005/2009 breakdown: Licence of First Occupation.

Definition

A Licence of First Occupation is a certificate issued by a town hall which confirms that a newly-built property (off-plan) fully complies with all planning and building regulations and is fit to be used as a dwelling. It assures compliance with Health, Access, Safety, Planning and Construction laws, and that the property has been fully completed, with no outstanding works.

The LFO allows off-plan purchasers to dwell in a property legally. A LFO is also known as Habitation Licence or Certificate of Habitation and in Spanish, Licencia de Primera Ocupación or Cédula de Habitabilidad.

LFO importance

It is important mainly for four reasons:

  • It provides a check on the planning legality. A LFO means the developer has built the dwelling in accordance with the original town hall’s Building Licence as well as with all Planning laws. The inspection to grant this licence is carried out by town hall’s chartered technicians who certify that the dwelling is deemed apt for human habitation.
  • It is required by utility companies to have access to official supplies: water, electricity and gas. Spanish law requires the granting of the LFO to hook up the dwelling to the supply grid.
  • Lenders will ask for it if you require finance. Banks will also be asking you for a LFO. Even on reselling the property, your buyer may request a copy for his own lender.
  • Holiday lettings. If you are looking to buy as an investment (buy-to-let), a LFO is required by Regional Tourist Authorities to rent out your place on a short-term. If your property hasn’t attained a first occupancy licence, you will not be able to legally rent out your house and may be landed with humongous fines if caught red-handed. The fines for non-compliance are six-figures in some regions of Spain.

 

Conclusion

Be wary of anyone downplaying the importance of a LFO on off-plan property claiming it is unnecessary.

In general, I advise you not to complete without a Licence of First Occupation.

 

We offer the most competitive fees in the market.

Conveyancing – Buying from €995

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Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers is a law firm specialized in conveyancing, inheritance, taxation and litigation. You can contact us by e-mail at info@larrainnesbitt.com, by telephone on (+34) 952 19 22 88 or by completing our contact form.

 

La perfection est atteinte, non pas lorsqu'il n'y a plus rien à ajouter, mais lorsqu'il n'y a plus rien à retirer.”  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Maj. Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint-Exupéry (1900 – 1944 KIA). French writer, poet, aristocrat, journalist, and expert aviator. He became a laureate of several of France's highest literary awards and also won the U.S. National Book Award. During his U.S. hiatus, he wrote the three books that would earn him literary immortality whilst strongly lobbying for the U.S. to join the war effort against the cruel Nazi tyranny. He is best remembered for his novella The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince), based on his real life Libyan desert crash, and for his lyrical aviation writings, including Wind, Sand and Stars and Night Flight. He vanished without a trace during WWII over the Mediterranean Sea on a reconnaissance mission behind German lines whilst piloting his Lockheed P-38 Lightning. His tragic disappearance marks the start of his literary legend which continues to grow every year, as new generations of young readers become imbued with his exquisite work (in over 350 languages!)

Article also published at Spanish Property Inisght: Licence of First Occupation

 

Legal services Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers can offer you

 

Off-plan-related articles

 

Please note the information provided in this blog post is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice. This article may be posted freely in websites or other social media so long as the author is duly credited. Plagiarizing, whether in whole or in part, this article without crediting the author may result in criminal prosecution. VOV.

2.005, 2.010 and 2.018 © Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt. All rights reserved.

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Golden Visa Spain

Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, August, 8. 2018

Lawyer Raymond Nesbitt gives us an overview of the advantages offered by Spain’s Golden Visa application.

Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers has over 16 year’s conveyancing experience at your service. Our team of native English-speaking lawyers and economists have a long track record successfully assisting expats acquiring property all over Spain, including Madrid and Barcelona.

Article copyrighted © 2.013, 2.017, and 2.018. Plagiarism will be criminally prosecuted.

 

 

By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Director of Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers
8-8-18

Introduction

The Spanish Golden Visa has become the gateway to Europe for thousands of applicants pursuing the European dream. They have collectively invested over 2 billion euros since its inception in 2013. Although Spain’s visa programme was a flop initially, as it fell well below expectations and was marred with teething issues, an ambitious overhaul in 2015 made it extremely competitive compared with similar schemes offered by fellow EU countries. So much so, that this massive tweak enabled Spain to overtake Portugal last year, becoming Europe´s leading Golden Visa supplier. This is unsurprising given how Spain overtook the US as the world’s second biggest tourist destination.

Although this procedure was originally tailored to cater to well-off Chinese and Russian nationals, British should seriously consider looking into it with renewed interest post-Brexit. The reason is because this scheme would allow British nationals - that lack a EU passport - to travel across Europe skipping pesky passport controls on an equal footing to EU nationals. Much like before the UK voted to break away from the Europe Union. Avoid lengthy queues at EU airports.

If you fancy an in-depth take into this subject, you can take a peek at our 2013 article: Investor Guide to Spain’s Golden Visa Law

Spain’s Golden Visa programme allows affluent non-EU applicants, and their dependants, unfettered access across Europe´s Schengen Area. Travel unmolested through all of Europe.

A Golden Visa enables you, and your family, to live and work in Spain (Europe). This visa guarantees Spanish residency, which eventually leads to Spanish citizenship (optional). Live the dream, apply now!

Apply for the keys to your Golden Visa through Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers: Golden Visa Service. Your family’s success is only one call away: (+34) 952 19 22 88

Thousands of non-EU nationals have already secured their families’ future and well-being on benefiting from this special arrangement that rolls out the red carpet cutting through all the red tape. Spain’s Golden Visa is a success story, be a part of it.

Why haven’t YOU invested in your family’s future?

Why choose Europe?

  • Democracy. Europe, cradle of Democracy, hosts some of the world’s oldest and most progressive open-minded societies. A clear and stable legal framework allows freedom, tolerance, nurtures ingenuity, and upholds (property) rights for businesspeople. This concocts the ideal breeding ground to foster business investments and develop an entrepreneurial skill set.
  • Education. Europe is home to some of the world’s most respected academic institutions. Secure a bright future for your children allowing them to earn their spurs in life through a meritocratic top-notch education.
  • Culture. Europe is a crucible of cultures, a conflux that laces Western and Eastern influences, offering a rich tapestry of history and arts that shaped the world as we know it. Spain’s vast cultural heritage, spanning millennia, is a legacy of commingled cultures that attracts over 82 million tourists every year leaving an indelible mark upon its visitors.
  • Languages. Seize the opportunity to master and command some of the world’s most influential languages: English (business & finance), French (arts & diplomacy), German (industry & science), Spanish (literature & poetry).
  • Security. Taken for granted by modern society, peace and security have become an increasingly sought-after commodity in these perilous times. Europe offers a war-free space ideal for young families to raise their children. Europe, and Spain in particular, boast some of the world’s lowest crime rates. Unsurprisingly, 8 out of the 10 cities with the lowest world-wide crime rates are located within European borders. Tight gun-control policies avoid trigger-happy wackos.
  • Healthcare. Europe, and Spain in particular, are at the forefront in modern medical facilities.
  • Modern transport. Spain offers top-tier transport services including state-of-the-art high-speed rails connecting you with Europe’s major capitals.

 

Golden Visa Advantages

  • Fast-tracked. This law is specifically devised to attract affluent non-EU investors and helps to cut through the admin red tape greatly streamlining the visa procedure.
  • Travel Europe visa-free. You can travel without a visa for 90 days out of every 180 days within the Schengen Area, but you will still need a visa to enter EU countries outside the Schengen Area (for example the United Kingdom).
  • Clear rules. Initially 1 year (Residency Visa), then 2 years (Residency Permit), renewable indefinitely every 2 years.
  • No need to become resident in Spain. You only have to visit Spain once to get or renew the Residency Permit. There is no minimum stay requirement, and you don’t have to become a fiscal resident or actually live in Spain.
  • Family included. You may get additional permits for your spouse and children under 18 years (or disabled children over 18). Same-sex partners inclusive. Dependent parents of applicant are now also included (extended family).
  • You may work in Spain.
  • Spanish nationality (optional). This is a 2-year Residency Permit, not the right to permanent residency or a Spanish passport. However, it can lead to long-term Spanish residency after 5 years of continuous residence, and citizenship after 10 years.
  • Underaged children may study in Europe. Underaged offspring can live and study in Europe, in company of your partner, whilst you work and earn money abroad.
  • Return on investment. Take advantage of Spain´s burgeoning real estate recovery. Year-to-date (first five months), the market has expanded by double-digits in almost every region compared to the same period last year. Property prices are rising sharply spearheaded by Madrid (+17% YOY), Barcelona (+11% YOY), Mallorca (+15% YOY) and selected coastal areas. Low prices and cheap mortgages will not last forever, dip in whilst you can.

 

General Requirements

 Applicants pursuing investor visas must comply with the following general requirements:

  • Non-EU national.
  • The investor applicant must be of legal age (18-years-old or over).
  • The investor must not hold a criminal record whether in Spain or in the previous five years where he has resided.
  • Not be already in Spain irregularly.
  • Have access to medical insurance whether private or public.
  • Have sufficient financial means to support both himself and his family whilst in Spain.
  • Pay the relevant application fee.

 

Specific Requirements

Qualified residency permits to non-EU residents will be offered in return for any of the following:

  • Invest at least €500,000 in Spanish real estate property.
  • Invest at least €2,000,000 in Spanish Treasury Bonds.
  • Invest at least €1,000,000 in shares of Spanish companies.
  • Deposit at least €1,000,000 in Spanish bank accounts.
  • A ‘major’ business investment which fulfils at least one of the following three conditions:

 

  1. Meaningful job creation as a direct result of the investment.
  2. Significant socioeconomic impact in the geographical location where the activity will be carried out.
  3. Technological or scientific impact.

 

Interested? Come and speak to Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers’ friendly staff who will be pleased to guide you through Spain’s Golden Visa programme. Your family’s success is only one call away: (+34) 952 19 22 88

 

"The predecessors plant trees [and] the next generation cools off in the shade."Ancient Chinese proverb.

 

Golden Visa Service *

We are specialized in conveyancing

*includes one family unit

 

Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers, small on fees, big on service.

Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers is a law firm specialized in conveyancing, inheritance, taxation and litigation. You can contact us by e-mail at info@larrainnesbitt.com, by completing our contact form or by telephone on (+34) 952 19 22 88.

Article originally published at Spanish Property Inisght: Golden Visa Spain

 

Legal services Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers can offer you

 

Golden Visa related articles

 

Please note the information provided in this article is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice. This article may be posted freely in websites or other social media so long as the author is duly credited. Plagiarizing, whether in whole or in part, this article without crediting the author may result in criminal prosecution. VOV.

2.013, 2.017 and 2.018 © Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt. All rights reserved.

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8 Tips on Buying Off-Plan in Spain

Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, June, 11. 2018

Marbella-based Lawyer Raymond Nesbitt gives us an overview on how to avoid the most common pitfalls on buying new-build property in Spain. He introduces his article with a brief overview of the property market.

Article copyrighted © 2010, 2018. Plagiarism will be criminally prosecuted.

The following article has been greatly summarised to avoid unnecessary legal technicalities. The advice given is of a general nature only and should not be construed as tailored legal advice. Seek professional legal advice on your matter – see disclaimer below. The author does not endorse any of the offplan developments mentioned below for illustration purposes only.

Photo credit: courtesy of Stavanger Group, Belfry villas, Estepona

 

By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Director of Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers
8th of June 2018

 

Brief overview of the Spanish property market

 

The sales season is upon us.

Resales remain somewhat sluggish, yet off-plan has taken off and is on full cruise mode.

This is reminiscent on how the last property cycle started (1999 – 2007), with offplan spearheading the recovery and pulling in its wake the resale market. Obviously, market conditions are very different now and no one should expect a huge boom as in the previous cycle.

However, hard data suggests we have clearly started a new expansionist super cycle, as I ventured in last Aprils’ article:

  • Property prices in Spain (confirmed sales) jumped by almost 10% in the first quarter of 2018 following S&Ps Case-Shiller Home Price Index, according to the latest figures released in May by Spain’s Land Registrars Association (Colegio de Registradores de la Propiedad de España). This impressive figure, all unto itself, is a huge market indicator that flags the real estate market is back on the move.
  • The overall number of house sales increased 23% year-on-year in January 2018 according to Spain’s National Statistics Bureau (INE). House sales figures grew incrementally for nine consecutive months. There was a 46% jump from December to January in house sales and the trend remains unabated on the 1Q 2018.
  • The construction sector in Spain has increased 6% year-on-year on the 1Q 2018, following the latest figures released in June by Spain’s National Statistics Bureau (INE). This explosive surge in growth is unprecedented since the year 2001. The construction sector accounts for 10.6% of Spain’s GDP in 2018; a far cry from the jaw-dropping 20% figure reached in the apex of the property boom in 2006/2007.

 

What these three tantalizing figures translate into - without the esoterics - is that Spain has finally turned the corner in 2018 and is firmly set on the road to recovery. British buyers, traditionally Spain’s strongest market, remain subdued with Brexit looming ominously on the horizon. Northern Europeans, mainly Nordics and Belgians, have taken pole position in this new uncharted market.

The fledgling green shoots, which started in 2014, consolidated all throughout 2017 and are gaining traction in 2018. With this off-plan frenzy in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to publish a gentle reminder on the eight tips new-build buyers should be mindful of.

Brick is back. Can you afford to miss out?

 

8 Tips on Buying Off-Plan in Spain

 

  1. Hire a qualified registered Lawyer (Abogado)

Beware of intruders who claim to be Lawyers or law firms but are not registered to practice. Unlike Lawyers, they don’t have professional indemnity insurance and lack the legal qualifications to practice. I see plenty of such outfits advertising themselves regularly on popular expat magazines with glossy ads peddling their conveyance ‘services’. They will label themselves with fancy titles such as: consulting firm, legal consultant, iuris consultant, jurist, legal executive, legal advisor, legal assistant, paralegal etc.

In Spain it is very simple, you are either a Lawyer (Abogado) or you are not; there is no in-between. Always ask the person you are dealing with for their Law Society’s number and verify they are registered to practice. If the individual refuses to give you his practising number, walk away. In the last property cycle these intruders wreaked havoc and are now back in force!

Specifically, on buying new-build, it is highly advisable that you retain a seasoned registered Lawyer before you commit yourself signing any document or else paying any amount. Initial down payments, such as holding deposits which strike the property off the market, are non-refundable unless specifically agreed otherwise. If you pull out, you will likely forfeit your deposit.

Many legal problems could easily be avoided on following this simple advice. Don’t be in a rush to hand over your money without having hired an independent Lawyer first; do not allow yourself to be pressurized by intermediaries. Rash decisions often turn out to be expensive mistakes in life.

Our law firm has over 15 year’s conveyancing experience at your service. You can read further here: Buying Property in Spain – 10 reasons to hire a Lawyer

  1. Plot of land under a developer’s name

In the last property bubble, many developers marketed and sold on whole developments without even owning the land.

One should never buy an off-plan unit in a land that is still not registered under the developer’s name. There are far too many associated risks to take a gamble with your hard-earned money.

This is one of the checklist points your Lawyer will do as part of his conveyance due diligence.

  1. Building Licence

The basic recommendation is not to sign a Reservation Contract or a Private Purchase Contract (PPC) unless the town hall where the property is located has issued a Building Licence for the development. You should categorically not buy a property that lacks planning permission, it is only basic common sense.

This is by far the biggest mistake that – unbeknownst to many – a buyer can possibly make. Many problems could easily be staved off on following it. The Building Licence will ensure that the building is above board and the property is not being built in green belt land, for example.

Residenziale Cataleya-Salón comedor ático-Porcelanosa.jpg

Photo credit: courtesy of Erasur, Cataleya, Estepona

  1. Bank Guarantees

Once your Lawyer has checked the plot of land is under the developer’s name and there is a valid Building Licence issued, it’s time to sign the reservation contract.

The instalments paid while the property is being built can be guaranteed by means of what is known generically as a ‘bank guarantee’. For more information, please read our detailed article on Bank Guarantees in Spain. Bank guarantees only work now if a Building Licence has been issued (further reading in my blog post). In other words, any payments made towards off-plan property that lacks a BL, will be unsecured.

Bank Guarantees are a legal tool devised to secure the interim deposits of prospective off-plan purchasers should their properties not be delivered on time or their developers file for administration. Every payment made towards the property, including the initial holding deposit, should be secured by a bank guarantee.

A bank guarantee is of critical importance, acting as a safety net securing all your stage payments, should the developer fail to complete your property.

  1. Licence of First Occupation

A Licence of First Occupancy (also known as Habitation Licence or Certificate of Habitation and in Spanish, Licencia de Primera Ocupación or Cédula de Habitabilidad) is a certificate issued by a town hall that confirms that a newly-built property fully complies with all planning and building regulations and is ready to be used as a dwelling. A LFO allows off-plan purchasers to dwell in a property legally. You can read more on this subject in our in-depth article on the Licence of First Occupation.

A LFO is important mainly for four reasons:

  1. It provides a check on the planning legality. A LFO means the developer has built the dwelling in compliance with the original town hall’s Building Licence as well as with all Planning laws. The inspection to grant this licence is carried out by town hall’s chartered technicians who certify that the dwelling complies fully with Health, Safety, Planning and Construction Laws and is deemed apt for human habitation.
  2. It is required by utility companies to have access to official supplies (water, electricity and gas). Spanish law requires the granting of the LFO to hook up the dwelling to the supply grid.
  3. Lenders will ask for it if you require finance. Banks will also be asking you for a LFO. Even on selling the property, your buyer will request a copy for his own lender.
  4. Holiday rentals. If you are looking to buy as an investment (buy-to-let), a LFO is required by regional Tourist Authorities to rent out your place on a short-term. If your property hasn’t attained a first occupancy licence, you will not be able to legally rent out your house and may be landed with humongous fines if caught red-handed. The fines for non-compliance are six figures in some regions of Spain.

Be wary of anyone downplaying the importance of a LFO claiming it is unnecessary. In general, I advise you not to complete without a Licence of First Occupation.

  1. NIE number

A NIE number is a Fiscal Identification Number for foreigners and is required, among other things, to buy property in Spain. More details in our article: NIE Number Explained.

You can attain a NIE Number through us in only 3 days.

  1. Snagging list

Before you complete on a newly-built property you should always do a snagging list of the property. You can either draw up a snagging list yourself or else appoint one of the many reputable companies that may carry it out on your behalf.

It goes without saying that Lawyers do not carry out snagging lists! This is why we strongly advise you to hire a chartered surveyor. Ideally, your surveyor should be a fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), so you are guaranteed they work to British standards. You should know that Spanish survey reports are very different from our own.

You can read further on this topic in our detailed article Snagging List Explained or else in my Q&A with The Sunday Times.

For post-completion flaws and their repair, please read our article on Off-Plan Construction Flaws: Know Your Rights so you learn what your rights are and how to defend yourself once you have completed on a new build property. Post-completion, building flaws may become apparent which were either not picked up during the snagging list or else are new.

Photo credit: courtesy of Real Capital Solutions, Arboleda villas, Estepona

  1. Post-completion: dealing with property taxes, utilities, community fees & other

Once you have acquired your new Spanish property, you will have to face all the associated running expenses. Make sure you have carefully budgeted for this to avoid unpleasant surprises! Some of the luxury gated communities with lush tropical gardens and beautiful infinity pools that dot the Spanish coastlines may have steep maintenance expenses.

You should open a Spanish bank account if you haven’t done so already. Utility companies do not accept overseas payments and only accept standing orders against your Spanish account.

You should set at least as standing orders all the following:

  • IBI tax. Paid once a year (akin to the UK’s Council tax).
  • Rubbish collection tax. Paid twice or once a year depending to your town hall.
  • Utility bills (invoiced quarterly in the case of water and monthly with electricity).
  • Community fees (only if you’ve purchased in a Commonhold). Usually quarterly but may vary.

 

The particularities on buying off-plan are for example that IBI tax will not be usually readily available to pay until two years after you’ve purchased the property, maybe even more. You will be nonetheless held liable for those two previous years on the backdated IBI tax. Failure to pay IBI tax may lead to your house being auctioned off to recoup the debt. More on these taxes in our article Non-Resident Taxes in Spain.

You are also liable to file Income tax on owning property in Spain every year for which you need to appoint Fiscal Representation. Even if you do not rent out your property, you still need to pay this tax every year as a non-resident. We have a very competitively-priced taxation service, ask us.

Holiday rentals

If you do decide to lease your Spanish property as a holiday rental, given the spectacular rental boom Spain is undergoing over the last two years, we offer a Holiday Rentals Accounting Service (HRAS).

We can reduce your landlord tax bill by a minimum of 40% - or your money back! Ask us.

Spanish will

To close, we cannot stress enough how advisable it is that you make a Spanish will to dispose of your Spanish estate. This will not preclude any other will made in your home country and is limited exclusively to your Spanish assets. A Spanish will saves your beneficiaries time, money and hassle at a time of bereavement as it greatly streamlines the Spanish succession procedure. Contact us on our will writing service.

We offer the most competitive fees in the market.

 

Conveyancing – Buying from €995

We are specialized in conveyancing

 

Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers, small on fees, big on service.

Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers is a law firm specialized in conveyancing, inheritance, taxation and litigation. You can contact us by e-mail at info@larrainnesbitt.com, by telephone on (+34) 952 19 22 88 or by completing our contact form.

 

"Podrán cortar todas las flores, pero no podrán detener la primavera." — Pablo Neruda

Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto (1904 – 1973). Brilliant Chilean poet. Since a young age he proved to be extraordinarily gifted with the Arts writing all manner of poems. Nobel Prize winner for Literature in 1971. Due to his international high-profile and strong political beliefs, which he passionately defended, was suspected poisoned on the orders of Dictator Augusto Pinochet only days after his nefarious coup d'état. Among his timeless classics, 20 poemas de amor y una canción desesperada stands head and shoulders above the rest. The Colombian master novelist Gabriel García Márquez once called him "the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language."

Article originally published in Spanish Property Insight: 8 Tips on Buying Off-Plan in Spain

Legal services Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers can offer you

 

Off-plan-related articles

Buying Off-Plan Property in Spain – 8th of June 2013
House Hunting in Spain – Interview with The New York Times. June 2015
Resurgent Spain: Málaga Sees Strong Sales – Interview with Mansion Global (The Wall Street Journal). December 2015
Buying Property in Spain from a developer (Off-Plan Property) – 8th March 2017
How to inspect an off-plan property overseas – Q&A with The Sunday Times. July 2017
Buying Property in Spain – 10 Reasons to Hire a Lawyer – 8th November 2016
Non-Resident Taxes in Spain – 8th December 2015
Non-Resident Income Tax – 8th December 2017

Please note the information provided in this blog post is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice. This article may be posted freely in websites or other social media so long as the author is duly credited. Plagiarizing, whether in whole or in part, this article without crediting the author may result in criminal prosecution. Voluntas omnia vincit.

2.010, 2.018 © Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt. All rights reserved.

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Legalising Unregistered Property Extensions

Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, August, 8. 2017

Lawyer Raymond Nesbitt briefly explains how to go about legalising unregistered property extensions and the consequences of not doing so.

By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Lawyer – Abogado
8th of August 2017

 

                                                                                                                                     

 

Photo courtesy: Kingspan Insulation Ltd

Introduction

Often, with a view to sell, property owners decide to make improvements or extensions to their Spanish properties to make them more attractive to prospective buyers. Adding an outbuilding in the garden next to the pool, adding a few additional guestrooms, adding a toilet, building a cellar with home cinema or an in-door heated swimming pool all sound harmless and like a great idea on paper. Surely these improvements add value to the property, making the prospect of selling them far easier, yes?

The fact of life is that if these improvements are not carried out following the correct legal procedure they may become a perfectly good waste of money or even be counter-productive to selling your home.

In this article, I explain what are the legal consequences of unregistered extensions and how to go about legalising them.

 

Legal consequences of unregistered property improvements

There are several risks associated, with varying degrees of importance, of not following the statutory legal procedure; I will list them as bullet points.

  • You can be fined. Should your town hall catch you undertaking non-sanctioned improvements on your home you can be heavily fined and even be required to pull down the improvements at your own expense.
  • You may be criminally prosecuted. You may even face the daunting prospect of a State prosecutor instigating criminal proceedings against you dependent on the illegality committed. This is particularly true of rural property. Please read my article on the matter: How to Buy Rural Property in Spain.
  • You may be forced to pull down the improvements at your own expense.
  • Unregistered extensions are uninsured. Should they collapse, you have no legal recourse against them. Legal extensions will be covered by insurance.
  • You can´t borrow money against the improvements on the property (or not enough money). Should you require to raise capital to face medical treatment, for example, a lender is going to offer you significantly less money if you have not registered the extensions or improvements made to your property.
  • Unregistered extensions at the Land Registry do not exist legally. This has very important practical consequences, particularly on selling a property. In other words, only accurate property descriptions matching reality at a Land Registry are deemed legal. This translates in practice into significantly reducing the pool of buyers for your property, something nobody wants; more so on a challenging sales environment. Most buyers require finance to acquire a property (i.e. mortgage loan). Lenders will offer borrowers considerably less money to acquire a property with non-registered extensions as these are non-existent for all intents and purposes.

 

Making it easier on us, let us examine it with a practical example. If a rural property is being sold with a modern two-storey villa of 450 m² in a plot of 10,000 square metres (€1.5mn) albeit on paper (Land Registry description) it is actually a vintage cortijo of 80 m² (€120k), a lender will only be able to finance a fraction of the asking price. Meaning a buyer will be facing a huge shortfall in the money required to close the gap. Consequently, the deal will likely fall through because of lack of finance. What we can glean from this example, is that what is not lodged at the Land Registry simply does not exist legally to lenders and no money can be borrowed against it.

  • Some extensions require a Licence of First Occupancy (LFO, for short) without which a property cannot be lived in or rented out. So, for example you cannot receive income letting it out as a holiday home.
  • You may not be able to apply for utilities. As a result of not having attained a LFO, the property may not qualify to apply for utilities.

 

Profile on the legal procedure to register extensions and improvements

  • Contact an architect to draft a building plan.
  • Hire a lawyer.
  • File and pay for a town hall’s building licence (major or minor works).
  • Attain a certificate of end of works.
  • Register the extension/improvement in a deed at a Notary Public.
  • Register the updated deed at the Land Registry.

 

Conclusion

Registering extensions and improvements is in a property’s owners’ best interests as these will be made legal and will allow him to fetch a more attractive sales price for his property.

Bottom line, for your own good, your Title Deed must reflect and match exactly your property’s description. If this is not the case, you must hire a lawyer to amend your Title Deed and adapt it to reality to legally sell your property or to apply for a loan against it.    

 

Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers, small on fees, big on service.

Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers is a law firm specialized in taxation, inheritance, conveyancing, and litigation. We will be very pleased to discuss your matter with you. You can contact us by e-mail at info@larrainnesbitt.com, by telephone on (+34) 952 19 22 88 or by completing our contact form.

Article originally published at Spanish Property Insight: Legalising Unregistered Property Extensions

 

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Please note the information provided in this article is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice. This article may be posted freely in websites or other social media so long as the author is duly credited. Plagiarizing, whether in whole or in part, this article without crediting the author may result in criminal prosecution. VOV.

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Power of Attorney Explained

Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, June, 8. 2017

Lawyer Raymond Nesbitt explains what a Power of Attorney is, who needs it and how to get one.

By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Lawyer – Abogado
8th of June 2017

 

 

 

 

Introduction

On buying property in Spain, your appointed solicitor will suggest you sign a power of attorney (POA) giving him power to act on your behalf.

In this article I will explain briefly, strictly from a conveyancing point of view, the usefulness of signing a conveyance POA over to your lawyer.

What is a Power of Attorney?

It is a deed witnessed by a Notary public whereby a grantor (principal) confers a mandate to a third person (agent) to act on his behalf. The principal is bound by the actions carried out by his agent.

 

 

What types of POA are there?

Broadly speaking, there are several. For this article’s sake, I will only focus on conveyancing POA. But there are many more used in litigation, to administrate the estate of mentally unsound individuals (legally incapacitated), inheritance matters, lasting power of attorney, corporate, investments etc.

Content of a POA

POA can be either specific or broad.

An example of a specific POA can confer a mandate to apply for a NIE number on behalf of a client.

An example of a broad POA is one which confers ample powers to administer the estate of someone.

Specific Focus on Conveyancing POA

Conveyancing POA are usually limited. Your conveyancer will normally require all the below bullet points:

  • Apply for a NIE number.
  • Open a Spanish bank account.
  • Agree terms and sale´s price.
  • Buy a property (signing of deeds before a Notary public).
  • Take on a mortgage.
  • Completion and filing of tax forms.
  • Arranging registration of deeds at the Land Registry.
  • Setting up utilities on your behalf (water, electricity, landline).
  • Arranging direct debits on your behalf i.e. Community of Owners.

 

Where can a POA be Arranged?

  • In Spain. You can grant a POA before a Spanish Notary public whilst you are in Spain. This is usually the fastest and cheapest option.
  • Abroad, for example in England. Notwithstanding the above, at times buyers cannot make travelling arrangements and it may be easier for them to organize the signing of a POA in their home country. Your Spanish lawyer can draft a POA and e-mail it to you. You can then have it witnessed by a UK Notary. A POA granted in the UK or in the ROI requires affixed the Apostille seal of the The Hague Convention for it to be executable in Spain. We can recommend you UK-based notaries which are familiar with the whole procedure and who can fast-track it within the law.

 

Terminating a POA

Powers of attorney can be revoked at any given moment if needed be.

Conclusion

Whilst powers of attorney are most useful in practice, it is important to note that you should fully understand the faculties you are empowering someone with and feel confident on their performance.

In our law firm, we draft POA in double column, English & Spanish, for your peace of mind so that you know exactly what powers you are signing over to one of our lawyers.

To close, I strongly advise not to give POA to non-family members who are neither registered nor qualified to practice law; specifically, broad powers on money matters.

 

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – Lord Acton.

19th century aristocratic British politician, historian and writer. He was a libertarian that considered political liberty the essential condition. Famous for this very quote.

 

Our law firm charges €175 plus VAT for a POA service. This fee is deductible on hiring our conveyance service.

 

Article originally published at Spanish Property Insight: Power of Attorney Explained.

 

Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers, small on fees, big on service.

Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers is a law firm specialized in taxation, inheritance, conveyancing, and litigation. We will be very pleased to discuss your matter with you. You can contact us by e-mail at info@larrainnesbitt.com, by telephone on (+34) 952 19 22 88 or by completing our contact form.

 

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Conveyancing related articles

 

Please note the information provided in this article is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice. This article may be posted freely in websites or other social media so long as the author is duly credited. Plagiarizing, whether in whole or in part, this article without crediting the author may result in criminal prosecution. VOV.

2.017 © Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt. All rights reserved.

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NIE Number Explained

Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, May, 8. 2017

Lawyer Raymond Nesbitt explains what a Spanish NIE number is, who needs it and how to get one.

Get a NIE Number in only 3 days through us.

 

By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Lawyer – Abogado
8th of May 2017

 

Introduction

What is a NIE number? This will be one of the first questions you will be asking yourself when you move on over to Spain. Succinctly, a NIE number is a tax identification number for foreigners which identifies you before the Spanish Tax Office and allows you to file and pay taxes in Spain. NIE stands for Número de Identificación de Extranjero. It is the counterpart of the NIF number which only applies to Spanish nationals.

I have written up this brief Frequently Asked Questions to give a quick rundown on what it entails. You can request a NIE number service from our law firm.

 

Photo credit: Benidormseriously.com

 

Why is a NIE number needed?

Basically, any activity in Spain that requires you, as a foreigner, to pay taxes will need you to apply for a NIE number. A NIE number does not preclude your tax residency. The list supplied below is ad exemplum; it is by no means a closed list.

  • Buying property.
  • Selling property.
  • Connecting your property to utilities.
  • Inheriting assets in Spain.
  • Opening a bank account.*
  • Taking out insurance.
  • Importing/buying/selling a car.
  • Importing/buying/selling a boat.
  • Working in Spain.
  • Studying in Spain.
  • Claiming benefits.
  • Obtaining a mortgage or any other type of loan.
  • Can be used to enrol in a town hall census.
  • Some elite private foreign schools require a NIE number from parents and/or new (foreign) pupils to enrol them!

 

*Whilst it used to be a mandatory requirement in the past to attain a NIE number as a foreign resident to open a bank account in Spain, this is no longer the case. However, although initially you can now open a bank account without a NIE number it will be required further down the line by the tax office.

Who needs a NIE number?

  • Any foreigner who becomes resident in Spain for tax purposes.
  • Any non-resident who plans to own assets in Spain i.e. real estate, car, boat etc.
  • Any foreigner who plans to work, study or start a business in Spain.

 

What does a NIE number look like?

A NIE number is issued by the National police on a standard A4 size of paper which also has your name, surname, date of birth and nationality (see article’s photo above for more details). Example: X-12345678-R.

How to get a NIE number

  1. Apply abroad in person, through a Spanish consulate.
  2. Apply in person in Spain before a Spanish National Police Station.
  3. Apply by representative. You can appoint a law firm, such as ours, to act on your behalf as proxy using a Power of Attorney specific to NIE numbers.

What is required to attain a NIE?

  • Passport.
  • Fill in the relevant application form in Spanish.
  • Pay the government fee.
  • Justification on why it is needed.

 

Advantages of hiring a law firm to apply for a NIE number on your behalf (apply by representative)

 

  • It’s fast. We can apply for a NIE number and usually attain it within 3 working days. We can then scan and email you your assigned tax number. For an extra fee, we can post you the original certificate.
  • It’s cheap. Hiring us will be significantly cheaper than flying over to Spain and doing all the legwork yourself!
  • It’s safe. We are registered lawyers with Professional Indemnity Insurance.
  • You save yourself setting aside holidays to come over to Spain for two or three days.
  • You save yourself booking flights to Spain plus hotel lodging.
  • You save yourself having to hire a Spanish translator to translate all the legal jargon and documents in Spanish (Police Stations only deal with you in Spanish).
  • You save yourself having to wake up early in the morning and endure endless queues at a Police Station under a scorching sun only to be attended in Spanish after several hours.

 

10 FAQs on NIE Numbers

 

  1. I´ve read that NIE numbers have a three-month validity, is this true? After 3 months do I need to apply for a new one?

Not true. The NIE number comes with an unfortunate wording that makes it seem as if it was only valid for three months. In practice, it does not expire. Once you have a number assigned by the National Police it will be yours for lifetime. You also do not need to renew it; so, it is basically a one-time thing.

Now that I have clarified this common misunderstanding, comes the tricky part. What actually does expire is the certificate itself which you are issued by the Police Station (the A4 size sheet of paper). Should you require a new certificate, for whatever reason, you may need to request them to re-issue you one (but as I write, it will have exactly the same NIE number as the one before). The only thing that will change is the expiry date which will be again for a further three months.

  1. I offer my property as a holiday rental (short-term) advertising on popular property portals such as Airbnb. Do my lodgers need to apply for a NIE number when I submit my quarterly tax model 210? Even if they are just staying overnight?

Short answer is no. Only the property owner (or joint owners) need to apply for a NIE number.

  1. In my country we have several Spanish diplomatic missions. Why would I need to hire a law firm instead of applying for a NIE number in person through any one of them?

Although on paper this may seem like a good idea, in practice it´s botched. The main problem on applying for a NIE number through a Spanish consulate is that your paperwork is sent from your home country over to Spain (usually Madrid) and then back again. This winded process can take up to several months to fruition with little to no feedback. You will endure first-hand the wonders of Spanish red tape setting you back by several months. Besides, not all consulates allow you to apply for one. So basically, it’s a no-no unless you enjoy watching grass grow.

  1. Does attaining a NIE number make me a Spanish tax resident?

No, it doesn´t. All it is really is just an admin number to identify you before the Spanish Tax Office. It does not preclude your tax status.

  1. I’m planning to buy a property in Spain jointly with my wife. Do we both need a NIE number or only myself? If I buy a property with my children (to mitigate IHT) do they also need a NIE?

Both of you need one. Any owner or joint owner of a property needs to apply for a NIE number.  This will also include your children should they also become joint owners with yourself and your wife.

I take the opportunity to introduce a shameless commercial plug and advise that our law firm offers significant discounts when you apply through us for NIE numbers in bulk orders (three or more).

  1. I was planning to buy a property in Spain but at completion the Notary refused to sign because I didn´t have a NIE number. Is this correct?

Yes. One of the roles of a Spanish Notary is to ensure all taxes are paid to the Tax Office. It stands to reason that if you don’t have a NIE number you cannot pay the associated taxes of a purchase. In other words, to buy or sell property in Spain it is mandatory by law to have a NIE number (if you are a foreigner) at completion so you can pay the appropriate taxes. A Notary will check if a buyer has a NIE number and will refuse to witness the signing if he lacks one.

  1. I have read online that one can no longer apply for a NIE number using a representative through a Power of Attorney; you need to apply for it in person. Is this advice wrong?

Rather than wrong, I would say this advice you have read on internet is out-of-date. Please excuse me digressing for a bit.

For a few months in 2012 National Police Stations turned down representatives using PoA to apply for a NIE. Lo and behold, it panned out that many non-residents simply did not have the sweet time to waste two or three days to leave their work and fly over to Spain in person just for the privilege of queueing up at a Spanish Police Station for hours on end under a baking sun. On top of it (booking flights, hotel lodging) these foreigners also needed to hire a translator to deal with Spanish police as they only communicate in ta-da: Spanish!

So, the dire combination of costs ballooning coupled with all the red tape translated into a sharp dip in property sales at a time when Spain’s ailing economy sorely needed its property market to pick up. The ensuing public outcry was such that the Government came back into its senses and backpaddled on its new policy only months after introducing it. As a result of such a short-sighted policy, the economy had virtually grinded to a halt. You really couldn’t make it up.

What can be gleaned from this amusing little story is that the whole property market in Spain pivots on this first step, a NIE number; if you mess with it the property market tumbles like a house of cards which is exactly what happened. Long story short, business is back to usual and National Police Stations now accept representatives applying for NIE numbers using PoA.

  1. What happens if I lose my NIE number certificate?

Nothing much. You can always request a duplicate. As previously mentioned, the number you have been assigned does not change.

  1. What happens if I move and change my address in Spain, do I need a new NIE number?

No. You get to keep the one you were assigned.

  1. What happens if I change my surname?

You must apply for a another NIE number that matches your new surname.

 

Conclusion

If you are interested in buying, working, studying or simply living in Spain, you will need a NIE number.

My advice is that you keep it simple and hire a competent law firm such as ours to sort it out on your behalf for a (very) competitive fee. We will save you time, money, hassle and considerable aggravation under the sun.

 

Article originally published at Spanish Property Insight: Spanish NIE Number Explained.

 

Legal fee: €124 

A NIE Number takes 3 working days through us. *

*As from the time we receive all the requested documents to process your application

Our fees do not include mailing a NIE certificate.

 

Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers, small on fees, big on service.

Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers is a law firm specialized in taxation, inheritance, conveyancing, and litigation. We do NOT answer questions over the phone on NIE Numbers. You can contact us by e-mail at info@larrainnesbitt.com, or by completing our contact form.

 

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Please note the information provided in this article is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice. This article may be posted freely in websites or other social media so long as the author is duly credited. Plagiarizing, whether in whole or in part, this article without crediting the author may result in criminal prosecution. VOV.

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Buying Property in Spain from a Developer (Off-Plan Property)

Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, March, 8. 2017

Solicitor Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt takes us step-by-step through the legal procedure to buy new-build property in Spain from a developer.

By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Director of Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers
8th of March 2017

 

 

 

Introduction

Continuing last month’s topic on Buying Property in Spain from a Private Seller (Resale Property), this month  I provide a general overview on the full legal procedure on buying off-plan property from a developer (also known as new-build). The procedure to buy off-plan differs significantly from buying resale; to the point it warrants its own article as the pitfalls vary meaningfully from one another.

The following article provides a sweeping outline on the buying procedure. If you are looking for concrete advice on a given matter, I highly advise you read my listed articles below which focus on specifics. Just scroll down the page to the bottom section which headline is “Related articles.”

I have simplified the procedure on purpose for ease of comprehension. If you are looking for more detail, I advise reading my article How to Buy Property in Spain Safely which gives an in-depth account of the full buying procedure.

It is strongly advised you read this article in tandem with my article Buying Off-Plan Property in Spain.

 

First Stage: The Reservation Contract

 

Bear in mind that you are paying a deposit on a property which under normal circumstances does not even exist yet and is unlikely to exist until a couple of years’ time. New-builds, unlike their key-ready resale counterparts, have an inherent element of risk associated to them. This risk is mitigated in the knowledge that new-builds are, in general, significantly cheaper than a resale property (on average by 30%). Moreover, as they are new, they are normally built catering to the highest quality standards and employing the most modern materials and know-how. This has a significant impact in insulation, for example, which may in turn impact your Town Hall tax bill by reducing it significantly (read pro-tips below).

After making enquiries and looking around for a property you may have taken a liking to one. Off-plan properties are normally listed by developers or real estate agencies. They will nudge you to sign what is known as a reservation contract (or holding deposit) which strikes the new-build property off the market for a pre-agreed period of time; normally spanning 30 days.

The deposit normally amounts from €3,000 to €6,000 depending on the property. The deposit contract is a succinct document that is normally only one page long. It has very few details, amongst them the developer´s name and company details, the development’s facilities, a general property description and the asking price.

The reservation deposit will be deducted from the final sales price at completion (third stage, see below).

Pro-Tips:

  • It is strongly recommended that you hire an independent conveyance lawyer from the outset (prior to signing a deposit contract). Do NOT hire lawyers recommended by the developer; much less use his own lawyers no matter how reputable (even if free of charge). They are biased and will act only in the developer’s best interests, not your own - you will pay dearly on making this mistake. On following this simple, yet essential, advice buyers stand to sidestep most blunders on buying off-plan property in Spain.
  • You should not pay any deposit unless the developer or estate agency have supplied you first with a copy of an approved Building Licence. The reason is because it could void the bank guarantees securing your stage payments; in plain English, you would lose all your money without any legal recourse. More details in my article Law 20/2015: Important new bank-guarantee legislation explained for offplan buyers.
  • Reservation deposits are normally non-refundable unless expressly stated otherwise.
  • You need to apply for a NIE number (Tax Identification Number for Foreigners). More details in my article: NIE Number Explained.
  • You should open a non-resident bank account.

 

Second Stage: Signing a Private Purchase Contract

 

Before the 30 days are up you will be expected to sign what is known as a Private Purchase Contract (or PPC for short). In Spanish, this is known as Contrato Privado de Compraventa. In English law we know it as Exchange of Contracts. The PPC will be a long legal contract which will list the buyer and seller´s personal details, a full property description, the agreed sales price, the schedule of stage payments, the buying terms and the time frame to complete before a Notary Public.

Your lawyer will have normally already supplied you with a report on title so you are perfectly aware of the legal situation of the property you want to buy before signing the private agreement. This report on title should cover at the very least the following check list:

  • Is the developer creditworthy? Construction track record?
  • Does the developer own the land where the property will be built?
  • Is there a valid Building Licence issued by a town hall?
  • Are there any challenging planning issues overshadowing the development?
  • Is the construction site compliant with Spain’s Coastal Law?

 

Normally on signing a PPC you are expected to make a down payment equivalent to 10% of the purchase price which will be deducted upon completion (stage three). This amount of money is non-refundable.

You will be expected to pay approximately 35% of the final sales price in stage payments. These are deducted at completion (stage three) from what you owe.

 

Pro-Tips:

  • All stage payments (including the initial reservation deposit mentioned in stage one) should be secured by what are known as bank guarantees. I simply cannot stress enough its importance. This document will be handed to you each time you make a stage payment and acts as a safety net on all the interim payments you make until the property is built. This safeguards your money in the event the development is not finished or should the developer file for bankruptcy. Attaining copies of bank guarantees is a top priority for your appointed conveyance lawyer.
  • Remember to store safely a copy of all the stage payments you make into a Spanish bank as they will be required upon completion. You may also need them further on should you instigate legal proceedings.
  • A developer cannot amend the agreed delivery date of a property worded in the PPC without your written authorisation.

 

Una obra maestra entre viñedos | Hotel Marqués de Riscal, Elciego

 Photo credit: Otherworldly Hotel Marqués de Riscal amid vineyards, Valladolid, Spain. By Frank Gehry.

 

Third Stage: Completion

 

One of the particularities of buying offplan property, is that completion normally takes place some two years after signing the PPC (stage two). The reason being is that the property is under construction and you only complete when it is finished.

Completion is the term used to sign the Title Deed which is witnessed by a Notary Public. Additionally, if mortgage finance is required a second deed is signed called a Mortgage Deed. Completion is the time when you pay the balance that you owe, normally 50% of the sales price.

You should read carefully through the deeds before you sign anything. This is particularly true of a Mortgage Deed. Your lawyer should ensure you do not sign abusive mortgage clauses.

If you need a mortgage loan to complete on the property, it is highly advisable you negotiate a reasonable time frame to secure it i.e. 45 to 60 days. This is particularly true if a borrower is non-resident. A borrower requires an Offer in Principle (or Agreement in Principle) from his lender known as Oferta Vinculante in Spanish.

At completion, you take legal possession of the property which is symbolized by being handed over the house keys.

At completion, you may be surprised to find a great number of people:

  1. The developer’s legal representative and his lawyer.
  2. The bank´s representatives (if a mortgage loan is required).
  3. The estate agent (this is the time when they earn their commission)
  4. A translator.
  5. And finally, the Notary himself.

Your lawyer will file and pay the buyer´s taxes and lodge under your name at the Land Registry your new Spanish property.

Congratulations, you are now the official owner of a Spanish property. Enjoy!

Pro-Tips:

  • It is strongly advised you do NOT complete before you are handed with a copy of the Licence of First Occupation (LFO, for short). This document ensures the property is above board (normally). Completing without a LFO has associated a number of key problems:

 

  1. Primarily, you will not be able to take out a mortgage on the property or re-mortgage it – if needed be – by any lender other than the developer’s bank.
  2. You will not be able to benefit from the official utility supplies; only from the developer’s supplies (water and electricity) with all the associated problems this has, namely that you may be cut off at any time as it is the developer who is paying for it and if they go into receivership you will be shut off. Besides, the site supply electricity doesn’t have the same strength and power surges are fairly common on simultaneously turning on various electrical appliances such as air conditioning. Until the LFO is attained, the developer has to pay, by law, for the utility supplies.
  3. Any future prospective purchaser, or their lawyer, will haggle with you and require a steep discount if you lack a LFO. In a resale, the purchasers in turn will undergo the same problems to secure finance by means of a mortgage loan. A lack of a LFO tacitly implies that you are actually reducing the pool of potential purchasers for your resale.
  4. If there are Planning issues, the town hall can set a charge against the property and you, as the new owner of an off-plan and not the developer, may be held liable to pay the fine for the planning illegality.
  5. Needless to say, you cannot (legally) rent a dwelling without a LFO.

 

  • It is strongly recommended you hire a chartered surveyor to carry out a snagging list of the property; this is particularly true of new-build properties. The time to detect and mend all outstanding construction flaws is before you complete at the Notary. Once you complete, you lose your leverage unless your lawyer has practiced a retention. Commissioning a comprehensive snagging report avoids countless problems and is worth every penny in my experience.
  • Failure to secure a mortgage loan in time may result in the loss of the 10% deposit. The developer will always offer a buyer to subrogate himself in his position taking on the developer´s mortgage loan. This may not be always beneficial for a buyer.
  • It goes against a buyer´s best interests to under-declare part of the sales price at completion (besides being illegal). More on why in my article Taxes on Selling Spanish Property.
  • You should immediately replace all the locks of your new property (including storage rooms) as countless people have had access to copies of your home keys during the construction phase. This avoids thefts and break ins during the first months.
  • Request an Energy Performance Certificate from the developer prior to completion. Properties with high energy efficiency ratings qualify for tax rebates of up to 20% on their local Town Hall tax (i.e. IBI tax).

 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/08/Fallingwater_-_DSC05639.JPG/375px-Fallingwater_-_DSC05639.JPG

 

Photo credit: Fallingwater (Kaufmann Residence) by Frank Lloyd Wright.

 

 

Fourth Stage: Post-Completion

 

You should open a Spanish bank account if you haven’t done so already. Utility companies do not accept overseas payments so you should set at least all the following as a direct debit against your Spanish account:

  • Utility bills (invoiced quarterly in the case of water and monthly with electricity).
  • Rubbish collection tax. Paid twice or once a year depending on the town hall.
  • IBI tax. Paid annually (akin to the UK’s Council tax). I strongly urge this tax is set up as a direct debit; failure to pay it may lead the authorities to auction off your property in a procedure which is surprisingly expedient – as in months. Whoever is the owner of a property on the 1st of January of the current year is liable to pay for this tax.

 

Pro-Tips:

  • On owning property in Spain, it is strongly recommended you make a Spanish will. This avoids your heirs a number of problems down the line.
  • You should set as a direct debit utilities and local taxes.
  • On owning property, you should appoint fiscal representation to comply with your annual Non-Resident taxes.
  • If you plan to rent out your property as a private holiday rental some regions have stringent laws on the matter – seek legal advice. Some regions require you to apply for a rental licence or that you register your holiday rental home. Non-compliance may attract humongous fines.
  • IBI tax is not normally available to pay until one or two years after completion. However, you will be expected to pay all the backdated taxes since you completed.

 

Associated Buying Expenses

 

As a rule of thumb purchase costs add 10 – 15% over and above the purchase price. In some regions of Spain, particularly in Valencia, this figure may be higher. Please take thorough legal advice to budget your purchase before you commit. You can read my article Taxes on Buying Spanish Property for more details.

Besides paying taxes (explained below), a buyer is bound to pay the following fees:

  1. Taxes
  • Value Added Tax (IVA, in Spanish): 10%.
  • Stamp Duty (AJD, in Spanish): 0.5% – 1.5%

 

  1. Fees & Charges
  • Notary fees (for the formalization of the deeds): approx. 0.1 – 2 %
  • Land Registry fees (for the inscription of the deeds): approx. 0.1 – 2 %
  • Mortgage & Gestoría fees (if finance is required): 1 – 2 %
  • Lawyer’s fees: 1 – 2 %
  • Estate Agent’s fees: 5 % (these are paid for by the vendor unless agreed otherwise)

 

Pro-Tip:

  • Storage rooms (trastero) and car parks (plaza de garaje) sold individually and legally separate from the main dwelling have a VAT of 21%.

 

Conclusion

Hiring a seasoned lawyer, in my experience, pays for itself on all the money you stand to save on avoiding the most common pitfalls on buying a property in Spain.

Make sure you are assisted on your house-hunting by reputable experts (such as a long-established real estate agency, a reliable mortgage broker or a seasoned lawyer) to benefit most from the wide range of available bargains – you will be spoilt for choice.

It is important you avoid being pressurized into completing; take your time to fully assess the information you are being given and do not hesitate to ask any questions.

And to close, I stress draconianly not to complete without a Licence of First Occupation.

Because impartial legal advice is priceless.

 

Your best work is your expression of yourself.” – Frank Gehry.

Frank Owen Gehry is a Canadian-American architect who won the Pritzker Prize in 1989. He is known for his buildings such as 8 Spruce Street, Dancing House, Port Olímpic, Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the Hotel Marqués de Riscal and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. He built buildings across the United States and across South America.

 

 

Also published at Spanish Property Insight: Buying Property in Spain from a Developer (Off-Plan Property).

 

Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers, small on fees, big on service.

Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers is a law firm specialized in taxation, inheritance, conveyancing, and litigation. Please contact us for a free initial consultation. You can contact us by e-mail at info@larrainnesbitt.com, by telephone on 951 894 675 or by completing our contact form.

 

Legal services Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers can offer you

 

 Related articles

 

 

Please note the information provided in this article is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice. This article may be posted freely in websites or other social media so long as the author is duly credited. Plagiarizing, whether in whole or in part, this article without crediting the author may result in criminal prosecution. VOV.

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Buying Property in Spain from a Private Seller (Resale Property)

Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, February, 21. 2017

Solicitor Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt takes us step-by-step through the legal procedure to buy property in Spain from a private vendor, also known as For Sale By Owner (FSBO).

By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Director of Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers
21st of February 2017

 

 

 

 

Photo credit: Spanish Property Insight

 

Introduction

The purpose of this article is to provide a general overview on the full legal procedure when you buy resale property from a private individual. I leave for another article the procedure to buy property from developers (known as off-plan or new-build property).

The following article provides a sweeping outline on the procedure. If you are looking for concrete advice on a given matter, I highly advise you read my listed articles below which focus on specifics. Just scroll down the page to the bottom section which headline is “Related articles.”

I have simplified the procedure on purpose for ease of comprehension. If you are looking for more detail, I advise reading my article How to Buy Property in Spain Safely which gives an in-depth account of the full buying procedure.

If you are buying rural property, make sure you hire a lawyer before you sign any document! Be advised rural property is a minefield in Spain.

It is strongly advised you read this article in tandem with my article Buying Resale Property in Spain.

 

First Stage: The Reservation Contract

 

After making enquiries and looking around for a resale property you may have taken a liking to one. Properties are normally listed by real estate agencies. The real estate agency that has the property listed in its books will prod you to sign what is known as a reservation contract (or holding deposit) which strikes the property off the market for a pre-agreed period of time; normally spanning 30 days.

The deposit normally amounts from €3,000 to €6,000 depending on the property. The deposit contract is a succinct document that is normally only one page long. It has very few details, amongst them the property and seller´s details and the asking price.

Pro-Tips:

  • It is strongly advised you hire an independent conveyance lawyer from the outset (prior to signing a deposit contract). On following this simple yet essential advice buyers stand to sidestep most blunders on buying property in Spain.
  • Reservation deposits are normally non-refundable unless expressly stated otherwise.
  • You need to apply for a NIE number (Tax Identification Number for Foreigners). More details in my article: NIE Number Explained.
  • You should open a non-resident bank account.
  • An agency´s reservation deposit should at no time list who pays what taxes and set out other conditions. This is agreed by the parties in stage two (Private Purchase Contract).
  • Request an Energy Performance Certificate from the estate agency. Properties with high energy efficiency ratings qualify for tax rebates of up to 20% on their local tax (IBI tax).
  • It is strongly recommended you hire a chartered surveyor to carry out a snagging list of the property; this is particularly true of older properties. If you are buying rural property commissioning a surveyor's report beforehand is simply essential. This will avoid countless problems.

 

Second Stage: Signing a Private Purchase Contract

 

Before the 30 days are up you will be expected to sign what is known as a Private Purchase Contract (or PPC for short). In Spanish, this is known as Contrato Privado de Compraventa. The PPC will be a long legal contract which will list the buyer and seller´s personal details, a full property description, the agreed sales price, the buying terms and the time frame to complete before a Notary Public.

Your lawyer will have normally already supplied you with a report on title so you are perfectly aware of the legal situation of the property you want to buy before signing the private agreement.

Normally on signing a PPC you are expected to make a down payment equivalent to 10% of the purchase price which will be deducted upon completion (stage three). This amount of money is non-refundable. If you need a mortgage loan to complete on the property, it is highly advisable you negotiate a reasonable time frame to secure it i.e. 45 to 60 days. This is particularly true if the borrower is non-resident. A borrower requires an Offer in Principle (or Agreement in Principle) from his lender known as Oferta Vinculante in Spanish.

If movables are being sold along the property it is highly advisable an inventory is added to the PPC. This inventory should be drawn up in great detail to avoid misunderstandings. This inventory will likewise be added to the Title Deed at the Notary Public on completion. It is regarded as a contractual element which binds both parties. If the seller does not include something from within, it will be regarded as a breach of contract. The inventory is normally drafted by the estate agency.

 

Pro-Tips:

  • Failure to secure a mortgage loan in time may result in the loss of the 10% deposit.
  • It movables are being sold along the property, it is crucial the inventory is detailed and accurate. You may even consider adding photographs of the items listed.

 

Third Stage: Completion

 

Completion is the term used to sign the Title Deed which is witnessed by a Notary Public. Additionally, if mortgage finance is required a second deed is signed called a Mortgage Deed.

You should read carefully through the deeds before you sign anything. This is particularly true of a Mortgage Deed. Your lawyer should ensure you do not sign abusive mortgage clauses.

At completion, you take legal possession of the property which is symbolized by being handed over the house keys.

At completion, you may be surprised to find a great number of people:

  1. The seller and/or his lawyer.
  2. The bank representatives (if a mortgage loan is required).
  3. The estate agent (this is the time when he earns his commission)
  4. A translator.
  5. And finally, the Notary himself.

Your lawyer will file and pay the buyer´s taxes and lodge under your name at the Land Registry your new Spanish property.

Congratulations, you are now the official owner of a Spanish property. Enjoy!

Pro-Tips:

  • It goes against a buyer´s best interests to under-declare part of the sales price at completion (besides being illegal). More on why in my article Taxes on Selling Spanish Property.
  • Never agree to a seller staying in the property post-completion even if it’s just for a “short time”. This can create massive legal problems for a buyer which will require a full eviction procedure.

 

 Inline image

 

Fourth Stage: Post-Completion

 

You should open a Spanish bank account if you haven’t done so already. Utility companies do not accept overseas payments so you should set at least all the following as a direct debit against your Spanish account:

  • Utility bills (invoiced quarterly in the case of water and monthly with electricity).
  • Rubbish collection tax. Paid twice or once a year depending on the town hall.
  • IBI tax. Paid annually (akin to the UK’s Council tax). I strongly urge this tax is set up as a direct debit; failure to pay it may lead the authorities to auction off your property in a procedure which is surprisingly expedient – as in months. Whoever is the owner of a property on the 1st of January of the current year is liable to pay for this tax.

 

Pro-Tips:

 

Associated Buying Expenses

 

As a rule of thumb purchase costs add 10 – 15% over and above the purchase price. In some regions of Spain, particularly in Valencia, this figure may be higher. Please take thorough legal advice to budget your purchase before you commit. You can read my article Taxes on Buying Spanish Property for more details.

Besides paying taxes (explained below), a buyer is bound to pay the following fees:

  1. Taxes
  • Property Transfer Tax (or ITP in Spanish) which varies, depending on the Autonomous Community where the property is located, between 7 to 10%.

 

  1. Fees & Charges
  • Notary fees (for the formalization of the deeds): approx. 0.1 – 2 %
  • Land Registry fees (for the inscription of the deeds): approx. 0.1 – 2 %
  • Mortgage & Gestoría fees (if finance is required): 1 – 2 %
  • Lawyer’s fees: 1 – 2 %
  • Estate Agent’s fees: 5 % (these are paid for by the vendor unless agreed otherwise)

 

Conclusion

Hiring a seasoned lawyer, in my experience, pays for itself on all the money you stand to save on avoiding the most common pitfalls on buying a property in Spain.

Make sure you are assisted on your house-hunting by reputable experts (such as a long-established real estate agency, a reliable mortgage broker or a seasoned lawyer) to benefit most from the wide range of available bargains – you will be spoilt for choice.

It is important you avoid being pressurized into completing; take your time to fully assess the information you are being given and do not hesitate to ask any questions.

Because impartial legal advice is priceless.

 

Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.”  Mark Twain.

 

American writer, entrepreneur, publisher and lecturer. Among his novels are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

 

Also published at Spanish Property Insight: Buying Property in Spain from a Private Seller (Resale Property).

 

Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers, small on fees, big on service.

Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers is a law firm specialized in taxation, inheritance, conveyancing, and litigation. We will be very pleased to discuss your matter with you. You can contact us by e-mail at info@larrainnesbitt.com, by telephone on (+34) 952 19 22 88 or by completing our contact form.

Legal services Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers can offer you

 

 Related articles

 

 

Please note the information provided in this article is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice. This article may be posted freely in websites or other social media so long as the author is duly credited. Plagiarizing, whether in whole or in part, this article without crediting the author may result in criminal prosecution. VOV.

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Selling Property in Spain – Ten Reasons to Hire a Lawyer

Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, December, 8. 2016

Although it is not mandatory to sell property in Spain assisted by a lawyer, it is highly advisable that you do; particularly if you are a non-resident. Lawyer Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt takes us through the advantages of having legal representation when you sell a property in Spain.

By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Director of Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers
8th of December 2016

 

 

Introduction

While it is possible to buy or sell a property in some overseas jurisdictions, including Spain, without having to appoint a solicitor, it would be very unwise to do so. If anything, it is even more important to obtain good legal advice when selling overseas as it is highly likely that you will be unfamiliar with many of the key processes.

Broadly speaking, the two key reasons which justify hiring legal representation on selling, besides avoiding payment scams and commission abuses, are tax mitigation and a refund of the 3% of the sales price withheld by a buyer's lawyer (if applicable). These two points are explained further below.

It is often that I hear that those with vested interests in there being no lawyers involved – I wonder why – are arguably the most outspoken advocates that retaining a lawyer on selling is a superfluous expense and always put as an example that Spaniards themselves don’t hire them on selling. “In fact,” they add “your estate agent could handle everything in a jiffy at no extra cost.”

I cannot even begin to explain why this flawed advice is wrong on so many levels. So why take the risk by not obtaining proper legal advice? You can read a blog post on this: 7 reasons on why you need legal representation on selling in Spain.

Only a qualified and registered solicitor (abogado) can give you legal advice in Spain. Beware of intruders posing as lawyers who meddle in conveyancing. The golden rule is to always ask a lawyer in Spain for his registration number (número de colegiado).

Selling Property Avoid Horror Stories

  • Seller sells a property to a cash buyer and is handed over counterfeited banknotes at the Notary Public. No legal recourse is possible.
  • Seller is duped by fellow barroom ‘illuminati’ into thinking ‘under declaring’ is the norm in Spain and accepts a huge wad of cash at the Notary on completion. Immediately after signing over the property vendor gets mugged and he’s left with no house and with no cash.
  • Seller appoints ‘reputable’ estate agency. Unbeknownst to him an unscrupulous agent, on realising there are no lawyers involved, words into the agency contract a sales ‘commission’ of up to 50% (plus VAT) on signing a private purchase contract (exchange of contracts). The buyer pulls out because he is unable to secure finance from a lender to carry on with the purchase and demands a full refund of his deposit. Meanwhile, despite the sale falling through, the agent demands his 50% ‘commission’ as the private purchase contract was indeed signed threatening the vendor with litigation on non-compliance.
  • Seller, after receiving an initial reservation deposit, is cajoled into skipping signing a private purchase contract and jump straight to completion before a Notary Public. This entails a vendor waiving numerous rights and legal safeguards which would have otherwise assured a problem-free transaction.
  • Seller signs away a Power of Attorney to sell his Spanish villa in favour of his expat ‘best pal’ who berates the use of Spanish lawyers (“They sleep siestas, you know?”) and who is a self-proclaimed conveyancing expert (because he bought two rural properties back when General Franco was still alive). His best friend is never seen again – nor the money.
  • Seller grants a Power of Attorney to a ‘golf buddy’ to sign completion on his behalf as his proxy. Years later, the vendor reads some internet article where it is explained that non-resident sellers are lawfully entitled to a full refund of the 5% retention of the sales price withheld by a buyer´s lawyer. Upon further inquiry before the Tax Office it transpires ‘someone’ pocketed the 5% refund.
  • Seller arranges on his own the mandatory Energy Performance Certificate on selling, and is overcharged by several hundred euros.
  • Seller agrees with cutthroat estate agent a trivial sales price because the sales market “is tough”. Conniving agent agrees with buyer a significantly higher price. Unbeknown to both vendor and buyer, the artful dodger pockets the price difference (besides his 5% agent’s commission and the 3% sales refund of the vendor). Not bad for a day’s work, eh?

 

Selling – Ten Reasons to Hire a Lawyer in Spain

 

1. Legal independence. Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers is totally independent.

2. Registered professionals. Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers only employ qualified and registered Abogados. Registered abogados are subject to disciplinary action by the Bar Association so must conduct themselves honourably to continue practising else risk being barred.

3. Professional Indemnity Insurance. Registered lawyers have Professional Indemnity Insurance in place in the event of malpractice or negligence. Currently this cover stands at €800,000 with Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers.

4. No language barrier. All our staff speak and write English fluently, besides other languages. Nothing will be lost in translation!

5. No hidden extras. We will provide you with a written quote so you are sure that there are no unpleasant surprises. We will provide you with a clear breakdown of costs in English, or your chosen language, beforehand.

6. Accountability. We will give you an invoice, statement of all expenses and written advice. Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers will put everything in writing.

7. Transparency. You will receive a written report in English, clearly setting out the terms of the sales contract.

8. Tax mitigation. Our lawyers will endeavour to offset both the associated purchase costs and refurbishment expenses on your property to reduce your tax burden on selling as much as is legally admissible (contingent on the vendor supplying us with the original invoices). More details in our article Taxes on Selling Spanish Property. Additionally, a lawyer will safeguard a seller’s right to negotiate with a buyer the pro rata payment of IBI tax (equivalent to the UKs Council tax). A seller not legally represented will likely be expected to pay this tax in full.

9. Non-residents 3% sales refund (Tax Model 211). As a post-service, our lawyers will apply for a full refund from the Spanish Tax Office (if applicable) which will be credited into your account.

10. Conveyancing can be arranged in your absence. If granting a Power of Attorney, our law firm will ensure you understand what powers you are giving and for how long those powers last. Normally the powers you give your lawyer are on-going unless you expressly revoke them. You should avoid signing off Powers of Attorney to people who dabble in conveyancing and are unqualified to provide legal advice.

 

Conclusion

Hiring a seasoned lawyer, in my experience, pays for itself on all the money you stand to save on avoiding the most common pitfalls on selling a property in Spain.

Because impartial legal advice is priceless.

We offer the most competitive fees in the market.

Conveyancing – Selling from €795

We are specialized in conveyancing.

 

Politicians were mostly people who'd had too little morals and ethics to stay lawyers.”George R.R. Martin.

George Raymond Martin is an American novelist and short-story writer in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres. He is best known for his international bestselling series of epic fantasy novels, A Song of Ice and Fire, which was later adapted into the HBO dramatic series Game of Thrones.

 

Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers, small on fees, big on service.

Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers is a law firm specialized in taxation, inheritance, conveyancing, and litigation. We will be very pleased to discuss your matter with you. You can contact us by e-mail at info@larrainnesbitt.com, by telephone on (+34) 952 19 22 88 or by completing our contact form.

 

Legal services Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers can offer you

 

 Related articles

 

Please note the information provided in this article is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice. This article may be posted freely in websites or other social media so long as the author is duly credited. Plagiarizing, whether in whole or in part, this article without crediting the author may result in criminal prosecution. VOV.

2.016 © Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt. All rights reserved.

 

 

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Buying Property in Spain – Ten Reasons to Hire a Lawyer

Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, November, 8. 2016

Although it is not mandatory to buy property in Spain assisted by a lawyer, it is highly advisable that you do; particularly if you are a non-resident. Lawyer and regular contributor Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt takes us through the advantages of having legal representation when you buy a property in Spain, and introduces the services of his new legal practise in Spain.

By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Director of Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers
8th of November 2016

 

 

Introduction

You would never buy a property in the UK without instructing a solicitor or conveyancer and yet a surprising number of people choose not to instruct a lawyer or legal representative when buying abroad. If anything, it is even more important to obtain good legal advice when buying overseas as it is highly likely that you will be unfamiliar with many of the key processes.

While it is possible to buy a property in some overseas jurisdictions, including Spain, without having to appoint a lawyer, it would be very unwise to do so. Buying a house is one of the biggest investments most people make in their lifetime. So why take the risk by not obtaining proper legal advice?

Only a qualified and registered abogado (solicitor) can give you legal advice in Spain. Beware of intruders posing as lawyers who meddle in conveyancing. The golden rule is to always ask a lawyer in Spain for his registration number (número de colegiado).

Buying Property – Avoid Horror Stories

  • Buyer buys a rural villa which is unregistered, does not have planning permission and is set to be demolished by the Authorities.
  • Buyer buys off-plan property from a developer who is tethering on the verge of bankruptcy. The buyer is mistakenly confident because he has been issued a bank guarantee by the developer’s lawyer purportedly ensuring his stage payments when in fact this guarantee is only legally enforceable as from the moment a developer attains planning permission from a town hall; not a moment before (you can read my article on this). In the event of filing for receivership a buyer would lose all his money despite having a bank guarantee in his possession.
  • Buyer buys from someone pretending to be the owner.
  • Buyer buys a property that is different to the one shown by the vendor.
  • Smug buyer ‘under declares’ part of the sales price because “that is how things are done in Spain”. A year later he is landed with a huge tax bill as a result of the complementaria or bargain-hunter tax.
  • Buyer buys an offplan property without a lawyer thinking the bank will check his title is clean and above board. What the buyer doesn't know is that the property has not attained a Building Licence and all his stage payments are unsecured despite the bank's reassurances to the contrary. This is a consequence of Spain's new Bank Guarantee law. Buyer loses all his money without any legal recourse.
  • Buyer buys property with tenants already inside. They can legally stay until the expiration of their tenancy agreement in accordance with Spain’s Tenancy Act.
  • Buyer buys a property with debts, charges or encumbrances. Whoever is the owner of the property will be held liable for these debts.
  • Buyer buys a luxury frontline beach penthouse and pays full price. Years later, on selling, he is informed by the buyer´s lawyer that following Spain´s Coastal Law the property is not classified as freehold and what he bought is known legally as an 'Administrative concession' or Government leasehold. He will only be offered a fraction of the price he paid for it making a huge loss. More details in my article Proposed Amendments to Spain´s Coastal Law Amnesty.

 

Buying – Ten Reasons to Hire a Lawyer in Spain

 

1. Legal independence. Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers is totally independent. You should avoid using a lawyer recommended by an estate agent and most certainly never use the developer´s own lawyer. If it is gratis, it is for a good reason!

2. Registered professionals. Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers only employ qualified and registered Abogados. Registered abogados are subject to disciplinary action by the Bar Association so must conduct themselves honourably to continue practising else risk being barred.

3. Professional Indemnity Insurance. Registered lawyers have Professional Indemnity Insurance in place in the event of malpractice or negligence. Currently this cover stands at €1,000,000 with Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers.

4. No language barrier. All our staff speak and write English fluently, besides other languages. Nothing will be lost in translation!

5. No hidden extras. We will provide you with a written quote so you are sure that there are no unpleasant surprises. We will provide you with a clear breakdown of costs in English, or your chosen language, beforehand.

6. Free escrow service. Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers keeps a separate client account.

7. Accountability. We will give you an invoice, statement of all expenses and written advice. Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers will put everything in writing.

8. Transparency. You will receive a written report in English, clearly setting out the terms of your contract, with a description of the property you are buying including any community facilities, such as pools, golf course etc.

9. Ongoing communication and post-service. For resale properties, your lawyer will inform you about the description as described in the Nota Simple and Title deeds. Remember; it is your responsibility to check the description of the property carefully with what you have seen and inform us if there are any differences. Some building reforms are undertaken without proper approval (unregistered property extensions) and there is no way for your lawyer to know about this. Which is why we recommend arranging a snagging list beforehand.

10. Conveyancing can be arranged in your absence. If granting a Power of Attorney, our law firm will ensure you understand what powers you are giving and for how long those powers last. Normally the powers you give your lawyer are on-going unless you expressly revoke them.

Conclusion

Hiring a seasoned lawyer, in my experience, pays for itself on all the money you stand to save on avoiding the most common pitfalls.

Because impartial legal advice is priceless.

Conveyancing – Buying from €995

 

 

Managers keep the rules, leaders break them.” Sir Richard Branson.

English business magnate, investor and philanthropist. Founder of the Virgin Group which controls more than 400 companies.

 

Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers, small on fees, big on service.

Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers is a law firm specialized in conveyancing, taxation, litigation and inheritance. We will be very pleased to discuss your matter with you. You can contact us by e-mail at info@larrainnesbitt.com, by telephone on (+34) 952 19 22 88 or by completing our contact form.

 

Legal services Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers can offer you

 

Related articles

 

Please note the information provided in this article is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice. This article may be posted freely in websites or other social media so long as the author is duly credited. Plagiarizing, whether in whole or in part, this article without crediting the author may result in criminal prosecution. VOV.

2.016 © Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt. All rights reserved.

 

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