Saturday, 4th July 2020
LEGAL Article

This Month's Magazine
Ask for your rights: Buying off plan - PART 2

Ask for your rights: Buying off plan - PART 2

Now for the second part of this interesting article about buying off plan in Spain.

5. Fifth step: Taxes to pay
The taxes referred below shall only be paid on purchasing a new property:

  • V.A.T 7%. It is necessary to be paid as the sale is a business operation between a developer and a private individual.
  • Stamp Duty (Impuesto de Actos JurĂ­dicos Documentados) 1%: It must be paid upon signature of notaryÂ’s document. To pay these taxes, you will be required to obtain the Spanish tax identification number, the NIE, if you are non-resident, or the NIF if you are a Spanish resident.

6. Sixth step: Fees to pay
When buying a new property, the following fees, subject to VAT, shall also be paid:

  • Notary (Notario): You must pay the notary fees when you sign the deed; these are fi xed on the offi cial scale and will vary depending on the size of the property.
  • Property Registry (Registro de la Propiedad): You must pay the registration of the deed at the Spanish
    Property Registry in order that the ownership can be transferred to you. Before going to the registry, you should have paid the corresponding taxes, its receipts must be given to the Register otherwise you will not be allowed to make the registration. Your Spanish Lawyer may inform how much these fees will be.

7. Other rights or other points to check when buying a new house.
In order to avoid possible problems that could  arise later, do not forget to check every point described below or you may fi nd that your dream house is illegally built. You will do well to have a skilled Spanish Lawyer handle the  paperwork, as they would know the ins and outs of it.

7.1. The Partial Plan
When you are ready to buy within a residential urbanization in Spain, you should first check the Partial Plan (Plan Parcial). It is the plan for building plots, which must be approved by the urbanism department (town planning department) of the Town Hall where the plots are recorded. This plan assures that your urbanization is legal and that there are no other developments planned nearby that could aff ect your new property. An urbanization is a planned community which provides a minimum of services and a minimum of quality control of the constructions, installations, roads.

7.2. Building in conformity with the Coastal Law
If your property is going to be built near the beach, make sure that your property will comply with the Spanish Coastal Law (Ley de Costas) of 1988 or that the builder has an authorization from the Coast department, which provides that the authorities must restrict building within 100 metres of the beach and establishes a zone of influence (zona de influencia) up to one kilometre inland.

7.3. The building licence, the certificate of completion of the building and the certificate of occupancy
The builder must have obtained the building licence (licencia de obra) issued by the Town Hall, which allows
him to build the house. The certificate of the buildingÂ’s completion (certificado de fin de obra) is issued by the architect once the building is complete. The developer needs it in order to get the certificate of occupancy.
The developer must provide you with the certificate of occupancy, which is issued by the Town Hall (Ayuntamiento). This administrative document permits you to occupy your new dwelling. Only when the certificates of completion of the building and the certificate of occupancy have been issued, can the purchase deed be duly finalized and notarised. The developer shall obtain and pay them. It could be difficult to register the sale if the  building does not have legal approval. Other problems could arise and demolition of the property could be enforced.


8. BuilderÂ’s liability for construction defects
Once you receive your homeÂ’s keys, you should check your house in order to detect whether there are any defects. Under some specific conditions, homeowners can, in some cases, enforce for their property to be fi xed after they move in.Th e term of guarantee for possible construction defects is as follows:

For those houses, with applications for building licences issued before May of 2000, the guarantee periods are as follows:

  • 6 months, at least, since the deed was signed, for defective construction which have no overall effect on the building.
  • 10 years, from the date of completion of the works for defective construction of essential parts of a building.
  • 15 years, for cases in which the contractor had no complied with the terms of the contract.

For those houses whith applications for building licences issued after May, 2000, the guarantee periods are as follows:

  • 1 year for defective construction which has an adverse eff ect on the finish of the house (electricity installations, paintingÂ…). In this  case, the builder is responsible for all property damages.
  • 3 years for defective construction which has an adverse effect on the habitat conditions (humidityÂ…). In this case, the other agents involved in the construction of the building are liable for the property damages.
  • 10 years for defective construction which has an adverse effect on the buildingÂ’s structure. Spanish law provides a time limit of 2 years to claim for construction defects from the date on which the defect was detected and made known to the proprietor, provided that the defect arose during the guarantee period described above. The diff erent agents will be personally and individually liable for property damage to the buildings caused by their own acts as well as by the acts of others for whom they are legally responsible. They will be jointly liable when the responsibility for the damages cannot be attributed to any one individual or entity.

These are only general guidelines and not definitive statements of the law, all questions about the lawÂ’s applications to individual cases should be directed to a Spanish Lawyer. If you know what the process is and which are your rights, when something happens, do not let anybody tell you that there is no way to solve it. You may have signed a contract but the builder has signed it too and he has got as many obligations as you have got rights! 

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