Spanish Senate rejects homeowners bid to improve the reliability of the Land Registry

Land Registry still not obliged to record existence of planning irregularities or demolition orders

Homeowners associations from across Spain failed in their bid to persuade the Spanish Senate to vote in favour of an amendment to the law regulating the Land Registry aimed at protecting buyers who purchase a house with a clean bill of health from a Land Registry Search (Nota Simple) only to find that the property has planning issues or even a demolition order.

‘I think that we have lost a great opportunity to provide more legal security to those buying a house in Spain’ said Maura Hillen from  AUAN, one of the two British groups who went to the Senate on 27th May in a last ditch effort to persuade Senators from the majority party, the Partido Popular, to support the amendment. ‘Given that all parties seem to agree on the necessity for this change it is difficult to explain why the change didn’t happen’ she said.

The amendment was submitted by the Socialist Senator, Fuensanta Coves from Andalucía, with the backing of her party, the PSOE. It was supported by 63 Senators from the Socialist group in the Senate but was defeated when 149 Senators from the ruling PP party voted against the change.

Gerardo Vazquez, the spokesperson for the second British group, SOHA, said ‘We believe that at least we ensured that these issues are being debated at the highest levels and that the Senate is now aware of the existence of these social issues. As a result we are sure that sooner or later these problems will be resolved. We of course hope that it will be sooner’.

Antonio Vilela, from the Spanish association, AMA, added ‘The PP agree that changes are required, but indicated that due to lack of time and other issues it couldn’t be done in this Plenary session. They have invited us to submit our all our proposals so that they can consideration for incorporation with other legislative changes in subsequent Senate Plenaries.’

In response to this the associations have declared their intention to submit their initiatives to all political parties next week. In particular they will focus on a proposed change to the Contentious Administrative Law to guarantee prior compensation to purchasers in good faith should their property be demolished via the Administrative Courts.

In reference to the proposed change to the Land Registry legislation Mrs. Hillen concluded, ‘We may have lost that particular battle but we plan to move on to the next proposal and will submit our next initiative to all political parties next week. We won’t give up because we have right on our side and we are not asking for the earth, just common sense measures that benefit everyone’.

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