During the process of buying a property in Spain you will come across a number of Spanish legal terms and phrases, as well as non-legal terms and phrases. We have provided below simple explanations of some of the most common terms and where you might come across them in your journey towards buying a property in Spain.
This is a local charge for refuse collection. In some areas this charge is included with the IBI and in some areas it is separate. Depending upon the area you may be charged monthly, quarterly, six-monthly or annually.
Certificate of habitation/Licence of first or second occupation
This is a document confirming that the property has been registered to be used as a dwelling. Occasionally it is referred to as the “cedula”. In areas where this document is issued as standard it is required for the completion meeting.
Community of Property Owners
In Spain where a building or development has communal areas a community of property owners is formed to ensure that the maintenance costs are covered and any necessary work carried out. Each property within a development is responsible for a certain percentage of the fees.
The completion of your purchase. In Spain the meeting to complete your purchase takes place in the presence of a Notary.
Contrato de arras
Energy Performance Certificate
By law this certificate must be in place in order to sell a property in Spain. It is a certificate confirming the energy efficiency of a property. It is a document that the seller must obtain.
This is a local tax payable by all property owners in Spain that is similar to Council Tax. It is usually payable annually and usually payment can only be accepted by the Town Hall during a certain period within the year. Payment by Direct Debit from a Spanish bank account can usually be arranged.
The Número de Identidad de Extranjero or NIE is a Spanish tax number for non-residents of Spain. You need to have this number in place in order to be involved in any official process in Spain, such as buying a property, buying a car, getting your property connected to utilities and for paying taxes.
Non-resident’s income tax
This is an extract from the property registry relating to a specific property. It is similar to an Office Copy as extracted from the Land Registry in England & Wales. It states the names of the owners, the registered surface area of the property as well as listing any charges secured against the property. When enquiries are made in respect of a property that you wish to purchase in Spain this is one of the documents that will be considered.
The Notary in Spain is a professional witness to agreements and transactions. The function of the Notary in the context of a property purchase is to confirm that all of the points of the purchase have been agreed between the buyer and the seller. The Notary will issue a stamped Escritura shortly after the completion meeting.
Power of Attorney
Spanish Property Registry
Purchase Tax/ ITP/ Transfer Tax
This is the tax paid by the buyer upon the purchase of a property in Spain. For more information about purchase tax when buying a property in Spain, please read our page on the costs of buying property in Spain here.