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The Law in Spain: Putting the Simple in Nota Simple

Simply put, a “nota simple” is a full and comprehensive property report that contains an officially verified description of a property that is up for sale. It can be obtained from your local property title registry office, or if you are a subscriber to their website, it can be downloaded online.

The nota simple is an extremely important document when purchasing a property in Spain. It contains information pertaining to the legal status of the property so, if you are an interested buyer, it outlines who the registered owner is, the property’s registered description, what – if any – legal charges or restrictions are registered against the property, and several other important pieces of information, including:

  • The date the current owners bought the property

  • Any debts on the property that must be settled before ownership can be transferred

  • The property’s defined boundaries

  • The total square metres of the land and the gross overall area of all built structures

  • The defined use of the property (residential, agricultural, etc.)

  • Any rights other users have on the property and land (rights of way, roads, water, etc.)

  • Any community costs for which the owner is liable

In some cases, the nota simple will also include the catastral reference.

Requesting a Nota Simple

In order to obtain a nota simple, you need to provide the individual owner’s full name or the name of the company that owns the property. Ideally, you should also be able to provide an NIE and/or passport number. Alternatively, you can use the property registration data, which is either the “finca” number or the unique identification number IDUFIR.

If you have this information, you are able to carry out a search of any property in Spain. Your nota simple can be obtained in Spanish and requested in person at any registry office.

Dealing with Inaccuracies

Upon receipt of a nota simple, you may well find that there is the occasional discrepancy and inaccuracy between what the report says and what your eyes tell you. These errors are important, and should be flagged up and rectified before the sale is completed. It may sometimes be the case that improvements have been made to the property since the nota simple was completed, but these discrepancies should still be recorded.

They might mean that a Spanish lender will only offer a mortgage on reduced rates, as they are obliged by law to make an estimate based on the lesser of the two pieces of information that are recorded.

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