It is almost never clear to buyers what the consequences are of missing or invalid documents.

Some consequences come to light years later due to incorrect advice or witholding information.

Be sure not tempted by unlawful licenses and permits, because they have no value, and if discovered, it makes your position weaker and moreover it is a criminal offense!

Due to the complexity of the matter, it is advisable to buy safely using the IGP inspection as a resolute condition!

Checklist

1. Check whether the seller is the rightful owner and entitled to sell

– Check this out at Registro de Propiedad
– The owner in Registro can be the rightful owner, but…

  • It is possible that the rightful owner is not registered in Registro de propiedad because of a private contract
  • It is possible that the owner has died and the heirs did not arrange paperwork yet, mostly because of tax issues or benefits

2. Do not only check the existence of a Cédula de Habitalidad, but even more important its validity!

A property without a (valid) Cédula, according to law, cannot be used for living, and for that reason is illegal!

  1. Check the expiration date (must be renewed every 10 years)
  2. The property never had a Cédula but can be applied for (must be investigated)
  3. Is it still valid? It may not if there is or has been:
  • renovation without required licences
  • any illegal construction (pool, annexes, etc)
  • an open file at the municipality

The chain reaction of a missing or invalid Cédula!

  • Loosing the Cédula
  • Not be able to obtain licences for renovation
  • Facing a sanctioning process that can lead to possible fines or even the demolition order.
  • Not being able to request a license for long-term or vacation rental or lose it! Please note that renting without a license incurs an infraction with high penalties.
  • In case of developing a commercial activity (hotel, agrotourism, bed and breakfast, shop, bar, etc.) it would no longer be legal, with its consequences, for example, with claims to insurers in case of an accident or damage, the loss of activity license and therefore the closing order, etc. Accidents in particular are an irresponsible and not to be underestimated risk factor, since you can be held liable!
  • The property is no longer insured
  • Financing problems
  • Problems with selling in the future
  • Strong effect on the value of the property

3. Check that there are no illegal works
Verify at the town hall if there is no urban infraction file. However, this does not mean that there are no irregularities since it is possible that the town hall is unaware of the execution of any work without authorization. It is very important that an urban planning technician (specialized architect) verify on the spot that the current state of the property corresponds to the registration reality, assess the situation and determine the existence of risk and possible solutions.

4. Check whether all taxes have been paid!
A gestor can request and check all information for you. You must know that some unpaid taxes and fines are transferred to the property, in other words the (new) owner.

5. Check whether there is no discrepancy between cadastre, Registro de Propiedad and the actual situation
Cadastre, Registro and the actual situation almost never match. Unfortunately, due to the administrative uncertainty, neither of these two authorities can be assumed to offer correct information. This requires special attention carried out by a specialized architect (urbanismo).

6. Check whether a property can be insured!
Nobody wants a property that cannot be insured. For coverage (payment in case of damage) of the insurance it is important to have all documents, licenses and installations up to date. You must be able to submit at least the following documents in the event of a claim:

  • Valid Cédula de habitabilidad (see pt. 2)
  • Valid Fin de obra
  • Valid certificate for electricity, gas and water installation from an authorized plumber, as well as consecutive revisions
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