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Legal Questions Podcast With Maria de Castro

Every month, in association with Maria de Castro of Costa Luz Lawyers, we're going to be bringing you a recorded podcast where Maria will be answering your questions relating to Spanish law. Be informed!

Legal Podcast with Maria de Castro - February
17 February 2016 @ 12:04


Name: Fergus

Comment: Hi maria

We bought an apartment in Elvira Medina in Spain in 2010. We received license of occupation and furnished the apartment. Just after this the developer went bankrupt and the block was left idle. Only 4 apartments had been purchased at this stage. The bank took over control of the rest of the apartments. The apartments were then burgled and nearly everything is the apartments was removed doors windows etc. we then found out that the license of occupation should never have been granted and the council and mayor are due in court on corruption and planning law offences. We are still paying a mortgage for a shell of an apartment with not one item in it. 
What are our options? 

Other blocks are taking the council to the courts but our situation is that with only 4 apartments purchased and the rest owned by the banks we seem to be in a bad situation.


If the license has been revoked, you can: 

(1) Claim against the Bank for the refund of amounts paid prior to completion

(2) Act against developer and bank for nullity and refund of all amounts paid after completion. There is Case Law for defending this.

Of course these actions course with the refund of interests and legal costs.

Another possibility is to give the property back to the Bank


Name: Margaret 

Comment: Hello Maria We have our First Instance Hearing coming up in Almeria January 2016.  If we have a successful outcome and are awarded interest will the interest be calculated from the date we put down our deposit or from the time we filed the lawsuit against the Bank?  Is there any official ruling on this as we have noticed that some Courts (or judges) differ on this point?  Some award interest on the day the deposit was accepted by the Bank and some are only giving interest on the day the lawsuit was filed. Is it just a lottery who you get?


It is not a lottery; it’s clearly covered in Law when treating cancellation of contracts. Interests are always attached and there is no legal reason for interpreting the refund of interests has to be from filling of lawsuit.

If the Court declares the contract cancelled, interests need to be paid from the date you made your payments. It is true some Courts are passing decisions where interests are awarded just from date of lawsuit but this can be challenged at appeal.

There is still not Supreme Court pronouncement on this. Hopefully soon.



Name: Maryelaine 

Comment: Hello Maria. My son has a house he cannot sell the mortgage balance is too high. Can I take it over from him by adding my name to the escritura as he can no longer pay the mortgage or buy from him without paying the normal taxes as I am his mother?


Of course you can buy the property from your son but that will always be considered an acquisition, not a gift as you are assuming the mortgage.

1) For the ownership and mortgage novation (change of holder) you need acceptance by the Bank. 
2) If bank accepted, this would be taxed as any transmission; regardless you are a family member.
A good remedy if he cannot keep those mortgage payments is to act rights of dation (property back to the bank).



Name: Paul 
Comment: My wife and I have just purchased a house in Duquesa, Manilva which we will use for holidays and extended stays of less than 180 days so the UK will always be our main residence.  Do we need a separate Spanish Will? 
We are 60yrs old and have a UK Will which leaves everything to the surviving Spouse or in the event of us both dying at the same time then everything evenly divided between our Son and Daughter.


You do not need it. It is useful for an easier process for your heirs.
That will apply in Spain. Again, just for making things easier to heirs, the Spanish will is necessary.


Name: Sharon Martin
Comment: Hello Maria. I have found that your articles on living in Spain and tax very helpful, but I have a question regarding property tax.  I own an apartment in Fuerteventura and have been told I need to pay property tax.  I have owned the property since Feb 2011. The property cost was 117,000 euros it seems from documents I have that the Cadastral Value is 21, 420, 59 would you have any idea what tax I need to pay and where I would pay this?

Thank you in advance


Dear Sharon: Thanks for the compliment. Yes if you are non-resident property owner you need to pay: Non resident Income Tax (I.R.P.F.) This tax is around 0.15% of the value of the property, and is paid annually, corresponding to the former natural calendar year. So if your property has a cadastral value of 100,000 Euros, then the payable amount would be about 150 Euros each year. Local tax on real estate (I.B.I.) This is a direct tax based on the value of the house. It is known as LOCAL RATES, COUNCIL TAX or IBI. Each Town Council determines the percentage to be applied to the cadaster value of the property. Every year the value of the tax is increased by applying the percentage given by the Government in the Nation Budget act. There is the possibility of setting up a direct debit.



Name: Gail
Comment: Hello, we are UK residents who have a holiday home in Spain on which the mortgage is now paid up. We have the certificate from the Bank to show this but I have been told two very different things. One is that we can either leave it until we sell the property in a year or two and this will be dealt with at the same time for hardly any extra cost or we MUST get the charge taken off the deed immediately? Which is the correct advice? I don't really want to pay out all this money to de-register if it's not necessary and can be done at the same time when we sell it?

Thanks in advance for any help with this.....


Dear Gail: If you do not need the house to be officially showed as free-debt till it is sold in a while, there is no need to do managements to deregister the mortgage charge now.


Name: John Evans
Comment: Dear Maria,
As we are non-residents living in Spain do we have to have a new will made to add a codicil to our wills? This is regarding the legal side that we wish our wills to be covered by UK laws. Law in Spain now! Our local Lawyer here on the Costa del Sol says it cannot be done you have to pay for a completely new will to be made. I have read somewhere that we can go to a Notary and pay a fraction to have a Codicil added to our wills.


Dear John: Validity of those codicils in Spanish Civil Law is controversial and will very probably bring problems to your future heirs, so my advice is to grant a new will.


Name: Ivan R.
Comment: We have our property on the market to sell and we have applied for our first occupancy license. But I am informed that I may not need this as we already have Electric and water contracts the Villa is now 11 years old could you please tell me is it necessary  

Notary will need to check on First Occupation license before the transmission is made. You do need it.



Name: Nico
Comment: How does a finca owner gain control of who is allowed to hunt on his land when his finca is part of a  larger Coto De Caza Privado?
And who is the Jefe De Coto?
Is it possible to stop all hunting on such a   finca?


As a full owner of the plot, you have full rights to decide the use to be given to the same. You need to start with a formal communication to rest of owners of properties forming the COTO and if an amicable solution is not achieved; you can start a judicial action.


Name: Miller  D.

Comment: How can I find out if a Spanish lawyer is properly registered?

Checking on the Bar association corresponding to the province where he/she is located.



Name: Kelly

Comment: In our AGM meeting it was agreed a security hut would be built costing around 8000 euro. We have just had a bill asking for more money as the build is now up to 20000 euros do I have to pay. The work has already been done and no one was informed.


You are just obliged to pay on basis of what it was agreed in the Community of Owners. It is necessary to know why the work has been more expensive, whom, if anyone authorized the building company for this and agree on a solution ahead. You need to convoke an Extraordinary General Meeting for this.

Like 1


Poedoe said:
20 February 2016 @ 09:59

Great reading Maria You are a wonderful help to so many property buyers from the UK, Thankyou for all the help you are giving XXX

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