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El blog de Maria

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

Legal tip 1160. Land Registry in Spain
03 June 2014 @ 12:28

A compiled and revised old legal tip:

What is the Land Registry in Spain?


It is not the Town Hall property registry, it is not a census, it is not a cadastre, and it is not a list


It is much more than that: it is the ultimate authority on ownership and real estate rights in Spain. A public office for the record of ownership and real estate rights to the general knowledge of people.

The main function of a property registry is to provide reliable information and legal safety to citizens; they can rely on what is recorded there at the time of contracting on ownership or any other real estate rights: full and legal ownership, encumbrances, loans, charges, easements, habitation rights, ownership limitations, prohibitions for transference, judicial actions on the property, embargos... 


Land Registry was created in Spain in 1861 to cover three goals:


1. - To provide solid foundations to the mortgage loan system.


2. - To provide protection to the holders of registered rights


3. - To provide speed to real estate legal traffic.


In some jurisdictions, such as German, registration is mandatory in order to convey the property.  In other countries such as Spain, registration is voluntary, but it has huge and immensely relevant advantages that make it highly advisable! 


Some registration principles in Spain:



1.- Principle of request: Any registration in the Land Registry must derive from the request of interested party


2.- Principle of priority: "First in the registry, better in Law". Once a right is registered, any other non- compatible right cannot win over it.


3.-Principle of Register Public Faith: This principle has the aim to provide legal safety to the market: "that which is not in the Register, is not in the reality".


4.-Principle of legality: Just valid and perfect right titles are registered. The legal judgment on validity and fullness is the mission of the Land Registrar.


5.-Principle of publicity: Nobody can allegate ignorance of what is recorded in the Land Registry


6.-Principle of legitimacy: All the Land registry records make every necessary legal effect and are fully valid unless they are expressly declared inexact or invalid.


7.-Principle of successive tract: Land Registry in Spain works as a chain, so no link can be engaged without the previous one. 


8.-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.



9.-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.


Land Registry procedures in Spain are very controlled and strict in order to provide safety and consistency to the mortgage market and the real estate traffic.


The role of Notary and Registrars is generally unknown by common law citizens as it is completely different from the role of them in your legal system. That is also why conveyance 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.

Costa Luz Left

Granada, South eastern Spain, at

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