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The Spanish Lawyer Online

How can two people buy property in joint ownership and be protected?

Property Law

Antonio Flores Vila

10th of September 2001

Q. If 2 people from the Uk buy a home in Spain for permanent residence, what is the legal situation if they are not married. Can the house be bought in joint names, with the one share going to the other on death? How can both partners be protected?

Carolyn Inglis

    A. Two people from the UK, without any relationship, can buy a house in joint ownership and if they wish, leave their share to one another, on death, by means of a Spanish will. This is particularly possible with UK citizens as their law allows freedom of disposition of assets after death.

    The legal situation of the two joint owners is regulated by the Spanish Civil Code, in the Community of goods section. Perhaps the most interesting provision there, other than the normal decision making process of the business partners in the property, is that the law allows for them to agree, on purchasing the property, that within a given period none of them will initiate proceedings to sell the house if they fall out.

    The law says that a coproprietor is not obliged to remain in joint ownership unless there is an agreement to the contrary, thus any co-proprietor can initiate a court proceeding to put the property up for public auction. The agreement period cannot exceed 10 years. This agreement will protect both.

    The process of purchasing is complex for the foreigner but simple for the solicitor.

    If you need more help do not hesitate to contact us.

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