Escritura & Property Registry

If planning to purchase or sell a property in Spain, the most important legal papers are: Escritura (Title Deed), Nota Simple issued by the Property Registry and the Catastro (Land Register).

What is an Escritura?

The Escritura is a public record of the sale/purchase. Each time a property is sold, a new Escritura will be issued. The Escritura Notarial (notarial act) converts a private contract into a public deed. In order to be valid, any Escritura in Spain has to be signed and authorised by a Spanish Notary, which includes the following information:

  • The names and identification of both parties (seller and buyer)
  • A detailed description of the property with sizes and boundaries
  • Proof that the seller is registered in the Property Register as the owner of the property
  • Any debts attached to the property
  • Proof that payment of IBI tax and communal charges are up to date
  • Sale price and payments

After the Escritura has been signed at the Notary by the seller and buyer, it then has to be registered with the Property Register (Registro de la Propiedad), when it then becomes an Escritura Publica.

What is a Nota Simple?

A Nota Simple is a report from the Property Registry that describes the property. The following Information is included in the Nota Simple:

  • The current owner
  • Stating if the  property has debts (mortgages or unpaid taxes)
  • Description of property
  • Property boundaries
  • Total size of land, house / apartment
  • Classification of land: rustico, urbano or urbanizable
  • Right of way others may have to the property, such as public paths, water or sewage lines.

IBI (Council) Tax

The IBI tax (Impuesto Sobre Bienes Inmuebles) is a local tax to be paid by the owner of a Spanish property, either annually or every six months to the Town Council (Recaudacion Provincial) where the property is situated. The tax demand is sent to you through the post and it remains your responsibility to pay it in a given time. The most convenient way to deal with payment of the IBI tax is by direct debit through your bank, or to visit the local tax office (called SUMA) and pay directly. The IBI tax receipt is required by law on any property sale, as a proof of payment for the previous years. If you sell your property and have not paid this tax, the new owner will become liable for back taxes, as well as for fines for late payment. IBI Tax bill for a property I don’t own! This is an issue which affects many property owners in Spain, which are still paying the IBI tax, in the name of the previous owner. If you find yourself in this situation, contact us and we will help to rectify this matter.