Spanish senate prepares to reject amendment to protect consumers who purchaser a property in good in good faith
As Spain gears up for an influx of foreign visitors, many of whom succumb to the temptation to buy their dream home in the sun, the home owner’s campaign groups, AUAN and SOHA, reveal that, in the session of the Spanish Senate Justice Commission of 5th May 2015, the ruling PP party voted against all of the amendments proposed by the other parliamentary groups, including amendment number 124 of the PSOE and number 50 of the parliamentary group Entesa pel Progrés de Catalunya presented to protect third party purchasers in good faith who rely on the accuracy of the Spanish Land Registry. The proposed change is in line with recent changes to the Criminal Code, which came about after a long campaign by the associations, made up of mainly British expats.
The associations complain that unless there is a change of heart prior to the Senate Vote, which takes place in the next few days, an opportunity will be lost to give more legal certainty to the Spanish property market.
AUAN and SOHA and the rest of the associations that support this change believe that a person who buys a house, be they Spanish or foreign, has the right to rely on what the Land Registry says. However, according to these associations, the Registry can show a house that is registered without evidence of any problem, and in spite of this the house can be illegal and can even be subject to a demolition order – there have already been cases of this, they say. The associations consider that the Register fails to meet it social and legal function if this change is not approved.
They point out that the web page of the Property Register states under the heading ‘Legal Security of the Spanish Property Register’ that:
The Spanish Registry System is, without doubt, classifiable as one of the safest in the world. It is a Register of rights. The registered rights are protected by the courts, to such an extent that nobody can be deprived of those rights if there is not in contradictory court proceedings to which the registered title holder is a party. In addition, the law attributes a series of legal presumptions to the inscribed rights, the maximum effect of which is the principle of public trust in the registry. The Principle of Disclosure, in case of conflict between reality and the Registry invests certainty in the registry… That not inscribed does not affect the reliability of the registry content….. Presumption ‘iuris tantum’ that what is published in the Register is exact and complete.
In short, if the following conditions are fulfilled: – The titleholder is inscribed – the transfer has a value – The purchaser is unaware of any conditions that discredit the Register (good faith is presumed) – The purchase is inscribed; this results in the legal effect that the new title holder is totally protected by the Spanish registry system’.
The associations complain that, regrettably, this is not exactly true when it comes to illegal houses and that the law must be change to protect third parties who rely on the accuracy of the Register. They consider that these uncertainties must be eradicated as soon as possible because they believe that it affects the image of Spain and investment in property, in addition to the negative effect it has on the rights of the people.
They say that many associations of those affected, AUAN,SOHA, CALU, AMA, FUAN as well as other groups that have expressed their support, continue to have confidence in the good sense of the political groups on this issue and call on all parties to approve this amendment after all.
By the AUAN.