EDITION: December 2019 - February 2020

Legal Advice for Newly Built Homes

By Armin Gutschick and Anja Sämann-Gutschick
What do you need to bear in mind when declaring a newly built home at the Notary?

Thirty years ago there were very few laws in Spain that regulated the declaration of new-builds, and hardly any requirements for declaring them in the Property Registry. This absence of legislation was probably due to the established practice under the Spanish Civil Code, by which the owner of a piece of land was also deemed to be the owner of the buildings on it. This guaranteed that when a property was sold the buyer automatically became the new owner of its buildings as well. For this reason, many owners chose not to register new buildings at the Property Registry in order to save themselves the costs involved.

However since the ‘90s, the declaration of new-builds has come under much more legal scrutiny. Today it is regulated by both the general Balearic land-use law as well as local legislation, and it has become almost impossible to use a building without proper registration. In fact, over the last few years the legal and administrative requirements regarding new-builds have become ever more rigorous. This includes the registration of any new building as an essential requirement in order to be able to connect to the public water and electricity grids.

To formally declare a new-build on the Balearic Islands you must present the following documentation: the building permit (licencia de obra), the final building completion certificate signed by the architect (certificado final de obra del arquitecto), the geo-referenced coordinates (datos georeferenciados) certificate (presented by a technician who is competent in digital platforms), the final building completion certificate from the Council (certificado final de obra del Ayuntamiento), the habitability certificate (cédula de habitabilidad), the first occupancy licence (licencia de primer ocupación - which needs to be requested from the local Council as soon as you have the habitability certificate), the Building’s Book (libro de edificio), ten years’ insurance (seguro decenal) and a certificate of energy efficiency (certificado de eficiencia energética).

The originals of all of these documents must be presented to a Notary who will incorporate them into the property deed. Once the deed has been issued you will need to obtain what are called „bulletins“ (boletins). These are documents issued by the technicians who have carried out the works, and which certify that the electricity, water and other installations are in good condition. These are essential in order to contract the necessary suppliers. The cost of a new-build declaration deed includes payment of a Stamp Duty, which is based on 1.2% of the value of the property as it appears on the deed.

There is a special procedure for declaring a new-build that is still under construction (obra nueva en construcción). To obtain this, the architect must certify that the current construction is consistent with the project for which the licence was granted. At the Property Registry you register only the part of the building that has already been finished. For example, if 30% of the project has been completed then 30% is registered. This procedure is usually only employed when a residential complex is being built.

Summing up, you can see that the requirements for officially declaring a new-build have continually increased over time. What used to be a simple declaration by the owner of a building, now requires you to provide numerous documents, and to prove compliance with various regulations. To manage all of these legal hurdles it is a good idea to get the advice of an expert who can guide you to create a new-build declaration deed that can be legally inscribed at the Property Registry.