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The Spanish Lawyer Online
The Spanish Lawyer Online

Antonio Flores’ Blog

Thoughts about laws and regulations which affect foreigners in Spain


Posts Tagged ‘Property Spain’

Want to Succeed in Selling Property in Spain? Measure Up!

June 17th, 2016

With the Costa del Sol property market on the rebound, many owners have now chosen to maximize the return on their bricks and mortar investments and are actively listing their properties with –literally- hundreds of new (and old) real estate agencies.shutterstock_282672608

The sequence is pretty well known: an owner approaches a real estate agency who, upon basic verification of the property paperwork, lists the property for a convened asking price.

Unfortunately but predictably, the long list of requirements set out in the famous Decree 218/2005 (necessary to put a property up for sale) is rarely met. Generally though, the information provided tends to satisfy all parties and safeguards agencies in case of unwanted inspectors turning up.

But what the Decree 218/2005 did not envisage is how to deal properties that are partly or insufficiently recorded with the land registry, a legal contingency that’s causing many deals to collapse where searches reveal those discrepancies.

In our experience, we have noted that many proprietors of detached dwellings, and occasionally town houses and semidetached units, actually own more square meters than they officially declare. In other words, there is an excess of built area which may not always be legal.

This may be due to unregistered extensions, guest houses, conservatories, porches, barbecues, terraces, walls, basements or pools, all of which have to be `normalized´ if one wishes to avoid losing a potential sale.

Currently, there are two possible scenarios: that the excess built area complies with existing regulations or that it does not. To find out, we always suggest hiring an architect or surveyor to measure up the property and compare it with the legal documentation and applicable laws and regulations. This way a vendor will be able to rectify potential inconsistencies that buyers will –nowadays- invariably detect, and object to, when carrying out searches.

Legalizing those improvements, extensions or alterations is then a matter of local laws and passing of time. If they conform to local (at times regional) laws, a retrospective planning application will suffice. But if they don’t and yet 6 years have passed since the erection of the offending construction, statute of limitations will make it immune to legal action, under certain circumstances.

The latter is case is known as they AFO (Asimilado a Fuera de Ordenacion), which is a legal term to designate those properties that while illegal, are tolerated by the Government because you can…legalize them.

More on AFO on our next column!

Property , , , ,

Real Estate Agents in Spain: Who Gets The Commission?

June 5th, 2015

Real Estate Agents (REA) in Spain have long thought that if they register a client with a property owner or developer (irrespective of whether they show them the property), they have an automatic right to receive a commission when the property sells; although it may come as a shock to many, this is not the case, according to specific case law on the matter. The following rulings explain this:

Appeal Court in Oviedo (22/2/1996):

Only the broker that has effectively concluded the contract between buyer and seller is entitled to retribution, rejecting “equitable remedies” to the broker who, having intervened in some capacity in the contract has nonetheless failed to close an agreement. 

Appeal Court in Oviedo (27/2/1998):

The elucidation of who is entitled to the commission where several REAs intervene is not an easy one for, although several REAs may have ostensibly taken part in the negotiations, it is only the REA whose actions were decisive to perform the instruction who will be entitled to a commission payment.

In a transaction where the principal has hired several REAs, it is not always easy to establish which are those specific actions, as carried out by each REA independently, which produce the desired result of successfully closing the deal. The Court is of the opinion that where this situation occurs, it is a question of fact whether a specific REA action was decisive in securing the closing of the deal, in other words, the causation of the exchange of contracts between buyer and seller even if, in practice, coexisting actions or other particular factors of other REAs could have helped achieve the result.

Supreme Court (23/2/1965):

Where several independent brokers concur with each other in a transaction, remuneration will have to be paid to the one whose action(s) was a cause, even if not exclusive, of the success of the intermediation, i.e. the exchange of contracts. Not upholding this view risks transmuting the very nature of a brokerage into a type of services contract where remuneration would be paid irrespective of the result of the conclusion of a sale, thus depriving brokerage agreements from the risk-of-failure element that is inherent to any aleatory contract.

This conclusion is even shared by international case law (Webranchek v LK Jacobs & co Ltd.):

Where a property is listed with several agents and they compete in trying to conclude a sale by the principal to a particular third party, it is not necessarily the agent who first introduces the purchaser who is entitled to remuneration but the agent who is the effective cause of the transaction being completed.

The most immediate consequence of the application of this case law is that the commonly known action of “registering a client”, on its own, does not entitle the agency to receive a commission. On the contrary, a REA needs to prove that its endeavours have materialized, specifically, in the exchange of a purchase sale agreement (of whichever description).

Legal Practise , , , ,

Morocco Government says: Buying Property in Spain Illegal Without Authorisation

November 27th, 2012

Morocco’s Exchange Control Office has issued a statement warning citizens of this country against buying property in Spain; according to them, you can only buy property in Spain if you have a special permit issued by the Government in Rabat, and that buying without the said safe-conduct is a matter for the Criminal Courts.

We have some questions for the Office des Changes:

  • Have you made a search on the public Spanish Land Registry website to know who has, and hasn’t, property in Spain?
  • Do you have enough space in your prisons to accommodate the tens of thousands of Morrocan families that have a second home in Spain?
  • Does this law also apply to the  hundreds of Morocco’s Government officials who have traditionally acquired real estate on the Costa del Sol, inclusive of Government ministers?Is this law real, or is just a way to make prospective purchasers uncomfortable with what is verifiable reality?
  • Are you going to ask the Spanish Government to request that investors produce the permit, as a prerequisite for buying,

And there is a question I personally have: has anyone ever seen this permit? 

Immigration , , ,