Buying in Spanish rural areas: possible problems

In a previous article, we discussed the pitfalls when buying a property in the Spanish interior. This article elaborates on five common problems when buying a single property in rural areas.

Read more about the pitfalls in the Spanish interior.

No or incomplete registration in the land register

In rural areas, the property may not be registered in the land register and/or registration office. You then have an incomplete title. To rectify this problem, there are then additional costs for architects, notaries and the land registry. In addition, registration will result in an increase in municipal and property taxes.

Read more about taxes on owning Spanish property.

Less surface area than advertised

Also, the actual land area may turn out to be less than initially advertised. For example, in a recent case in Granada province, we found that the advertised 6000sq m of land turned out to be only 3000sq m of land. This is obviously a problem if there are plans for a commercial activity such as a campsite. Moreover, it can lead to conflicts with neighbours.

On larger areas, there may also be easements on the land, such as a right-of-way. This is a restriction on your property rights.

Access to utilities

Security of supply of water and electricity is often not guaranteed in non-urbanised dwellings. Water, for example, is then only supplied by a local water reservoir with an annual maximum offtake.

For properties that have been vacant for a long time, it is possible that invoices were no longer paid. The seller must then pay these debts first.

No conformity certificate

In several cases in rural areas, we have found that a certificate of conformity is not present. A conformity certificate allows you to demonstrate that the property meets local housing standards . A conformity certificate is required to be able to rent to tourists. Without a compliance certificate, you cannot advertise your property for holiday rentals.

Read more about the conformity certificate.

Construction violations

Finally, it is important that there are no construction violations. After all, building violations can be sanctioned by fines or a (partial) demolition order. In older homes, there are usually always construction violations, but they may then be time-barred. Homes with building violations cannot be granted a certificate of conformity. You must first regularise the building violations. A regularisation procedure also runs via the municipality.

Update June 2019: For building violations on structures located in rural areas, there is no longer a statute of limitations.

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