We handle a great deal of International work, much of it involving Spain and the Canary Islands. A frequent requirement, given the vagaries of the Spanish Legal system, will be identifying land and real estate assets.
Tracing property owned by individuals
It may be that you know a person's name, or company name, but cannot identify whether they own properties in Spanish jurisdiction. We will conduct searches by either person or company in a particular municipality, in a province, or in the whole Spanish jurisdiction. Once the properties have been identified, a Nota Simple can be obtained, or if required, more comprehensive information
Our thanks for this article to Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, Lawyer – Abogado - see contact details at foot of text
Original article: Nota Simple Explained
A Nota Simple is a short legal report of the property (garage, dwelling, store room etc.) In English the Nota Simple is called a Property Registry Filing
The document is likely to contain information on:
The current owner(s)
Type of ownership
General description of the property i.e. number of bedrooms, kitchen, living room, etc.
Total built square metres and percentage of communal areas.
Common hold quota and its share
Boundaries of the property
Any charges, debts, easements or encumbrances that limit the use of the property i.e. mortgages, rights of way, rights of view, unpaid council tax, community debts, private debts, embargo pending legal resolutions, usufruct right, foreclosure procedures etc.
Classification of property i.e. residential, agricultural, VPO (‘Vivienda de Protecccion Oficial’; social housing)
If there is a mortgage against the property it will have an overview of the basic details: total amount owed, total number of years to repay it, number of monthly instalments, outstanding debt, applicable interest rate, default interest rate, full mortgage liability etc.
Sometimes (but not always) the Cadastral reference
The information is not always strictly accurate. Boundaries, particularly for rural property, are hazy at best as the boundaries are described subject to the names of neighbours who may be long dead. Also the description of the property may be completely inaccurate. For example, if the owner has undertaken works to refurbish the property or made extensions to it these will obviously not be recorded
For example, in the case of rural property, many owners took advantage of a legal loophole and using a licence for ‘aperos’ (rural shed tool hut) built instead a luxury villa with swimming pool. The property’s description will remain as the original agricultural land with an orange grove with a small tool hut of 10 square metres. If this owner plans to sell on the property without having updated the details the buyer will have trouble on seeking finance from a lender. The lender will only see rural land while in reality there may be a 2mn euros property sitting on the land. The lender will only lend a small percentage of the value based on what it deems the rural land to be worth which will be considerably less. The seller will be forced to update the details if he wants to sell.
The Nota Simple is like taking a legal photograph of a property at a certain moment. It’s accurate at that time but may change over time. If you request a Nota Simple one week and the following week a charge is placed against it this will obviously not appear in the Nota Simple - a property has a dynamic legal status which is subject to change over time. The Nota Simple takes a still picture of the legal status at a given moment only.
Note that a Nota Simple is a non-certified document only suitable for general information purposes. A Nota Simple has no legal validity as proof. If there are any errors in it no one is held liable.
If you require a legally accepted binding document you have to obtain the more expensive ‘certificación registral’ signed and sealed by the Land Registrar himself which is ’authentic’ (it is a public document) and can be used in any legal proceeding. If there are any errors in it the Land Registrar is held personally liable and will have to pay compensation to the affected person out of his professional indemnity insurance cover.
A Certificación Registral is a wider extract of the entries concerning the property or right(s) and so it can fill several pages. It is always signed by the land register responsible for the information. It is used as evidence before the courts
Land Registry in Spain - Registradores de España
The Land Registry of Spain comprises 1,086 Land Registry offices spread over the country The Colegio de Registradores is also responsible for 67 Commerce Registry offices
For a reliable legal contact in Spain for property matters we recommend Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt of Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers
Private Detectives working in Spain in all types of Investigation, with a fluent Spanish National and bilingual Detectives