Buying an off plan property without escritura

This topic contains 10 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Anonymous 12 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #52439


    Could someone please help us? I have been searching the forum for answers but couldn’t find a similar situation.

    We are buying a detached villa in Murcia which is now totally built and ready to occupy (only 6 months behind completion date in contract). However, the developer cannot produce the certificate of first occuaption because the development was on rustic land and the definitive permission has not been given by the Town hall. This means that our parcel of land does not have its own escritura. We have paid 40% with the balance due on completion and production of the escritura by the seller.

    The seller has offered us the keys now if we pay the balance and has offered free water and electricity until the paperwork is sorted. The development has about 200 villas and about 30% of buyers have gone down this route and have been living there for up to two years.
    I am concerned that if we take this option, the property may never have its own escritura or at worst, the Town Hall might knock it down.

    We have a clause in our contract that says we can have all our money back (with interest) if the legal paperwork cannot be produced by the seller by 28 January 2007. I am wondering if this would be our best option? The trouble is, I have read so many posts on this forum which say how hard it is to get your money back.

    I have since heard that the developer has fallen on hard times and my big worry now is that the company will become bankrupt. If this did happen would we lose all our money to date? and would be better off if we did buy the house before it has its own escritura?

    If you buy a property which does not have an escritura and certificate of first occuaption, do you still go the notary and complete as normal and at what stage do you pay your tax?

    We do not have a bank guarantee (because the seller refused to produce one) and we have employed two independent solicitors who have not been able to give us any answers. We have just employed a new solicitor and we are waiting for his comments.

    Can anyone give us some advice or is anyone in the same situation?

  • #67328

  • #67329


    What does it say about the legal system here when people have not just one but other lawyers and still they are unclear 🙄 When we first bought a property here we just paid the 10% and left the lawyer to get on with it, if you have to check what the lawyer is doing and research the law what is the point of hiring them, I think the system here just now is disgraceful, hope this time you have a good lawyer..good luck 🙂

  • #67330


    You are buying off-plan and the property is rustic ???!!!

    Did your lawyer advise you to go on ahead ?

    Being rustic land it is totally forbidden to build on it. You will probably never get that Licence of First Occupation.

    Problem is that your lawyer (who recommended you that lawyer ?) should have advised you not to buy off-plan on rustic land. It will be very difficult for you to claim breach of contract because i’m sure the contract mentions it is rustic.

    You will never get Bank Guarantees because no bank will do this on rustic land as it is completely illegal. You will get no guarantees on your stage payments, I’m sorry.

    The Spanish Authorities as of late are going nuts on this issue due to the coming municpal (local) elections next year. Many majors are being imprisoned and denounced on planning corruption.

    I recommend you to hire an independant lawyer in your area recommended by Mark (web administrator). And you better start thinking of going to the Bar College and denounce the lawyer you hired in the first place for not warning you on the very stupid thing you were doing on signing such a contract.

  • #67332


    Our solicitor in Spain has now retired. Our new solicitor has only been appointed for two weeks so I am waiting to hear their opinion on what we have done!

    I say the land is rustic because it used to be a farmers field and is in a rural location. I don’t know what the official classification is. There are about 30 to 40 projects going on around our site (most of them golf developments) and they all seem to be on farmimg land, so how do any of them get planning consent? Surely they must all have obtained a change of use?

  • #67334

  • #67338


    Discovering the classification of your plot is crucial to your decision. A quick visit to the local ayuntamiento planning department should establish the facts in less than 20 minutes. The plot will be either rustic, urbanisable, or urban.

  • #67339


    Thanks for all your pointers and information. It is much appreciated!

  • #67342


    Perhaps someone may correct me but a property does not have an escritura. The escritura is merely a document, normally a sales one, signed by 2 or more parties, which is then registered at the land registry after which both parties have their originals to prove the correct process has taken place. There is nothing to stop you signing an escritura if the other party is willing to but it would be very unwise under the circumstances you describe. I agree with earlier comments in that you need a very good lawyer and to have the exact system of buying a property in your area clearly laid out for you.

    Good Luck

    Terry English

  • #67349


    Hi Terry

    An escritura is a public deed or title deed which is signed in front of a public official (ie the Notary) who is there to ensure that the transaction is conducted in good faith

    As far as I am aware all property has an escritura and the transfer of a property cannot take place without one – you cannot just make one up.

    I think what Gary is on about is that the builder has built a number of properties on a plot of land without first subdividing them – in which case it will not have a separate escritura – only one that covers all the properties on that plot of land.

    This can cause major problems later on. For example if someone has a mortgage on the property (for example the developer) and defaults on the payments – then everyone involved will lose their property if the bank repossesses. This is a simple basic check that should have been carried out before any money was parted.

    Therefore there is legally nothing to stop him signing the escritura – except for the fact the property doesnt have an exclusive one so this will be impossible to do. I think what you are getting mixed up with is a private contract which is a contract between two individuals that does not need the presence of a notary.



  • #67370


    Hi Vince,

    What I meant was that there is no escritura unique to a property. Each time it is sold a new escritura is created, signed by buyer and seller, or should be. If as you say the developer has not subdivided the plots then perhaps Gary should ask the developer to obtain a segregation licence for his plot but looking at the general text of what has been said I think good and prompt legal advice is urgently needed. Perhaps a start could be obtaing an extract from the Land Registry to see what the current ownership situation is and if there are any “charges” on the property.

    Best regards


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