29 Sep, 2016 @ 08:45
1 min read

Legal myths in Spain

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FLORES: Word-to-the-wise

IN our previous column, we discussed a number of “law” urban legends believed by both expats and locals. Here we discuss a few more:


Antonio Flores
Antonio Flores

Squatters have rights: This idea has been thrown around many times, without legal backing. Squatters have no title to property and can be evicted…but always through the Courts.
Verbal rental contracts don’t exist: if anything, a rental agreement exists the moment the tenant makes one rental payment. Where no term was agreed, the contract will be deemed agreed for at least 1 year (and can be extended to 3 at the tenant’s discretion).

Contracts not in Spanish are void: I cannot count how many times I have heard this. According to Spanish legal practice, any language that is recognized as official in any country of the world is good for a contract; the reason is that it can be ‘officially’ translated by a registered interpreter.

“Without prejudice” law phrase in a letter: In some countries, when used in a document or letter, without prejudice means that what follows (a) cannot be used as evidence in a court case, (b) cannot be taken as the signatory’s last word on the subject  or c) cannot be used as a precedent. In Spain, such a phrase has no legal significance. The only exception are letter or other communications between lawyers, which are by statute “without prejudice” and can never be used as evidence in a Court of law.

You could be arrested if you have debts: Article 1 of Protocol No. 4 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, of which Spain is a signatory country, states the following: “Prohibition of imprisonment for debt: no one shall be deprived of his liberty merely on the ground of inability to fulfil a contractual obligation”. Joining this treaty means that you return to Spain having debts here, you will never be arrested at an airport.

Antonio Flores (Columnist)

Lawyer Antonio Flores is the legal columnist for the Olive Press. Antonio has been practising law since 1997, year in which he began working for a large law firm in Marbella as a Property Lawyer. In 1998 he left the company he had joined a few months earlier, and used his knowledge and the experience gained to build his own practice. He is known throughout the community as independent, reputable and trustworthy. Through a combination of strong work ethics, determination and international exposure, his competence of Spanish Law is unparalleled and demonstrated through his fluency in English and Spanish.

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