New tidings we bring

… but law changes present scant joy for Spain’s homeowners in 2016

LAST UPDATED: 8 Jan, 2016 @ 16:03

Campbell Ferguson
Campbell Ferguson

NEW Year is a time to look forward to things that will be significant in the coming months … the perfect opportunity to look at recent changes in legislation and how they will affect property owners in Spain in 2016.

  1. Certificado de Eficiencia Energetica (CEE)

National law states that every property for sale or rent must have a CEE (Certificado de Eficiencia Energética) for the sale to be fully registered. The onus is on the seller to provide a copy of the energy certificate that has been registered with the Junta de Andalucía. Beware that some less-than-scrupulous arquitectos are only providing the first stage, then charging more for the Junta Certificate! Many agents, solicitors and owners are risking substantial fines by not having this available when they start marketing, as the law says they should have.

The certificate, which lasts for 10 years, should contain recommendations on how to improve the energy rating of the property. If the registered certificate is not available, the property sale should not be accepted by the Title Registrar, leaving the buyer at considerable risk as effectively they only have a private contract with the seller. The seller’s future debts could be secured against the property as he/she is still the registered owner, or the sale could be contested by another ‘buyer’.

  1. Local Property Taxes (IBI)

Before official electioneering had started, the Government announced that as from 1 January 2016, local property taxes (IBI) will be reduced by as much 20 per cent in homes that are energy efficient according to the following schedule.

Grade A – 20%; Grade B – 16%; Grade C – 12%; Grade D – 8%; Grade E – 4%.

Those in Grades F or G, which is the grading of the majority of properties we see in our building surveys or valuations, or where a certificate has not been submitted, will receive no rebate. We consider that it’s only a matter of time before the lowest grades are taxed higher, so the energy rating will become more significant in property sales.

  1. Title Registry Changes

In June 2014 the Spanish Government announced their intention of merging the Title Registry and Catastral data to achieve more accuracy, with Titles eventually incorporating Catastral plans. Now that has become a law requiring a topographical survey of all properties where the Catastral or Nota Simple descriptions are different, or are being changed. Where you see a note stating that the Catastral description has not been graphically coordinated, buyers and sellers should be wary. It could be another obligation that the seller will have to comply with before a sale can be concluded.

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Campbell Ferguson, FRICS, working from Estepona since 2001 plus three years in Madrid, is at the heart of the Survey Spain Network, which links 15 RICS qualified chartered surveyors located all round Spain and the Canary and Balearic Islands. Tel: 34 952 923 520 Fax: 34 951 239 216 Email: [email protected] From UK Direct: 0870 800 3520