Legal Terms Explained
 

Buying a Property in Spain - Glossary of Legal Terms

When buying a property in Spain you will come across a lot of new legal terms. This glossary will help explain them.

A

ABOGADO: Lawyer, solicitor, barrister, counsel, attorney

ACTA: minutes, transcript,

ACTA NOTARIAL : Notary´s deed/certificate. Document as a base for inscription of the given property into the land register.

ACTA DE NOTORIEDAD: procedures for registration in land register if the basic principle of the continuous registration was interrupted.

AFECCIONES REGISTRALES: charges against the property in the register.

AGRUPACION: putting together plots of land.

ALTA CATASTRAL: office of district valuer

ARRAS: secured deposit - if an ‘arras' is arranged, the reservation agreement is drawn up in a way that the purchaser recognizes to lose the deposit or the seller pays back double of the amount if either fails to complete the deal.

ARRENDAMIENTO DE OBRA: contract for work and labour e.g. a contract for construction with a builder

ASIENTO DE PRESENTACION: Note of conveyance providing protection for the purchaser for a certain period of time against further registrations

 

B

BOLETIN DE ENGANCHE: certificate of the correct installation of the electrical wiring – a precondition for getting access to electrical power.

C

CANCELACION: note of cancellation for charges against the property in the land register

CERTIFICACION: certification

CERTIFICADO BANCARIO DE DEVISAS: Certificate of the bank that the price of purchase was paid with money of known provenance (required as part of money laundering legislation)

CERTIFICADO FINAL DE OBRA: The architect's certificate that the construction had been finished in compliance with building regulations

CODIGO CIVIL: civil law

COLEGIO OFICIAL DE ARQUITECTOS: College of Architects (Official Body)

COMMUNIDAD DE PROPIETARIOS: Community of Property Owners, which manages the estate, building or development. A new owner becomes a member of the owners' community when he buys

CONDICION RESOLUTORIA: action of cancellation of a clause or condition under so that an intended judicial process does not take place

CONDICION SUSPENSIVA: suspense condition under which a judicial process only occurs if certain other circumstances and assumptions become real

CONTRATO DE ARRENDAMIENTO: contract for rental.

CONTRATO DE OPCION: contract of option by which someone obtains the right to purchase acertain estate or property paying 10% of the property price.

COPROPIETARIO: part owner of a property within a community or joint owner of a house or land.

CUOTA: Percentage that the owner has in a community or jointly owned property.

 

D

 

DECLARACION DE OBRA NUEVA: Formal notarised declaration of new building works.

DELEGACION DE URBANISMO: District Surveyor's Office – this grants building permits

DEMARCACION DE COSTAS: Department for Coastal Protection - ensures compliance with coastal environmental and protection rules

DERECHO DE RETENCION: Right of retention. The right of a party to a contract to retain contributions lest the other party to a contract defaults

DERECHO DE SUPERFICIE:

DIVISION: Claim to divide jointly/community owned property

 

E

EDIFICABILIDAD MAXIMA: maximum floor area that can be built over all levels

EMBARGO:

ESCRITURA: Title Deeds:

       Escritura de Compraventa - This document is signed by the Notary and shows that you are          purchasing the property.
       Escritura Publica - This is the official document which shows that you are the legal owner,     

       taking a few months after the contract signing to be sent to you.

F

FIANZA: Deposit, security

FINCA: Property, plot of land

FINCA REGISTRAL: Registered property or land

 

H

HACIENDA PUBLICA: Tax Office

HIPOTECA: Mortgage

 

I

I.B.I (IMPUESTO SOBRE BIENES IMMUEBLES): Council tax or rates

IMPUESTO DE ACTOS JURIDICOS DOCUMENTADOS: Stamp duty (approximately 1 % of the purchase price)

IMPUESTO DE TRANSMISIONES PATRIMONIALES: Transfer tax on real estate (6% of the amount declared) in the "escritura"

IMPUESTO SOBRE CONSTRUCCIONES, INSTALACIONES Y OBRAS: Local tax for building works

IMPUESTO SOBRE EL PATRIMONIO/PLUSVALIA: Local tax on capital gain of real estate

IMPUESTO DE SOCIEDADES: Corporation tax, corporate income tax.

IMPUESTO SOBRE SUCESIONES Y DONACIONES: death duty, inheritance tax and gift/donation tax

IMPUESTOS MUNICIPALES: Local taxes

IMPUESTO SOBRE EL VALOR AÑADIDO (IVA): Value Added Tax (VAT) - normally 16%

IMPUESTO SOBRE LA RENTA A PERSONAS FISICAS (IRPF): Income tax

INSTITUCION DE HEREDERO: insertion of one or several heirs

 

L

LEY DE ARRENDAMIENTOS URBANOS: Rental law – NB seasonal contracts in Spanish holiday areas are not subject to general law

LEY DE LA PROPIEDAD HORIZONTAL: Law relative to ‘Communidades' – NB this law rules apartments, groups of houses and complete urbanisations

LEY DE SUELO: Ground law

LICENCIA DE OBRAS: Building permission

 

N

NIE (NUMERO PERSONAL DE INDENTIFICACION DE EXTRANJERO): ID number for non- residents

NIF (NUMERO DE INDENTIFICACION FISCAL): ID number for residents

NOTA SIMPLE INFORMATIVA: Extract from the land register with main points from the land registry

NOTARIO - A state appointed official who notarises public documents such as marriage, divorce and house purchase. He/she is only there to make sure that a contract is legally correct. The notary does not have either parties' interests in mind, only the legitimacy of the documents  

 

O/P

OBLIGACION PERSONAL: Unlimited tax obligations for residents

OBLIGACION REAL: Limited tax obligations for non-residents

OCUPACION MAXIMA: Maximum permitted roofed area

PARCELA: Plot

PERITO: Valuer or assessor

PERMISO DE OBRA NUEVA O DE CONSTRUCCION: Building licence/permit

PLAN PARCIAL: Development plan of a

PLANTA: Floor e.g. Planta Baja = Ground Floor

PLUSVALIA: Capital Gains Tax

POSESION: Possession

PRECIO: Purchase price

PROCURADOR: Representative of a party at court in addition to the lawyer (similar to a barrister)

PROMOTOR: Developer

PROPIEDAD: Property

PROPIETARIO: Owner

PROTOCOLIZACION: certification of a foreign document or certificate by a Spanish notary

PROYECTO DE EJECUCION DE OBRA: Plans for a project before receiving the building licence

R/S

REFERENCIA CATASTRAL - Land Registry document relating to the property location.

RECEPION DEFINITIVA: Final acceptance of the construction

REGISTRO DE LA PROPIEDAD: Land Register

S.A. (SOCIEDAD ANONIMA): PLC

S.L. (SOCIEDAD LIMITADA): LTD

SANEAMIENTO: Sanitation

SEGREGACION: Separation of a part of the property

SEPARACION A LINDEROS: Minimum distance of a building to the neighbouring property

SERVIDUMBRE DE TRANSITO: Right of Way (if there is no direct public access to the the property)

SOLAR: Building plot

SUELO NO URBANIZABLE: Green areas or natural reserves that cannot be built on

SUELO URBANIZABLE: Areas which may be built

SUELO URBANO: Urban area

 

T

TASA: Local tax for receiving the building permit

TOMA DE POSESION: Handing-over the keys

TRASPASO: Transfer of rental or lease contracts.

U

U.T.M. : Number of a plot at the District Valuer's Office

URBANIZACION PRIVADA: Private community/development

USO DE OFICINAS: Property that has office use

USOCAPCION: Right to use property over a fixed period of time

USUFRUCTO: Right to use and enjoy a property

 

V

VALOR CATASTRAL: Rateable value/valuation - reviewed annually and the basis for calculating land tax.

VALOR COMPROBADO POR LA ADMINISTRACION: Assumed value of a property as a base for the property tax

VALOR REAL: Real value

 

Z

ZONA DE SERVIDUMBRE DE PROTECCION: protected coast stretches from 100 up to 200 metres, where they have special rules concerning construction

 

 

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