EDITION: October - December 2018

The function of the Land Registry

By Armin Gutschick & Anja Sämann-Gutschick
Even a layman knows the importance of checking the Land Registry when buying a property in Ibiza. This institution is based on the principle of the public faith registration, i.e., the information about registered properties has objective reliability. In contrast to private contracts, the deed of sale that appears in the registry is opposable to third parties and the recorded data is available to everyone without limitations. 

Normally, a legal adviser can quickly obtain a summary of the property title for information purposes by providing nothing more than the name of its owner. Certifications of the register are more complex since they include, in chronological order, the literal transcription of the entries, such as the purchase or sale of a property, the constitution or cancellation of mortgages, etc. In addition, they contain the marginal notes. Since the public documents presented are not archived in the Property Registry, the contents of these documents are inscribed directly in the property’s sheet. Therefore, certifications are often extensive and convoluted. 

The plans of the property are not included in the Register. The location, surface and the boundaries of the estates are defined by data from the surrounding environment, for example, the names of streets or neighbours and as such the descriptions are not totally accurate. It is advisable, especially if dealing with rural land, to commission a surveyor to take the measurement of the property before buying, as well as including a topographical plan as an annexe in the contract. It is possible to consult the Cadastre in each of the different municipalities but, in general, it doesn’t have very reliable plans. Since the law was changed, the Land Registry now requires a CD to be attached to the deeds. This must be made by a surveyor and contain the essential data and the georeferenced coordinates of the property.

The notary and the registrar perform crucial roles in the registration process: the notary authorises the title deeds issued by the parties and the registrar enters them in the register, with the duty of checking that the notarial deeds comply with formal, material and content requirements. Should any shortcomings be found, the registrar may refuse the entry, and give the reasons for doing so. As a general rule, shortcomings found by the registrar can be corrected. Depending on the case, the notary will have to intervene again, authorising a complementary deed with which the faults detected by the registrar can be corrected.

Before recording a contract of sale, the notary must request a simple note of the property in question in the corresponding land registry. Once the simple note has been presented, a 10 day period starts which places a block in the registry. If within these 10 days the deed of sale has not been signed, the simple note obtained by the notary will lose its validity. Unlike in the case of the Commercial Registry, notaries unfortunately, do not have direct access to the Land Registry and therefore depend on the cooperation of the registrar. On the same day that the deed is executed, the notary will notify the Registry of the change of ownership and a new 60-day registration block will be initiated. During this time and after having paid the corresponding taxes, the buyer must present the deeds to the Registry. •