Ripoll Abogados



This is one of the occasions where we find it difficult explaining a concept to our customers. When we say that “in order to match the description of your property to that described in your Title Deed, you have to make a declaration of new work”; “What’s new in my house, which has not been built for years and we have no problems?” … they usually ask, to which we have to reply it is an “old new work”.

What is a “new work”?

Obviously, everyone will understand what a “new work” is, is one that is being built or has just been finished; nevertheless, in the language of the law “new work” is all work without a trail, it does not exist according to the legal papers or it isn’t inscribed in the land registry (yet).

In other words, there are two types of declaration of “new work”:

  • “New work” in reality, which are those that are being built or have just been built (intent to inscribe)
  • “New work” for the world of the Property Registry, which is any existing work in reality and which should have been inscribed in the Property Registry, regardless of when it has been built. As an example, when the owner bought a house 20 years ago and afterwards he built a swimming-pool, a barbecue, a terrace, a new floor or a garage for example but, he did not reflect these changes in the deed, and therefore, they do not appear in the Property Registry (not inscribed)

The declaration of “new work” is a manifestation made in a public deed in which the owner or owners of a property state that, in that property, a building has been made or is being built, or it reflects an improvement of the property, with the purpose that said work is registered in the Property Registry.

Why register work in the Property Pegistry?

Well, there are some arguments beyond the fact that the Bank imposes it on you to sign a mortgage loan, because it is more than obvious whether the work is declared or not in the Property Registry, the work exists, and obviously belongs to the owner.

If you ever decide to sell the property the new owner will certainly wish to have all the existing work existing also declared in the deed.

However, if you do not declare the work and register it in the Land Registry, remember that: the one who buys does not have to assume those expenses; and that numerous appraisers condition the valuations to the new work being declared, being that the bank without appraisal does not grant mortgage loans.

To understand me, it is similar to trying to sell a car without papers, obviously, you can sell it, but the price will be lower: first because sorting through the documentation of the car is costly and a nuisance; but also, because there may be someone who doubts that the new work complies with the law.

It is strongly advisable to declare all the existing works in your property, included all in your deed and also, it is advisable not to wait until you sell the house to declare all the existing works because the planning regulations changes and it may happen that at the moment you decide to legalize all the works, in the sense of including them and updating your deed, this is no longer possible and then, you may face difficulties with selling your house.

The lawyer and the notary are the competent professionals in Spain to advise you in this process.




After 23 years of assisting Norwegians with the purchase of homes and land in Spain we can confirm that it is perfectly possible to invest your savings and purchase properties in Spain with absolutely no risk!

First and most important advice is Do Not Be In A Hurry! Probably, it has taken years to gather enough money to buy a house in Spain, and you should not spend it in just a few days. Take it easy. Spain is a very good place to invest your money and to spend most part of the year under the sunshine. But please be calm. The purchase of a property usually happens two or three times, at most, throughout a lifetime. It is worthwhile making this enormous investment with patience, security and calmness.

We realize that this is not always easy. Some vendors and some agents are extremely eager to close the deal when you have shown some interest in a property. The argument we always hear is that there is another interested purchaser eager to pay the deposit immediately so that if you wait too long you will lose the house.  This has been always the same through the years.  Even in times when the real estate sector was absolutely paralyzed in Spain. Moreover, we can say that, the fewer sales, the more pressure on buyers to sign the contract and make the first payment.

Keep in mind, that the first contract, the initial contract in which you make the first payment is absolutely binding in all its terms, price and conditions. Once that first contract is signed, you may not have the option to back out even if you discover that the house is not what you expected or, that there are some legal troubles affecting that property. The provisions in the contract might not be sufficient to cancel the contract and specially, to get your money back if the vendor do not agree with you.  It may also be that the seller has made new constructions on the property, pool, garage or barbecue but that they never declared the new work done, and they do not appear in the title deed. You may face problems if you want to sell again and you are not able to add them to the deed because planning regulations have changed and it is no longer possible to extend the property legally. This is quite frequent.

Therefore, our advice is that before signing any contract or paying any moneys let a professional check ALL the legal conditions of the property, by asking for the information to the Town-Hall, Suma, Land Registry, Catastro, Community of owners etc. The reply from these institutions is not always as fast as expected. It can take days and weeks.

The provisions in the contract that the vendor will pay you back the money in case something is not in order, is not a sufficient guarantee.  Your reason to not complete the purchase should be enough reason for you to cancel the sale. It may not be. Even more, the seller could compel you to buy even though you discover that you do not want that property.

The conclusion is that it is perfectly possible to buy in Spain without risk provided you engage a professional and expect it takes time to control the legality of the operation and draft a contract that is best in your particular case. Each client and each transaction needs its own particular contract. The professional, a lawyer, is the only one able to evaluate that  the conditions in the contract cover all your interests.

We do not try to alarm you. On the contrary, we have assisted in thousands of transactions during more than 25 years with no unpleasant surprises, we just ask for time to do the job. Let the professionals work. Sometimes we have to not only fight against the vendor or the real estate agent but, also with our own client, eager to close the deal as soon as possible.  We have a lot of responsibility if something goes wrong.

The main question is:  What do you prefer?

  1. To risk that someone else goes ahead with the purchase (what happens very seldom, but may off course happen)?  or,
  2. To risk your money and your peaceful dream? There are thousands of properties for sale in Spain.


Letting your property in Spain

Our experience is that people who rent properties believe that a standard contract is valid for all leases and that the conditions agreed in the contract are always valid no matter what the law says.

These two errors are very common and they can be very expensive and cause a lot of trouble for both the owner and the tenant.

In this article, we try to give some basic advice about the most common types of lease.

Number 1, we have the lease of “tourist accommodation” Viviendas turísticas. Since the entry into force of the regulation in 2015 of this type of lease, the owners who rent their homes have been panicking and been running to register their homes as “tourist accommodation” for fear of fines up to 90.151,82.-€  that the law hands out to those who do not include their properties  in this special register.

However, not all rentals are considered “tourist accommodation”. Only those meeting the following conditions, number 2:

(1) When providing services specific to the hotel industry, such as cleaning, changing beds or doing laundry during the lease, and not only at the beginning or the end of the rental period or looking after the suitcases.

(2) When your rental is advertised through tourist channels such as web pages or tour operators.

If none of the above conditions are met, it will be considered an ordinary private permanent or seasonal rental and therefore, not subject to this special registration.

The most common rental is the private one, either permanent or seasonal. In these cases the owner is not obliged to register the dwelling nor the contract, in any register.

The fundamental difference between these two types of rental is that, if a tenant rents a permanent housing or habitual residence, the tenant has the right to occupy the dwelling for a minimum term of 3 years regardless whatever duration the parties have agreed in the contract. The law provides the tenant with a right to enlarge the rental period up to 3 years.

This means that if the owner has agreed a rental period of 1 year, the term of the year has expired, the tenant has the right to stay in the property for two more years, until the minimum term of 3 years, even if the owner does not want and wishes to recover the property for his own use. Under certain circumstances, this right of the tenant can be avoid.

For this important reason and others, we strongly recommend you to have the lease contract written or at least, supervised by a lawyer, who is the professional specializing on the law. Lawyer can save you a lot of money, troubles and headaches in the long run.


Non Resident tax, again

The first question to clarify is the difference between a resident and a non-resident in Spain, for tax purposes.

Many foreigners believe that they are residents in Spain because they live here most of the year. However, this does not imply that you are a resident in Spain in terms of tax residence.

If you live in Spain but your source of income for example is a foreign pension and therefore your government deducts your taxes from the pension you receive in your country, you are not a tax resident. Even though you pay the taxes related to the ownership of your property here, such as property tax collected by SUMA. It does not mean that you are a resident in Spain for tax purposes.

Apart from property tax, a Non-Resident owning a property in Spain is obliged to pay another tax every year, before the 31st December. This tax, called Non-Residents Income Tax is like a self- assessment, meaning that you will not receive an invoice from SUMA as it happens with the property tax but, you have to complete a Form with your details and those of your property, calculate the tax, pay it and deliver the Form to the Tax authorities.

Our experience is that this tax is unknown to most foreign owners, but it is still a tax you are obliged to pay.

The reality is, when you sell your house and ask for the refund of the amount that the buyer is obliged to deduct from the price ( 3%), the authorities will put all kinds of obstacles in your way to try to keep the money and will charge you a penalty for the years you have not paid the tax.

If this is your case, now you have time enough before the 31st December 2017 to contact a professional. They will assist you in arranging the payment of this tax obligation, and they only need to see the last property tax receipt from SUMA. On the receipt, it will say the valor catastral, which is assessed by the authorities for your property and will be the one used as the basis for calculating this tax.



I would like to explain our fees below:

The first meeting is free up to one hour. Depending on the type of case, we can offer hourly rate, set prices, and monthly prices (for businesses only). We do not accept cases on a so called no-cure-no-pay base, or a pure % of the result. Normally we would be paid by an hourly rate, however we see ourselves as flexible regarding pricing, which means we may agree on a set price.

When you give us an assignment, the lawyer will have a right to be paid even if the case didn’t turn out quite as you expected, and at the same time the lawyer has an obligation to do the best job possible, in line with the judicial- and legal ethical rules. With us the client will always be safe in the knowledge that confidentiality is always respected and that we are 100 % independent in our advice.

Normal services, like secretarial work, copying, letters etc., is included in the price, whilst other cost and expenses we have in dealing with your case has to be covered by the client. Some typical examples will be: Burofaxes, translations, fee-based services, printouts from the land registry, Notarius Publicus, taxes etc.

Normally we would ask for an advance payment on account before we see the assignment as accepted. We would normally ask for 30-50 % of the estimated cost. The money is to be deposited in a client account belonging to Ripoll Abogados. The money will be used to pay expenses larger than 50 euro, and to pay towards our fees. The client will accept this without us first having to ask for consent.

Our estimated prices per 1st of January 2017 for works done by the partner in the office, is 150 euro + vat, a total of 181.50 euro per hour.

We normally will invoice every 1-3 months, and include a summary, but this depends on circumstances.


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Your first contact when you decide to buy property in Spain will almost certainly be an estate agent.

In many countries, an estate agent is a registered professional who can be held financially responsible if he intermediates in a sale and the terms later turn out to be falsely based.

In Spain there is no law regulating real estate agents. Anyone at all may act as intermediary in property sales. This means it is difficult to hold an estate agent responsible when a purchase goes wrong. If your estate agent causes you to suffer loss, either through negligence or honest error, you will have hard time obtaining any recompense.

Once you have decided to buy a property through an estate agent, use a Spanish lawyer to assist you with contracts, payments and taxes involved when buying a property in Spain. Use the right professional for the right job. The estate agent will make you happy by choosing the property which suits you the best and, the Spanish lawyer will make you feel relaxed and sure that the provisions in the contract do not contain any tricky clauses working to your disadvantage, if the Lawyer are obliged to be members of the seller really holds clear title or if there are unpaid taxes or fees on the property.

Lawyers are obliged to be members of the The Bar Association (the College of Lawyers), the professional organization that watches standards. Every member lawyer has an insurance policy to cover professional negligence. You can complain directly to this body about the activities of one of its member lawyers.

Both professionals; agents and lawyers have different obligations. For your benefit, neither the lawyers should be involved in the intermediation, nor the agents should  substitute the job of the lawyers.

Who is the Notary Public?


The notarial system in Spain follows the continental European system.


The notary is a public official of the State as well as a highly qualified law professional. Access to the notary requires intense and deep law studies, as well as a hard and objective selection procedure.


The notary signs deeds, documents that offer maximum legal security in Spanish law.  The essential features of the deeds are:

1. If it says it is true, it is true

2. The agreements reached by the parties can be implemented without need for further confirmation.

3. Deeds conform to what the laws says

Deeds only circulate through copies, the matrix that keeps the original signatures of the parties, is kept in the office of the notary until it is signed by the Notarius Publicus.  Subsequently deeds are kept at the historical archive, so that copies of the title deeds can be obtained for at least hundred years.

The most common deeds include the following:

1. Selling and buying of properties

2. Establishing mortgages and warranties

3. Wills

4. Inheritance deeds

5. Powers of attorney


Notaries apply a fixed fee set by the Government. All the notaries of Spain charge the same for the same services. The competition between them is only based on quality.

Notary costs can be fixed, as in the case of wills, powers etc., or variable, depending on the value of the assets of the business, such as mortgages and purchases.

The notary is obliged to give you a detailed invoice.


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