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We want to buy a property which is not registered. How can it affect us?

Property Law

Antonio Flores Vila

3rd of January 2002

Q. We are buying a property that was built in 1958. The vendor has been the only owner and the property has never been registered with land registry. How will this affect our purchase? Who is responsible to organise the registration of the property? How long could this take with regards to affecting the completion of sale? Thanks for any advice you can offer.

Michelle Sandilands

    A. If you are buying a property built in 1958 with the knowledge that it is not registered, it is then the buyer´s obligation to procure registration of it. The length of the registration procedure will depend on what documentation on the property is available, as depending on whether the property is registered in the Town Hall (Catastro or a similar registry) or not, you will have to opt for different procedures.

    Find out with the aid of your lawyer what documentation is available on the property, and more important, make sure that the person purporting to be owner is genuine, as it is far easier to pretend to be the owner of a property that appears nowhere than cheat on a fully registered property where a full ownership check can be made.

    In addittion to this, bear in mind that one of the registration procedures is done through the court, and there is a likelihood that the judge rejects the registration of the property for not being fully convinced of the facts which are submitted to prove ownership.

    In my opinion, the proposed transaction has to be subject to the appropriate searches and the fact that the land was never registered should have a reflection on the price.

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