In Spain, there are two systems for registering property: the cadastre and the property register. This article will discuss the importance of these two bodies.
The land register in Spain
In the land register (catastro) you will find a factual description of the property. Think location, plot demarcation, plan, buildings etc.
Based on the description in the land register, the cadastral value (valor catastral) established. This value is the basis to determine the municipal tax (IBI tax) and non-resident tax.
For this reason, the description in the land register is often out of date. People 'forget' to register additional extensions (e.g. a swimming pool) in the land register to avoid higher taxes.
The property register in Spain
A property register or registry office ((Registro de la Propiedad) is responsible for publicising property titles and encumbrances of real estate. In the property register, besides a summary verbatim description situation, the legal titles of the property are also registered.
You will find the history of the owners, any other rights or charges in rem on the property, etc. Consider, for example, a right of transfer or the registration of a mortgage.
Entry in the property register is important to ensure the legal enforceability of your title against third parties. After all, without proper registration, you are going to face difficulties in a subsequent sale or when settling an estate.
It is important to buy a property from a seller with a correct entry in the property register. For example, the title may still be in the name of a previous owner. This is possible, for example, because the previous owners bought through a private sale deed only or because the property is still in an unsettled estate.
In those situations, the titles are regularised before the purchase can take place, for example through the procedure reanudación del tracto sucesivo. This registers a new owner who has acquired his title from an unregistered owner.
Interplay of cadastre and property register
In an ideal situation, the land register and the property register have the same description. In practice, however, this is not always the case. As mentioned, people often 'forget' to notify both bodies of an extension to the property.
However, if you make changes to your property, you are obliged to update both the land register and the property register. An adjustment in the property register is done through a notarial deed. However, know that an adjustment to the property register does not automatically result in an adjustment to the land register in Spain. In principle, the Spanish notary does not update the land register.
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