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My parents bought a house seven years ago, and they are now being told that there is a debt attached to the property. What course of action do you recommend?

Property Law

Antonio Flores Vila

19th of June 2002

Q. Due to ill health, my mother and step father are currently selling their property in Spain. They bought the apartment around seven years ago.

They have been advised by their agent that the register records that a mortgage was not discharged on the property at the time of purchase and that they are liable for the debt, which is significant. They have been in contact with the Bank, who do not have any record of an outstanding debt. There may be other details that I am not aware of, but I understood that all mortgages must be discharged. I am concerned that they may be being taken advantage of , what action would you recommend?

Kevin H.

    A. Dear Mr. Hubbard,

    Although I do want to sound too repetitive, it is advisable you engage the services of a solicitor to find out the exact situation of the property at this point in time. The agent may well be telling the truth, but as agents are not regulated and do not have standard procedural rules, it is advisable that independence is sought, especially in these situations where elderly people are involved. If what the agent says (that there is a mortgage registered against the property which had not been cancelled at the time of purchasing) is true, your parents would by now not have a property. It would have been sold at auction.

    It could however happen that a previous mortgage loan which had been financially cancelled has not been taken to the land registry to have it discharged. It is then simply a case of asking the bank to fix a date at a Notary Public to have it cancelled, and then take the document to the Land registry to clear the title of your parents┬┤ property The first thing your representative should therefore do is to apply for a land registry certificate to find out whether any charge is still registered, and act accordingly. Yours sincerely

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