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El blog de Maria

Your daily Spanish Law reporter. Have it with a cafe con leche.

Legal tip 77. Questions and answers on community of owners. Part 4.
30 April 2009


25.The lift is broken… who should I call? You need to notify it to your President (he might have to call the Property Manager) as theCommunity of Owners (CO) is obliged to make all the required reparations to keep services in good use.
26.What about a crack in the pool? Or in the commun front wall? Of course they are also obligations of the Community of Owners, which need to have insurance for these reparations. If the building defects appear within the first 10 years there is an Insurance that the developer needs to hire and maintain.
27.Is it the so called seguro decenal? Yes, correct! It is called that way because it covers building defect during ten (decena) years.
28.Some parts of the façade of my building are falling and no one takes action… what should I do?
You need to communicate it to the President for the Community to take measures as, the Community will be liable for any damage or injure caused. That is why a good Insurance for the community of owners needs to include civil liability coverage.
29.Can I ask for a change of look of the façade?  It is in a great condition of conservation but… is so old fashioned!
No owner can demand new installations, services or improvements in the building which are not necessary for the needed conservation, habitability and safety of the building.
30.I would need a video entry phone for the building? Am I entitled to ask the community to place and pay for it?
If you are deaf or think there are clear safety reasons which require it, of course you can and the Community needs to pay for the installation.
31.The members of the community of owners have decided to install a hot tube and some gym equipments in the garden, which will entail to pay a double community fee. I opposed to that I the Community of Owners. Can I omit  the payment as I do not need such extra things!! 
 I am afraid you will have to pay for them, as just if the fee was three times the amount of an ordinary quota you can exclude yourself to pay it if you did not agree with the unnecessary improvements.
32.We have placed electronic devices to open the common main doors  with the TV remote control, my neighbour opposed the installation and now is benefiting for the service because it is also reached by his T and we cannot deprive him from it…. what a nerve!  Can we ask him to pay?
If the fees for that installation was more than three times a regular fee, and he opposed the installation in a community meeting, you cannot oblige him to pay.
If the deprivement of use of an extraordinary, non-necessary improvement is possible (hot tubes, gym machines…) and later on, the dissident neighbour wants to take advantage of the improvements, he will have to pay his instalment on the expenses related to the installation and maintenance, duly updated, applying the corresponding legal interest.
Bulls in lavender byPerico Terrades at


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New insurance services for the elderly
29 April 2009

Yes, I have a particular tendency to assist elderly people. They are so valuable as life "maestros" and, at the same time ,so ignored! One of those contradictions we human beings are used to, just because of a stupid desire for easy-life and and comfort. Life is never easy anyhow!

Anyhow, yes, I know I am philosophing again... cannot help.

There I go with some information on insurance services for elderly people:

Some Insurance companies offer health insurance policies specifically designed for people over 60 years, these policies incorporate exclusive coverage:  free dental treatment, reimbursement for pharmaceutical expenses, return of 100% of the costs associated to vision defects, free 24 hours telephone medical consultations,  free psychological counseling, and free second medical opinion and medical care in foreign travels.

 They are also specialising is providing financial liquidity through reverse mortgages and telecare services.
Some insurers also have Assisted Living facilities for the elderly. This compensates somehow the difficulties this collective faces when hiring some insurances ( specially driver´s insurances). These facilities usually have  a medical team, nurses,  caregivers, social workers, psychologists, phisiotherapists, maintenance personnel, geriatric technical staff and management teams. ...
As you can conclude, the elderly are generated lots of jobs... some of them cannot cover or perform the love of relatives though!

Roofs in San Roque ( Cadiz) by RaMaOrli at

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Legal tip 76. Questions and answers on Community of Owners. Part 3.
28 April 2009

19.Can I turn my apartment into two? Yes, you can. Flats can be divided and joined, the consent of affected parties and of the Community of Owners by unanimity is needed. 

20.Am I fully free to keep my house dirty or un-maintained? No…. you are not, for the common good of the neighbours. If smells, leaks, noises … cause damage to your neighbours, you will have the obligation to compensate them.
21.Should I bear every work agreed by the Community? Of course, you have, even if they limit your ownership rights if they are for the creation of common services of general interests (access to handicapped people, additional elevators for stairs stretches, anti-fire devices….)
22.What if I want my Community mail to be sent to the UK? You cannot receive your community mail in the UK. You need to choose an address in Spain. Your Spanish lawyers´ address may be a good idea as he/she will be ready to oppose anything found illegal in the mail right away! Some foreigners suffer the decline of their rights just because they did not receive a communication or a lawsuit. Some plaintiffs take advantage of this to win judicial cases!
23.Can I communicate the mail address by telephone? No, you need to use a mean which leaves proof of reception: a registered fax or letter most advisably.
24.I have not communicated any special address in Spain. Where is the secretary sending the communications? In defect of any specific mail address, the secretary sends the letters to your apartment located in that Community and if not possible there, he/she places a post in the news board of the building!
Maria L. de Castro
Zahara de la Sierra, Cadiz white village, by Roberto Pecino at

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Legal tip 75. Intellectual property rights in Spain
27 April 2009

 Intellectual property in Spain is regulated by Royal Decree 1/1996. The Decree  distinguishes between standard copyright (whose holder is the author of a literary, artistic or scientific work) which comprises full exploitation rights on the work , and other related rights, out of a connection with the work ( performers, artists, players, producers...).

Registration is voluntary and  it is not needed for the acquisition of copyrights, which arise just out of creation. Registration constitutes a qualified proof of existence of those registered rights.

Registration can be done on-line. Fees need to be paid in advance.
Maria L. de Castro

Entrance patio at Hotel Finca Cortesín (Casares, Málaga), by Luis Lopez-Cortijo

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Legal tip 74: Banks, dependence and autonomy.
24 April 2009

Not every financial institution but some of them have these services for “dependence and assistance".

The aim of these programs is to benefit old people and in some cases, it is included the possibility of obtaining loans at very good conditions. These services intend to enhance the quality of life of  the elderly men and women and to increase their personal autonomy.
These services can be hired by anyone, but are always aimed to people over 60 years, and consist of a comprehensive package covering health and social needs of them and their closest relatives.
Some services, among others: telephone contact with a doctor all day long, remote assistance, a wide range of home services (house cleaning, personal hygiene, etc.) and services for meals at home.
It is time for financial institutions to turn to real needs.
Picture fromAncianos Playa Gallery at


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The Feast of Saint George in Cataluña
23 April 2009


Saint George’s day is very important throughout the Països Catalans. We can mention three of the most representative examples:
1- Most Catalan towns and villages celebrate a market of roses and books. In the main streets and squares there are stalls selling red roses and books - books are sold at a discount that day. 
The custom of offering flowers can be related to the old Greco-Roman feasts dedicated to the deity Flora, which were an exaltation of nature and spring; in the Middle Ages flowers were the prize of Jocs Florals, literary contests which had St. George as their patron.
The origin of the market of books dates from 1926, when April 23 was chosen as the "day of books" because Shakespeare and Cervantes had died that day. Although its coincidence with St. George’s day is fortuitous , the atmosphere of people walking and buying books and roses contributes to give a special character to the feast, specially in big towns and particularly in Barcelona.

2- There is a celebration of a Medieval Week in Mont Blanc, the ducal village in la Conca de Barberà, where, according to the legend, St. George defeated the Dragon. People take part in the celebration and they dress as in the Middle Ages and perform jobs from that period, tournaments, courts, etc. The most important act is the performance of the legend in front of the medieval walls of the village. The legend is performed by many people from Mont Blanc, and it attracts a lot of public.

3- In Alcoi, in the south of the Països Catalans, they celebrate a great feast called Moors and Christians in commemoration of a historical fact: the entrance of Catalans in Valencia to fight against Arabs. According to tradition, the victory of the Catalan army was due to the action of the knight St. George.

Information from:,%20Legends%20and%20Tales/catalonia/george/george.htm


By Maria L. de Castro


Saint George Fresco in Verona ( Italia)  by Sebastiá Giralt


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Legal tip 73. Questions and answers on community of owners. Part 2.
22 April 2009


9.My community established additional rules to the Statutes, is this legal?
Yes, owners can establish new rules (always provided they are respectful towards applicable Law). Just majority is needed in these cases
10.What if the rules are against Law?
If a rule is against Law, it is null and void and you are not under legal obligation to obey it.
11.I want to do some refurbishment in my apartment? What do I need to do?
You just need to communicate it to the President in written, make your budget and hire the necessary workmanship.
Every owner can just do building works in his flat or premise, modifying its architectural elements, installations and services, provided:
                *The safety of the building, its general framework and its outer configuration and conditions are not altered.
                *None of the other owners’ rights is damaged.
12.My community does not allow pets? Is this a legal prohibition?
Community of owners cannot restrict the way you use your private property or the guests you have in it: other way said they have no jurisdiction on your home (thank goodness!).
Decisions by the Community need always to be made just regarding common elements. So the answer is… YES. You can have pets; provided they behave according to the rules of the Community in common areas and they are healthy, safe and innocuous. (can not have a panther for instance).
13.But what if a neighbour has a dangerous animal or has a pet in unhealthy conditions?
After reporting it to President, for an amicable solution, you can also report it to the Police and the Health Local Authorities, which can oblige the owner to “relocate” the funny animal out of the Community.
14.Can the community prohibit me to walk my dog through the common elements?
No, they cannot. Always the walk performs in healthy, safe and innocuous condition. They can ask you to always walk your dog tied up as a matter of safety or health and/or clean if he/she…"burn ...” or “water...”
15.What can we do if the crocodile persists in the Community, bathing in the pool?

 The President of the Community of Owners either by own initiative or by the initiative of any of the owners or users, must request the owner to send him to the… river, or inform that person about the legal actions against him/her that might be started if the behaviour is not stopped.

If the offender crocodiler persist doing it, the President, once authorised by the committee of owners, can call the Police and local health authorities.

16.What if the problem is a noisy baby?
Babies cry and it is unavoidable. There is nothing to do but use ears blockers or... offer some help to those busy parents. 
17.What if an owner plays music very high?
Disturbing=illegal. The president can ask him to stop and if persisting can call the Local authorities for a stop.
18.Can a Judge ask the owner to compensate damages?
 Of course yes, if a judicial procedure is needed to stop an illegal activity, the Judge can order:
- The offender to stop the forbidden activity once and for all.
-The offender to compensate the Community for the produced damages.
-The offender to be deprived of the right to use the house or premise for a period no longer than three years.
Sanlucar de Barrameda: Horses race on the beach by Alvaro Pinel at

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Legal tip 72. Modern lawyers
21 April 2009

I started the working hours today by reading an article by both a spanish Judge and University Proffessor Don Manuel Martin Bernal. He analises there the legal grounds for the submission of rentals to arbitration.

I enjoyed several statements by him regarding the need of promotion of arbitration formulas in order to make the judicial system fluent and effective, and the need of promotion of rentals in a society that has been over-valuing property for ages.  It is certainly not difficult to see how correct he is when we count the current  thousands of empty,  built properties in Spain.  How true is the saying that states that  need makes virtue.

Two great propositions to become more "European", modern and competitive ( arbitration and rentals) Both for the sake of flexibility and dynamism....Yes, we lawyers need to be " people of our time" not just by using blackberry phones and mini laptops.

We need to perform a permanent attitude of  healthy and constructive deconstruction, criticism and question of present institutions, pre-assumptions and pre-judices...

I remember a good colleague ( and brother)  of mine who said to me: " That is what system is for... to be deconstructed" He meant  when it is illegitimate or  unfair:  I laughed a lot, I always do with his brilliant  appreciations. I agree that it is what  we lawyers need to pursue in a great extent. No unmeaningful that he said that when a Judge stated in a Conference that a certain proposal by a lawyer was " against the system".  How boring Mr. Judge!

Que lleveis bien el martes!


Playing in this shore... Tanger in the background by Chodaboy at

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Legal tip 71. Questions and answers on Community of Owners. Part 1.
20 April 2009

1.  Do I own some of the common elements? 

Yes you  co-own them.  You are the exclusive owner of your apartment and co-owner of the common elements: stairs, patios, yards, entrances, elevators, structural elements, power supplies´ installations, pools, gardens, tennis courts, common facades, roof…

2. How do I know which are "my" common elements of my Community of Owners?
The chart of individual and common elements is a Notary deed, the deed of Horizontal division which is granted when the building is finished.

It is a document which describes the building as a general unit and every flat or premise individually, with indication of surface, floor and annexes such as parking garages, attics or storage rooms.

3. So, as I am a co-owner, can I freely allot some of them for my privative use? It would be so nice to have a corner of that pool....!!
Unfortunately not. Co-ownership on these just implies you need to maintain them (there the community of owners quota) and you need to be asked on any alteration of them.
4. Oh well... how is that quota calculated?

Every apartment or premise has a quota or share of ownership (cuota de participación) of the total value of the building, which is the scale to determine the percentage on the community expenses to be paid by each owner.

The proportional share of every flat or premise is fixed having as the calculation base,
the net usable area of every flat or premise in relation to the whole building, its interior and exterior location, situation, and the kind of use of common elements that the owner is supposed to be doing in the future.
5. What if I do not agree with the quota assigned to me?
You can of course analise how it was calculated and challenge it before the Community of Owners. You can also go to Courts if they keep " overcharging you". 
6. How can I know where are the legal  rules of the  Community? I do not want to obey too many rules...

 That Notary chart, the horizontal division deed, also has certain regulations ( called Estatutos) of the building use, its flats and premises, installations and services, expenses, administration, maintenance and repairs. Every new owner will be bound automatically by them and the decisions legally taken at previous meetings.
7. Where I can know of previous decisions made by the Community of Owners?
The minutes of the Meetings of the Community are kept by the President or Administrator.
8. Can stupid rules be removed?
Of course yes but you need the unanimous consent of all the owners if they are part of the Statutes and the majority if they are part of additional internal rules.

Conil ( Cadiz) beach byPablo G. Pando at

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Legal tip 70. Fruits and vegetables by Law
17 April 2009


A new EU regulation (288/2009) requiring the consumption of fruits in schools.

Member States will have to submit the strategy for the implementing of this regulation by May 31 of this year.

The Regulation stipulates that the products covered in the promotion program are fruits and vegetables, transformed fruits and vegetables and banana products.  It excludes products with sugar, fat, salt and added sweeteners. The target group will be children, from 3 to 15 years who regularly frequent a school administered or recognized by the competent authorities of a Member State.

Cordoba Oranges by Otanion at

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Legal tip 69. Claims against IBI tax amount
16 April 2009

If your IBI receipt (Local property tax) over-rises after a Cadastre review, there are two possible avenues of legal action:

 A) Before or against the body of cadastral revision.
I. Submitting a Request for review to the Cadastre management organ which corresponds territorially.

The document you will receive with the revision of the Cadastre value needs to mention the address of the office for the claim and the possibility of the claim itself.
II. Directly to the pertinent Court with judicial power on economic acts of the Administration. 
In both cases (I and II), the earlier deadline for filing an appeal is 30 working days (it includes working Saturdays and excludes Sundays and public holidays) from receipt of notification of cadastral revision. You need to receive that document by registered mail.
You are obliged to pay the IBI receipt you are challenging even if you are claiming against it. 

B)  Before the Local Council
The Local Council applies an index to the cadastral value; this determined the IBI tax amount. It is also possible to submit a claim against that index.

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Legal tip 68. Financial brokers under transparency
15 April 2009

The Spanish National Congress has recently  approved the draft of Act that regulates the offer of loans, mortgages and the brokerage services for the procurement of a loan or credit.  This is a new Law that will benefit not just consumers but also those companies which offer those services, which, as not being Banks or official financial institutions were just under the regulations of Consumer Law.

There was no a unifying  legal text for the regulation of  these services before . Obligations remarked by the Law are mainly for transparency and information:

- Transparency obligations of companies engaged in this activity.
- Certain and clear conditions for the contracts.  
- Guarantees needed
- Clear consequences for breaches of contracts
- Out of Courts mechanism for the solving of conflicts.

 There are specific requirements for transparency which request certain information to be provided to the consumer 15 days before the signing of the contract.
Publicity of these services must clearly state that the  brokerage/agency character of them.

Conil ( Cadiz) by Amiro at

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Legal tip 67. Coast Act...: some reforms needed.
13 April 2009


The Coast Act provides that on sea banks areas there can be no private property, and identifies an area of 100 meters ( zone of protection)  from the shore on which building is prohibited and where the houses built are subject to limitations.  In urban zones this area is at least of 20 meters. This  Act also establishes a zone of influence of 500 meters (zone of influence)  from the inner margin of the sea bank area  which can be urbanised while avoiding the formation of built-up areas and architectural screens.
To determine which areas are maritime-terrestrial public domains, the Administration carried out a demarcation. In this procedure, an expert determines the lines of division of private and public domain. If there are houses within the public area, regardless of the time they have been there, even if prior to the enactment of law, owners may lose their property. These owners also have the option of stay as users of the house for 30 years extendable for  another 30.
Legal advise tip of today: The revision of the character of the land needs to be done by an expert, as none the Land Registrar or Notaries may be aware of the public character of the land you are buying and for which you will be paying a large sum of money.
The National Platform of People Affected by the  Coast Act  estimated that around 15% of those injured were foreign citizens, mostly retirees Europeans. They have just worded what it can be the reform of the Coast Act where they basically propose the revision of :
- The two definitions of  zone of inflcuence and zone of protection.
- The prohibition of retroactivity
- Enough compensation for good will buyers of illegal houses. 
Sunset in La Barrosa, Chiclana, Cádiz by Sergi Gisbert at

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Legal tip 66. To buy a fully free property: IBI tax
07 April 2009

Your lawyer did check on loan and encumbrances on the property through the Land Registry and found it fully clean and clear now... the Local Council is asking you to pay  5000 € on old taxes! ... what taxes?

Provision 64 of the Local Taxes Act explains how  property it self is liable for unpaid local property taxes due... that is why your lawyer and the Notary needs to expressly check on the status of the this tax payments. The report on this status need to be provided up to date by the Administrator of the Community of owners.
The abovementioned provision says that in the event of transmission of ownership rights of properties, the estate itself will be subject to the tax liability in a subsidiary way under the terms of the General Tax Law.  It means that if the debts are not paid, the Local Council can place an embargo on the property.
For this purpose, notaries that authorise the signature of a public deed  for transmission of ownership will specifically ask and warn regarding:
1.     Pending IBI debts on the property.
2.     Deadline for payment of the debt.
3.     Liabilities involved if not paying.
Liability is jointly and severally distributed among all co-owners according to Cadastre records.
Postcard of Bolonia beach ( roman ruins included) Tarifa, Cadiz. By chusoart at
Are you now clear on Cadiz being the best province in Spain? No? We will certainly keep trying!

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Legal tip 65. Reverse mortgages
06 April 2009

I do not know how many of you are in the glorious situation of retirtement, being over 65 years old, but thought this information will be of interest for you, your relatives and/or friends.

If you are from the United Kingdom, you are fully familiar with this financing product which is used there since 1965, but I just wanted to let you know that there is also that possibility with your Spanish home as many Cajas and some Banks are know allowing the stablishment of this kind of loan on your second residency in Spain. That might help you a bit to cope with the crisis as a complement to your pension.... and maybe help yours.

The reverse mortgage is a mortgage loan intended for people over 65 years or dependent. The financial institution pays a guaranteed monthly amount which is guaranteed by the house. Heirs will not lose ownership of the house.
In Spain, the 22% of clients interested in reverse mortgages have houses located in Andalusia, mainly because the over supply of properties in that region

Some figures for correspondences between value of apartments and monthly rentals obtained with them:
A 250.000 €  valued apartment will generate:
365 € per month for a 70 y/o man
333 € per month for a 70 y/o woman
647 € per month for a 80 y/o man
584 € per month for a 80 y/o woman
The reason for rent difference between men and women is that we, women, live longer, statistically.
The interest rate applied is around 6% and the repayment period varies between 12 and 15 years.

The reverse mortgage market began in Spain in 2004. At present, a total of 20 financial institutions are selling this product: Ibercaja, La Caixa, Caixa Sabadell, CAI, Caja Vital, Caixa Manresa, Caixa Terrassa, Caja G, Caja Navarra, Caixa Penedes, Caixa Girona, Caja de Ingenieros, Bancaja, Kutxa, Caixa Galicia, Sa Nostra, and BBK Caja Castilla La Mancha.
As for banks, BBVA is the only one which sells this  product. Also an insurer, Catalana Occidente, launched its own reverse mortgage.
Together wth the United Kingdom, where this product has been used since 1965, other countries with a tradition in this type of products are the U.S., New Zealand, Canada and Australia. 

Trafalgar beach by Jesu D' Alange at

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Legal tip 64. Loans for Community of Owners
03 April 2009

It might be the financial crisis is having an impact on the general status of commun elements of your development.. Do you know that there are specific lending products for this? Let's ask  Banks for some help!, the conditions  heppen to be quite convinient.

These collective loans are adjustable to the specific saving capacity of the owners’ community (OC), so that the owners do not get in debt individually and are designed to finance investment and expenditure of repairs of the OC such as walls or decks reforms, removal of architectural barriers, lifts, heating and gas installations
The holder of the loan is the OC. There is no further requirement of warranty or guarantee.
The maximum repayment term is around 10 or 15 years (with  the possibility of initial  two years of grace! ), and carries the possibility of an irregular fee ( between 1% and 1.5% ).
In exchange for these conditions, the contract involves the obligation by the OC to open and maintain an account in the lender Bank or institution, for the payment of the ordinary and extraordinary shares.
Documents needed:

• Photocopy of CIF (Tax identification number) of the OC.
• Permission to consult the community CIRB. Central Information Risk of the Bank of
• Photocopy of budgets or repair contract to be accepted to fund.
• Information on existing accounts and on accounts of the last two years.
• Accounting documents.
• Book of Minutes, including at least the last three agreements.
• Legal representatives of the OC.
• OC agreements regarding the needed repairs.
• Certification of the financing agreement signed.
Chipiona Beach by Golan at

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Legal tip 63. Things to bring with me in my car.
02 April 2009

I am in London at the business center of a hotel, people around me are obviously writing about the G20 news and events… and  I am looking very interesting with all these  international journalists around, writing for my EOS people… here you got today.. to drive safe in Spain.

Together with learning the rule or the trick of turning left indicators on and watching through the left rear-view mirror while circulating inside the “rotondas” ( traffic circles),  as my driving teacher recommended to me, there are another few things that I want to pass it on to you.
It is obligatory to bring…
  • Driver's license
  • Registration certificate of the vehicle
  • Vehicle data sheet
  • Certificate of the last ITV ( Inspeccion tecnica de vehiculos: technical vehicle inspection)
  • ITV sticker in place.
  • Spare pair of glasses or contact lenses (obligatory)
  • Spare set of bulbs and tools for its replacement.
  • Spare wheel, under the required revision and correct inflation pressure
  • Emergency triangles: in case of emergency they need to be placed in front and behind the car at a 50 meters distance.
  • Reflective Vest in the interior of the car: you need to use it if you have to get out of the car between sunset and sunrise

Policy and receipt of insurance used to be obligatory too but is not strictly necessary anymore. Nevertheless, I would recommend you to still keep bringing them as it could be actually required from you if the traffic agent cannot locate it electronically.
If you are driving another person’s vehicle, it is advisable to bring an authorization by the owner.
Make a good check on validity and accuracy of  papers: expiration and non accuracy of data can be fined. If you change your address, you need to communicate that to the Traffic authorities within 15 days.
You can bring just photocopies of these documents to keep the originals always safe at home but, the copies need to be officially verified and stamped. The validation of documents can be done by Notaries and Traffic agents. Bring the originals if you are driving out of Spain with a Spanish license and Spanish car as International agreemenst do not allow the use of photocopies.
Other important, advisable items are:
* Sun glasses (advisable)
* Jack and wheels key 
* Medical documents showing blood type, allergies and medical conditions of the travelers, specially in long trips.
* And such other ones as a road map, a flashlight, duct tape, a cloth or a "gripper" to start the battery if necessary
Traffic penalties tomorrow, let’s digest this first.
By the way…the city of London is capturing my attention and my interest…. we made a list of nationalities of people we met yesterday…. around 15 different!

Palmar beach ( Vejer de la Frontera, Cadiz) by Jacobo Portillo at

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Legal tip 62. More protection by the Land Registry
01 April 2009

Principle of sucessive tract: 
"No entry except the first, will not be registered, or recorded without the right form where it emanates has been recorded previously" In simple words: Land Registry in Spain works as a chain, so no link can be engaged without the previous one.  Sometimes, in order to register a right which has no inmediate right recorded, you will have to do through th registry procedure for resumption of the sucessive tract. 
For instance: we are working for a client who wants to register a house he has inherited, the deceased person did not have the house reistered under his name in the Land Registry, we need to prove ownership through public and private means and aply for the registration of ownerhip by the deceased person BEFORE instating our client's ( the heir) record.
Principle of specialty:
Tells about the system of the Land Registry, whose unit is the PLOT, which has a number and on which all related rights are recorded. So if you own a house in Spain, you need to know its registry number. Your property must be registered in the Registry according to location, no every town has one, so if your house is in a little town , it is very possible the Registry will be in the nearest big one.  Anyway, your lawyer will be able to check on your registered ownerhip status online. 

Principle of impenetrability:
Once the procedure for registration of a right has started, there is no gate for any incompatible rights to try to enter the Registry.
As you know Land Registry  procedures  in Spain are very controlled and strict in order to provid safety and consitency to the mortgage market and the real estate traffic.
The role of Notary and Registrars is generally unlaw by commun law citizens as it is completely different from the role of them in your legal system. That is also why  conveyancing lawyers play a very different part in Spain and in the UK when working for you at the buy or sale of your house in Spain.
Your conveyancing lawyer in Spain is a guide who will make your company while you are inmersed in a system, country and language that you do not know . The spanish convenyancer will procure that deposit and purchase contracts are fully respectful  to your Consumers rights, and will defend your position before the other contract party in every sense, but it is very advisable that you end the process by signing a Notary deed and registering the property in the Land Registry.
The sale is completed with the private contract but you will not be able to oppose it to good faith buyers if it is not registered and of course, no bank will lend you money if the property is not also properly recorded.
What to do if  you obtain your registry certification and discover that your house is different/bigger than what is registered? I will tell you about this in a couple of days.
I am in London... will tell you about my experience here once I am back.
Have a great day!

Sunset in Chicalana by Sergi Gisbert at 

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