Real estate—Spain—Q&A guide
Real estate—Spain—Q&A guide

The following Property practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Real estate—Spain—Q&A guide
  • 1. How would you explain your jurisdiction’s legal system to an investor?
  • 2. Does your jurisdiction have a system for registration or recording of ownership, leasehold and security interests in real estate? Must interests be registered or recorded?
  • 3. What are the legal requirements for registration or recording conveyances, leases and real estate security interests?
  • 4. What are the requirements for non-resident entities and individuals to own or lease real estate in your jurisdiction? What other factors should a foreign investor take into account in considering an investment in your jurisdiction?
  • 5. If a non-resident invests in a property in your jurisdiction, are there exchange control issues?
  • 6. What types of liability does an owner or tenant of, or a lender on, real estate face? Is there a standard of strict liability and can there be liability to subsequent owners and tenants including foreclosing lenders? What about tort liability?
  • 7. How can owners protect themselves from liability and what types of insurance can they obtain?
  • 8. How is the governing law of a transaction involving properties in two jurisdictions chosen? What are the conflict of laws rules in your jurisdiction? Are contractual choice of law provisions enforceable?
  • 9. Which courts or other tribunals have subject-matter jurisdiction over real estate disputes? Which parties must be joined to a claim before it can proceed? What is required for out-of-jurisdiction service? Must a party be qualified to do business in your jurisdiction to enforce remedies in your jurisdiction?
  • More...

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to real estate in Spain published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: October 2020).

Authors: Monereo Meyer Abogados—Janis Amort; Mónica Regaño Aguirre

1. How would you explain your jurisdiction’s legal system to an investor?

The Spanish legal system is a civil law system. Generally, parties may conclude an oral agreement about an estate, which would be perfectly valid. However, it is highly advisable to conclude a written contract in a real estate context. Furthermore, with regard to the acquisition of real estate, the contract should be formalised in a public deed and registered at the Property Registry to protect the rights of the buyer against third parties. In general, laws are applicable at a national level with regard to real estate, although in some autonomous communities (eg, Catalonia) special regulations exist.

2. Does your jurisdiction have a system for registration or recording of ownership, leasehold and security interests in real estate? Must interests be registered or recorded?

Ownership and other specific rights in Spain are recorded at the competent property registry where the real estate is located. Each property registry is administrated by a registrar. Registration is, in many cases, merely declaratory, but not mandatory. Nonetheless, there are important exceptions. For instance, it is legally required that mortgages be registered to be

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