Conveyancing – BUY SAFE basic guidelines.

BUYING A HOUSE IN SPAIN.

To buy or to sell a house is quite complicated for the average citizen,
especially for the foreigner.

The lack of information, the professional intrusion and other factors may
hinder the Conveyancing business, apparently simple, but with a
huge amount of complexity, specially when it relates to country side properties.

Consequently, we always recommend to seek the help of an independent Lawyer properly registered with the Law Society and experienced, not only in Conveyancing, also in Development Laws.

BUY SAFE!

Once you have identified the house you want to buy and prior to any deposit payment or contract signature, you (or your Conveyancing Lawyer) should check the following;

1. Legallity.
– The property has the First (or second) Ocupation  Licence.
– There are no fine or demolition files opened at the Town Hall
– The house is properly registered at the Catastro.
– The description at the Catastro matches to reality
– The house has definitive electricity and water contracts.

2. Charges.
– The house is registered at the Land Registry.
– The borders described at the Land Registry matches real ones
– The metric measurements for the plot and house at the different Registries match with real ones.
– There are no official notes written in the margin of the Land Registry House Certificate
– There are no encumbrances on the property; mortgages, taxes,etc
– There are no other rights charged to the property; dual ownership, etc.

3. Other issues.
– Local tax IBI and rubbish collection tax are paid.
– Last electricity and water bills are paid.
– If the house is in a compound; neighbours Association fees are paid.
– There are no tenants and the house is in good condition.
– The house is having the Energy Certificate.

Do not ever agree to make any payments in cash if requested to by the seller. What you pay is what should be shown in the deeds.
Please, remember that the price will be increased by approximately 13% to cover transaction tax, Notary and Registry.
If there is a mortgage on the house, the vendor should pay all the mortgage cancellation costs. The Mortgage cancellation deed should be signed always before the purchase-sale deeds.
In case the vendor is a non-resident in Spain then you should hold a 3% of the price in order to pay it to the tax authorities.
Remember that Banks will need at least three (3) working days to prepare the banker drafts or money transfers.
If you are not Spanish then you will need to apply for your Foreigner Identification card (NIE) and to open a Bank account in Spain before you start with the purchase process.

As you can see, process is not as simple as it can be in other countries. Notaries Association recommends to DO NOT pay any deposit and to DO NOT sign any document without proper and independent legal Advice – Our Lawyers can help you.- Contact us.

Connie Raymundo – Lawyer & Barrister at Alicante Solicitors > Raymundo & Hopman.

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Conveyancing – Selling a house; basic guidelines.

SELLING A HOUSE IN SPAIN

Even when someone may tell you that selling property is easier than buying,
we have to inform you that sadly this is a mistake; any failure providing
information to the purchaser or any mistake in the sale business may
end in a Law suit against you to get the contract declared null and void.

Therefore and in the same way we did for the purchase, we recommend you to use a Lawyer(Conveyancing expert when selling a Town House and Land Laws expert Lawyer when selling  a country home) who should be expert in this field, especially if your property is in rustic (agricultural) land. Our Independent Lawyers, experts in both, Conveyancing and Land Laws, will be pleased to help.

Before you even advertise your house for sale, please you have to chek that the Land Registry and Catastro information match with reallity, that way you will avoid further delays and costs.

As a vendor, your obligation is to provide to the purchaser the following documentation;

– Purchase deeds and Land Registry Certificate.
– Your personal identification.
– IBI local tax and rubbish collection bills for the current year.
– Last water, gas and electricity bills (and supplies installation bulletins, if having it).
– If your house is in a compund then, a certificarte from the Administrator proving that you are up to
date with all payments to the neighbours Association
– First (or second) occupancy licence.
– The House Energy Certificate.
– A certificate from the tax authorities informing if you are or you are not a Spanish tax resident.

In the private sale contract you will have to include any legal circumstance(s) that may be affecting the property. This is the key document for the vendor please, ensure it matches with reallity.

For better protection of your interests, we strongly recommend you that purchaser is visiting the house prior to the contracts signature. This visit should be mentioned in the contracts.

In reference to the expenses, you will have to pay the Mortgage cancellation costs at the Bank and at the Notary as well, and, you will have to pay for the local tax applied to the property updated value called (Plusvalia).

Once the house is sold and for the above mentioned Plusvalia payment, you should bring to your SUMA office or to your Town Hall a simple copy of the sale deeds in order to ask for the payment valuation.

In case the local tax (IBI) for the current year was not issued at the time of the sale then the purchaser will hold the money for it as its payment is your obligation.

If you are not a Tax resident in Spain then, the purchaser will also hold a 3% of the sale price in order to pay it to the tax authorities.

And please remember; seller and purchaser should not use the same legal adviser or conveyancing expert.

Connie Raymundo – Lawyer & Barrister at Alicante Solicitors > Raymundo & Hopman.

EXTRA TAX, “complementary settlement check values.”

I want to buy a flat, business premises or garage, and the price is below the value, which the Region Tax Authorities in which it is located give to it. How do I have to notarize it? For the money I actually paid or for the amount the Region authorities say? If notarized or declared for what I am really paying, may the Hacienda (tax authorities) then claim from me to pay more for the property transfer tax?
These and similar questions are to be considered more and more often by those people who want to buy a property today, as is increasingly common, too, that the ministries of finance of the different regions insist the buyer to pay an extra tax to what they have already paid during the purchase settlement, which is called “complementary settlement check values.”
This is because, even though the deed is recorded for the actual price paid for purchase of the housing, the value by the administration of the property is far superior, due to not having revised nor updated downward fluctuations in real estate prices and real market values. That is, there is a clear mismatch between the variable economic reality and static property assessment made by the administration in the best years of real estate boom.
So what happens when the administration says the value is higher than what was actually paid as the price? Two things can be done at this time:
a) Assume the additional assessment declared and pay the amount requested counseling Hacienda of the relevant Region, with interest on late payments.
b) Proceed to appeal the settlement by the statements above, by challenging the administration on values that are not adapted to reality, and this is one reason more weight, among many others, to be argued.
Since the late 80s, early 90s the jurisprudence of both the Supreme Court and the courts of administrative litigation supports the requests of taxpayers in this regard.
Remember that for this you must use all the evidence you have in your favor: the condition of the house, construction works in the house, purchase contract, etc.
If this has happened to you and you do not agree with the assessment made by the Administration, contact us, we can help you.

Email: info@rhv-lawfirm.com or oana@rhv-lawfirm.com.

Oana Dragoi – Lawyer at Alicante Solicitors > Raymundo & Hopman.

How The New Valencia Land Law (Lotup) Regulations Affect Real Estate Owners.

(Summarised article, original was published in the Costa Blanca News Autumn 2015 Supplement).

The new Valencia Land Law (LOTUP) regulations came in force on 20th August 2014, and amalgamated all the old laws relating to land development resulting in thousands of regulation articles being condensed into less than 300. LOTUP is now ordered in three different books; Planning, Development Management and Development Discipline, and these directly affect all land and property owners.
In the Planning book, LOTUP merges the Environment and Development procedures but gives higher importance to the environmental elements which are now top priority, and all development plans need to include landscape integration reports. Planning, included in the first book, may affect the legality and / or configuration of certain properties so it is essential to visit the local Town Hall from time to time to see if any new development plans are being proposed.
The second book, Development Management, includes important regulations for owners of property on agricultural land. Where a property has been built illegally on such land before the law came into force, it offers the possibility of legalising the situation by means of a special initiative called Environment Impact Reduction.
The third book, Development Discipline, is the most controversial and includes the measures that can be taken against illegal building. With the previous Land Law, authorities were able to instigate legal proceedings (i.e. to demand legalisation or if not possible, to order demolition) only within a period of four years after completion of the building work. Now, the LOTUP expands the previous four year term to 15 years. The authorities now have a period of fifteen years during which they can take action against illegal building works, and eventually if legalisation is not possible, to order their demolition.
However, the four year limit still applies to penalty fine proceedings; in other words, whilst new illegal buildings can potentially be demolished for 15 years, penalty fines can only be levied for 4 years.
This third book also includes the regulations covering building licences – one change is that minor building work such as cable installations or maintenance works will no longer need this licence so long as they do not involve enlargement of the property. The licence will be substituted by a responsibility statement at the local Town Hall and an inspection by the authorities.
In any case, before buying real estate or doing any building works, potential purchasers or home owners must visit the local Town Hall in order to ensure that the LOTUP regulations are scrupulously observed. Due to their complexity it would be very easy for a lay person to misinterpret them, so it essential that anyone contemplating business involving property seek guidance from a legal advisor experienced in Land Law – the penalties for non-compliance are strict and severe.
We, as land laws experts, can help you, in case of any doubt or if you are buying or selling a house please, do not hesitate to contact us (info@rhv-lawfirm.com).

Connie Raymundo – Lawyer & Barrister at Alicante Solicitors > Raymundo & Hopman.

Title Deeds in Order.

Last month, I was advising you to update your SUMA, as mentioned, the authorities are investigating 181 cities in the Valencia Region in order to punish with fines to those owners that are not having their SUMA records updated.
As important as to update SUMA is to update your TITLE DEEDS because a copy should be lodged with the SUMA application. This will save lots of time and money to you in the future.
Please, check your deeds and if you have any new item (barbecue, sheds, garage, pool, etc) not included in your deeds then contact us and we will inform you about the Deeds Update process and if convenient, we will be pleased to help you.

Email: info@rhv-lawfirm.com, or, maria@rhv-lawfirm.com.

Maria Navarro – Lawyer & Barrister at Alicante Solicitors > Raymundo & Hopman.

February 2016.

Catastro (SUMA) Revisions. Update your SUMA!

Four Vega Baja Towns (Jacarilla, San Miguel de Salinas, Torrevieja and
Redován), have been recently revised for the Catastro update. Over 2000
infractions were found and denounced in the mentioned Towns due to lack of IBI
payment. This revision not only affects houses, it also involves any other
buildings such as pools, barbecues, etc. Aerial photographs are the tools used to
compare old and brand new constructions.
It is therefore strongly advisable to (get) ensure that your house fits with Catastro
and Land Registry descriptions in order to avoid fines and expensive and time
consuming problems in the near future. Our Law Firm has a large experience in
this field due to our work with the Catral, Orihuela and other Towns legalisation
cases and we would be more than happy to resolve any question you may have
in this regard.

Maria Navarro – Lawyer & Barrister at Alicante Solicitors > Raymundo & Hopman.

New-Build Homes: Defects & Purchaser’s Rights.

By Connie Raymundo
(Article published in Costa Blanca News Dec 4th, 2015)
New-build homes appeal to many people for a variety of reasons but
houses, even brand new houses, are not always perfect; faults or
defects may sometimes appear after the purchase.
The Building Law (LOE) provides three different guarantee periods of 1, 3, or 10
years during which the purchaser will be able to complain and seek redress,
depending on the magnitude of the defect:
Ten years: this is the guarantee period when the stability or structural integrity of
the building itself is in jeopardy. This category includes all defects affecting the
main structure and fabric of the house including foundations, supporting walls
and beams etc.
Three years: this guarantee period applies when, because of faults or defects,
the house does not meet habitation requirements with regards to hygiene, health,
environmental protection, noise or thermal isolation energy saving and so on.
One year: this is the guarantee period for minor items such as cosmetic defects
in wall surfaces and painted finishes, marks and scratches on fittings etc.
However, it is essential to realise that different to these guarantee periods is the
limited time available to take legal action. House Defects action expires after
two years from the time when the defects first appeared and/or became known
by the purchaser. Under the provisions of this action Builders, any Agents
involved, as well as the Architects, can all be sued.
3
In reality though, two years usually proves to be too short a time to sue and
because of this, it has been quite usual for purchasers of new homes to use the
Breach of Contract court action against the builder or promoter (this action goes
only against those parties whose signatures appear on the contracts) because
it’s time limit was 15 years.
However, the section of the Civil Law that specified this 15 year time limit has recently been changed; the new Law 42/15, approved on 7th October, has
reduced the time limit from 15 years to only 5 years.
This new rule is clearly a setback for purchasers of new homes as it considerably
reduces their options for seeking legal redress through the courts.
Also be aware that this new 5 year deadline for court actions does not only apply
to Breach of Contract suits, it also applies to all personal actions; so anyone
having a legal problem can no longer afford to ‘’wait around’’ delay before
contacting an independent and specialised lawyer.
The Building Law (LOE) guarantee periods of 1, 3 and 10 years apply only to
new-build homes, so we will be looking at the rights of purchasers of previously
owned houses in our next article.
Lawyers at Raymundo & Hopman are specialised in these House Defects and
Breach of Contract actions, and will be pleased to study any case and to produce
a preliminary legal report about any purchaser’s possibilities of success free of
charge.
Connie Raymundo – Lawyer and Barrister at Alicante Solicitors > Raymundo & Hopman. Reg. nº ICALI 5936.