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El blog de Maria

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

Legal tip 61. What the hell is the Land Registry in Spain?
31 March 2009 @ 11:31

It is not  the Town Hall property registry, it is not a census,  it is not a cadastre, it is not a list... 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 inmensely 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; the Registrar can not record rights ex officio.
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. For instance: in the case of double sale of  a estate (a person sells a property twice, taking advantage that the first purchaser has not registered the property) the ownership will belong to that one good faith buyer who has duly recorded the right in the Land Registry, leaving the other only entitled to claim a compensation.
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". It is important to remark that the principle of Public Good Faith covers just purchasers for good and valuable consideration acting in Good faith. Good faith is supposed and who denies it need to prove it.
4. - Principle of legality: Just valid and perfect right titles are registered. The legal judgement 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.
(more principles in tomorrow’s article… hopefully written from London!)

Fountain and orange trees by Kenneth Iriarte at

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mickinspain60 said:
03 June 2014 @ 10:59

Really good post! I have to say there is lots of confusion when it comes to the Land Registry in Spain. People tend to say that the "Catastro" is the "Registro" when they both are different entities.

Anyways, I see no helpful links to make a land registry search. I use but there are a many others out there. Happy Google hunting! :)

mariadecastro said:
03 June 2014 @ 11:13


Here you can find direct access to Land Registry in English:

mickinspain60 said:
03 June 2014 @ 11:47

Hi Marie! Thanks for your input. Yes, I have tried them in the past but their forms are way too complicated, no phone service in English, let alone if I needed some help with my Note Simple. Needed to jump through hoops to get anything done... Anyways, it is always good to have other options. I guess we could build a list of alternatives? :) Apart from the one I posted earlier, here is another: (who said it was difficult to find services in English?? haha)

mariadecastro said:
03 June 2014 @ 11:56


Yes, a list is always good.

We can help you with this if you need.



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