At last some sign of rationality is emerging in policy towards Spanish property market data, which appears to have been guided more by self interest in turf wars between different official bodies like the Notaries, Registrars, Cadastre, and National Institute of Statistics.
Last Friday the Spanish Cabinet approved draft legislation to modify the workings of the Cadastre to avoid what was called “contradictory and incomplete” information.
The lack of coordination of data between the Cadastre, which tracks specific maps and descriptions for land, and the Property Registry, creates problems identifying the proper property boundaries and leads to more bureaucratic hurdles for the public. The new proposals, intended to improve the exchange of data between the Cadastre and the Property Register, will avoid the need for 22,000 declarations in person each year and save an estimated €1.8 million a year, government officials estimate.
Under the new regulations, both bodies will use the cadastral maps as standard, although there will be some exceptions. The Government hopes this change will reduce legal disputes, and streamline procedures and reduce costs.
Under the current system, the Cadastre and Registry use different maps which are often difficult to reconcile. The procedures for sharing data are antiquated and insufficient, and it’s difficult to know when property details in the Registry are the same as the details in the Cadastre.
This situation “impedes real control whilst generating insecurity” by, for example, allowing duplicate inscriptions, government officials say. The confusion also makes it harder to identify properties that are built illegally or on public land, a major source of dispute in Spain.
Under the new proposal Notaries and Registrars will still be responsible for inscribing properties in the Register, and correcting data like sizes and building features, including graphic material, borders, duplications and charges. In future, however, they will use cadastral maps as standard.
The draft law also calls for the standardisation of the recording of church property in the register, reducing special treatment that the Church in Spain still enjoys, according to coverage in El Mundo. The Church will lose special treatment in the way its properties are recorded in the property register. Church property never needed to be inscribed in the register until as recently as 1998.
Any move toward rationalising and streamlining the conveyancing process is welcome, and will benefit buyers and sellers and the property industry alike. But some would argue the the current proposals don’t go far enough, and still confer succulent fees to the notaries and registrars. High transaction costs are one of the biggest problems holding back the recovery.