Property Purchase in Spain30/07/2013
When many are still suffering the consequences of the financial crisis and the many excesses that provoked it (and amongst those excesses were the real estate craze in Spain) there are many property owners who are complaining of being tied in to purchase agreements full of clauses that were not properly explained to them and in many cases not even translated.
Many people feel cheated by misleading advertising and a glittering marketing campaign that prompted them to buy.
The conclusions around, in many internet blogs as much as in the reliable media, is that Spain is a kind of wild west, in which it is very easy to be scammed; a place with unbeatable weather but where it is impossible to buy real estate with a guarantee. Is this so? Is Spain that lawless country so usually painted?
Very much on the contrary, Spain has one of the safest and most reliable systems in the world to protect real estate purchases. The combination of Notary witnessing and Land Registry inscription is the legal basis of the system. On top of these foundations some specific rules extend the protection for the purchasers:
Act 26/84 relating to consumers’ protection, states that any feature, description or characteristic of anything offered or advertised to the general public will be considered as part of the purchase contract, from the moment of the agreement, even if it’s not precisely mentioned in it.
Act 34/88 with regards to marketing and publicity, rules that anything promoted open and / or publicly for sale in sale must be genuinely described, and its main characteristics fully explained.
Act 515/89 relating to real estate publicity, set the exact rules to advertise real estate properties for sale (location, size, stage of construction, payment conditions, etc.). Moreover, this Act confirms as mandatory for any party advertising a property for sale, to keep a copy containing the full details and the characteristics, specifications and finishing of the property in a different file to that used for advertising, and that these two documents and the information they contain, must match completely. (The scope of this Act should not be underrated. A Spanish individual complained recently of an apartments promotions advertised by BBVA real estate, because in some posters promoting a complex of apartments it read “…this information is purely informative and may change”. The complaint made BBVA to withdraw all the posters they had in the area).
The previous are only a few of the resources that the consumers have to make sure that their purchases will be safe and legal. The Spanish Legal System has in place more than enough means to protect the purchasers of properties. It will not be the lack of legal protection, but the lowering of the basic cautions to have before signing an agreement, what will cause difficulties. The rules above described, and many others as much enforceable and fully in place, can (must, actually) be claimed, discussed and agreed before signing in the dotted line.
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