ALTHOUGH not many people know it, in Spanish law, neighbours in rural areas and farm owners, have the right to demand that they can purchase adjacent land if it has been sold to a third party.
To explain, if you buy or sell what is considered rustic land in Spain, direct neighbours will have the right to purchase the property from the new buyer, as long as the requirements mentioned in Spanish civil code (Cc) are met, in the article 1523 first paragraph:
“The owners of the adjacent lands will also have the right to retract when it comes to the sale of a rustic property whose size does not exceed one hectare.”
Therefore, the conditions to have this right to obtain the neighbour’s property, are:
1.-That he must be the owner of the adjacent land or plot.
2.-The property transferred must be rustic and must not exceed 10,000 square metres.
3.-This right may not be exercised if the plots are separated by streams, ditches, ravines, roads and other apparent rights in benefit to other plots.
The deadline to exercise this preferential acquisition right is nine days from the registration of the sale of the land property or failing that, from when the sale is known.
According to article 1518Cc, whoever exercises the retraction must pay the contract and necessary expenses (sale price, notary expenses, land registry, etc.) and also the useful expenses made on the thing sold, that is any expenditure that may have been made by the new owner on the property must also be paid by the neighbour who wishes to acquire the property through the retraction; such as fencing, new construction or improvement of existing ones, etc.
The reason for this right, which is an exception to the property right, is justified in the supposed public interest in the fact that the rustic properties are NOT divided excessively. Most judges require that it must be justified in each specific case that there is an agriculture profit and that the dedication of the applicant to the agriculture, farming, etc. in a regular way. Therefore, if you want to buy a rustic property or land (not deemed for urbanisation) in Spain, if you want to claim your preferent purchase right on a sold property, or if you have been sued by your neighbour, contact our law firm () to receive professional legal advice.
The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues.