Following in the wheel ruts of driving over lemons
IT’S fair to say that the vast majority of my work as a lawyer in the last 30 years has been acting for clients as an independent lawyer for purchases of villas and apartments, and now as Consul I am having many requests about having a property here, but what about buying your dream home in rural Spain?
Sandy beaches, convenient English- speaking bars and restaurants aren’t something that a small minority of buyers want here in Spain.
What about those of you who wish for example to emulate Chris Stewart in ‘Driving over Lemons’ in the Alpujarras and make a go of an off-grid farm or finca as it is called here in Spain? Well it’s certainly possible, I increasingly find myself in a rural Notary office signing for a client, but the legal challenges you’ll face could be great.
Sometimes with these rural properties there are questions of whether or not the Cortijo or farmhouse is legal. Does the catastro match the escritura, if any? Does the seller have all the correct paperwork? Do you have the right to take the spring water? Can you get a mortgage? Can you find all the owners of the property? Who is responsible for the upkeep of the track and many other potential problems.
One of the biggest mistakes that potential buyers make is that they assume that they can simply build a house or renovate a ruin.
Don’t be put off, the key here is once you have had your offer accepted like any other purchase in Spain is don’t sign or pay anything until you have taken some specialist legal advice from a lawyer that you have chosen yourself.
That way you will have a qualified legal opinion as to what you are getting into. The Spanish Solicitor or Abogado will be able to liaise with the authorities, local town hall, your architect and builders to ensure that you have the necessary licences to ensure that your rural retreat is everything that you want it to be.
So if you’re planning a move to Spain, whether it is for a new place in the sun or you plan to retire to Spain, take some independent advice. As with all my articles this isn’t legal advice and myself and many other lawyers are at your disposal. Of course ask the lawyer for their registration number and check with the Bar Association that they are able to practise.
If you plan to open a business like a holiday rental (Airbnb, Booking etc) then other legal requirements for will have to be met and this is something for a future article.