Updating Title Deeds in Marbella – how easy or difficult to do?

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    • #215050


      I am looking to purchase a 50 year old villa in Marbella that had an extension done and pool installed many years ago but is not reflected on the title deeds today. The owner is willing to get these tittle deeds updated at her cost and we are talking about signing a contract with a 3 month period to closing that would give the owner time to get the title deeds updated to actual size. Is this feasible for the owner to do within a 3 month time scale? How easy or difficult is it to get title deeds updated with previous changes done to the property in Marbella?


    • #215051


      Last month’s article I published dealt with this topic: Legalising Unregistered Property Extensions (just click on the picture below and it will take you to my article).

      3 months may be tight as a deadline. The deeds need to be updated by the seller, there is no question on this.

      Legalising Unregistered Property Extensions


      • #215054

        Thank you for the reply and your timely and informative link. Could I take the liberty to ask you a few more questions?

        If its not updated by the closing date than I would have an option to walk away from the deal. However, thats not the preferred option.

        In the event that it is delayed is it advisable/feasible for me to buy and move into the property while the owners application for updating the records is in progress? (it would of course be previous owner if I buy the property) What would be the risk of doing that?

        What other options could I have (if any) to close the deal while the title deeds are still in progress to being updated but without creating any risks to myself in the future?

        • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by bc1050.
      • #215056

        You are welcome.

        When you write you can walk away from the deal, I take it there are no penalties involved in the contract you have signed on pulling out? You are certain of this?

        Under no circumstances should you move into a property until the deeds have been fully updated to your lawyer’s satisfaction. If you move in, it’s because you have bought the place; if you have, the problem is now yours.

        You just have to be patient and wait until the deeds are updated. You already read all the consequences associated to acquiring a property with illegal extensions in my article. All other options have risks.


      • #215059

        Thank you for the reply and advice. There are no penalties for me and the signing of the contract would be subject to the deeds being signed. The issue for me is delays with getting those deeds updated which delays my plans for moving in, etc but as you say probably best to have some patience. Thanks again

    • #216142


      I appreciate my colleague’s effort to try to explain this tricky issue in a few words, but in reality, there are so many different circumstances that reducing all the complexity to just deal with the Land Registry can be confusing for a buyer.

      First of all, you have to bear in mind that there are three different administrations that have to deal with an extension in a house: Land Registry; Cadastral office; and the Town Hall.

      I think that saying that “unregistered extensions at the Land Registry do not exist legally” it is going a little bit too far. It is true for mortgage purposes, encumbrances or rights in rem; although it is not true for other effects. This is why updating the description of someone’s property in the Land Registry is voluntary.

      Since 2014, updating the information in the Cadastral office is compulsory due to the fact that Council Tax is calculated on the size of the constructions. This is the reason why it can be said that the information about the description of a house in the Cadastral office is more important than the description in the Land Registry.

      But, when talking about legalizing an extension in a house, dealing with the Town Hall is also really important.

      When you have an old building, like this one of a 50-year-old house, updating the Land Registry information can be done with a certificate issued by an architect stating that the house was finished 50 years ago. Then, once registered the extension, the Land Registry will notify the Town Hall and – sometime in the future – the Town Hall will inform the Land Registry about the legal situation of the extension and its consequences, and this info will be registered as “anotación” (other information).

      As this will take several months, most probably the buyer will have bought the house without knowing that there was a problem. For instance: if the extension of the house was not allowed in the Town Planning, then the house will become “Asimilado a fuera de ordenación (AFO)”. In this situation, one can find in the future that a permit to do some works in the house is denied. It has other effects that will be of importance depending on every different situation.


      So, my advice is that your contract has to be very carefully drafted, so you are covered to be able to walk away even if the deed can be updated, but the extensions and the pool are not 100 % legal.

      Should you want our help, you can find information about Ypama Abogados in the website: http://www.ypamaabogados.com. Or you can send me a private message with your telephone number or email address.

    • #216428

      Hi BC. My learned friends above have given the lawyers’ side of the matter. To get the extensions approved will require a licence, which means architect’s plans confirming compliance with the equivalent of the building regs. Ony once all those compliance papers are in place can they be taken to the Catastral’s and Registrar’s offices (which work completely separate systems), which then have to approve them and bring the paperwork up to date. 3 months is very optimistic, especially in Marbella where the municipality’s planning masterpaln (PGOU) is being revised after the 2010 one was declared illegal. Decisions are based on the 1986 one at the moment. As your property was built 50 years ago, before then, the original should be OK, but the extentions may not. That’s why you need a skilled planning specialist lawyer and architect. It could be simple or it could be complicated, but the attitude of the authority won’t be known for sure until the submissions are made.
      So, chances of being in there as owner before Christmas may be slim. However, perhaps you could rent the place from the existing owner in the meantime until you become the owner outright?

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