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How do you check whether a home has been seized?

Bank seize property in Spain

You want to buy a property in Spain and you worry about whether the property is encumbered with a lien or an attachment. How do you check that?

If there is an embargo on the home, a seizure can easily be the next step.

Read in this buyers tip how you can check this and what forms of seizures there are.

An embargo, an unpleasant surprise

One of the most important things to check when you are going to buy a house in Spain is whether there is a lien on the property; or even worse, if the lien has been acted on and there is already a seizure on the house. If there is an embargo on the property that you want to buy, that can lead to unpleasant surprises afterwards. This is because a lien or seizure remains on the property, even after you have purchased it.

How to check

The check itself is fairly easy to achieve, provided you have the correct information about the property. This is also where the problem is. Many owners or selling agents in Spain are very scanty with providing information. Especially at the start of negotiations, they prefer to show as few documents as possible.

Information is difficult to provide

We recently experienced it once again with the purchase of a Moraira property. The selling agent refused to provide documentation of the property. He first wanted to receive a deposit of € 3,000 before submitting the data from the property register. The Dutch couple who wanted to buy have dropped out on our advice. They went looking for another home in the Moraira area.

Ask for the "finca number"

Once you are in possession of the "finca number" and know in which property register you should search, it is no longer difficult. Another way to access the details of the property is through the passport number or ID card number of the owner. You can get that data, but you have to actually get hold of it. The best thing you can do is try to talk to the seller and ask him if he wants to give you the details of the property.

The "Nota Simple"

Either way before you make a payment to the selling party you must have seen the "Nota Simple". That is the Spanish name of the document that it is all about. The Nota Simple is actually the "baptismal plot" of the home. In this document you will find everything you need to know about the property. I have written about this document before.

What is a lien?

A right of pledge entails the right to retain someone's possessions in order to pay an outstanding debt that has not been settled within the set periods. It can be applied to bank accounts or what we are talking about here, on property.

Who can establish a lien?

A right of pledge can never be established by an ordinary citizen. Only a judge or a competent authority (the public administration) has authorisation for this. It is a precautionary measure that guarantees the payment of contracted and unpaid debts, thus eliminating the uncertainty as to whether the contracted debts will be paid in the future. Or simply put: "if you do not meet your payment obligation, your home or bank account will be seized"

Types of seizure

- Preventive seizure: takes place before a person or company is sued in a lawsuit for non-payment to the bank. It is used to guarantee compliance with a future court judgment. If it concerns a property such as this, it must be registered in the property register. This registration makes it public for everyone who wants to see it. The preventive or precautionary attachment is therefore a precautionary measure and can be lifted if the debtor meets his obligations.

- Foreclosure seizure: this happens when the court imposes the payment obligation. It is an irrevocable measure and means that the property is permanently lost. When the lien has commenced, the law gives the debtor a period, usually one to two years, to catch up. If this does not happen, the judicial auction is ordered. The law stipulates a maximum period of four years for the execution of the seizure. If the term is observed and there is no longer a claim, the debtor is released from the obligation to pay.

Check and understand

There are many important documents and provisions in the purchasing process of properties in Spain. With a good check in advance you avoid annoying surprises afterwards.

If you come across something during the purchase of your house in Spain, or something is not clear, call or email me.