The (non) importance of a Spanish Title deed

Raymundo LarraĆ­n Nesbitt, September, 21. 2019

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By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Lawyer - Abogado
21st September 2019


I was talking the other idea with some clients and the conversation left me reeling; it made me realize the importance of a common mistake foreigners make, particularly British. A simple honest mistake that can lead you to lose your house.

It turns out a family member had not paid for several years the Community of Owners nor the local taxes to the town hall (IBI tax) where the property was located. They requested from us a nota simple. The nota simple revealed they had two legal embargoes against the property and that two property proceedings were under way to impound it.

I talked with my clients letting them know it was imperative they cleared up the arrears or else they risked losing the property ownership to their creditors. Their smug reply stunned me. They told me not to worry, as the property transfer was not possible so long as they held the original Title deed stored in a safe in England! I was gobsmacked.

Frankly, I did not even know where to begin to explain how wrong they were. It would seem some friendly agent told them a load of tosh. This poppycock will lead them to lose their house.

This small anecdote paved the way for this short blog post explaining that an original Title deed in Spain is in truth not that important, unlike in other countries in which transfer of ownership is not possible without it.

Personally, I much prefer using original Title deeds in conveyancing because they have all the useful seals and extra information from the tax office and from the Land Registry. However, in Spain if your original property deed gets lost, burnt or vandalized by a toddler it really bears no importance. You can always request a simple copy or else an authorized copy from the Notary before which it was signed. If you do not have the Notary details, or have forgotten them, they are always available in the nota simple, which can easily be requested from us in under 24 hours.

Back to my original story, it goes without saying that a creditor pursuing a loan in Spain against a property can take lawful possession of it through the law courts without having access to the ‘original’ Title deed. Anyone telling you the opposite, doesn't know what they are talking about.


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