A Nota Simple is an official extract report that contains a full property description and can be obtained from the local property title registry office or, by subscribers, over the Internet. This is a very important document in Spain, as it contains information about the legal status of a property. If you intend to buy a property of any kind, it is very important to know who is the registered owner, what is the registered description, and what legal charges or restrictions are registered against the property.
The information contained in the Nota Simple includes:
- The current owner(s), their relationships and when they bought it;
- Any debts secured on it that must be paid before its ownership can be transferred e.g. mortgages, unpaid taxes, community debts, private debts, etc.;
- The boundaries of the property, though these are often hazily described as just the land owned by their neighbour;
- The total square metres of the land and the gross overwall area of all built structures;
- The use of the property (whether residential, agricultural, etc);
- The rights that others may have on the property e.g. public paths and rights of way, roads, water, sewage, etc.;
- The share of the costs of the community of owners in which it lies;
- And if you are really fortunate, the Catastral reference.
Before you request a Nota Simple, you will need to provide the following information:
The full name of the individual owner or owning company. Ideally, but not essentially, you should also have the NIE, CIF or passport number.
The Property Registry data, which can be either the Finca number or the unique identification number: IDUFIR.
With either of these sets of information you can carry out a search of the whole of Spain and obtain details on all the property owned by an individual or company. As there can be many owners with similar names, it’s best if you can restrict the search ideally to the minimum of which registry office the property is registered in.
You can obtain a Nota Simple in Spanish, from the land registry and this can be requested in person at any registry office. Alternatively, go online where requests are usually obtained within 24-48 hours. In both methods there is a small charge. Alternatively, ask somebody with a subscription to obtain information for you.
As stated above, the Nota Simple will contain information as to whether there are debts associated with the property. It is possible for debts of an individual to be attached to the property he owns although they may have no other link to the property itself. Be aware that if there are debts attached to the property, then it is essential that they are cleared before the ownership is passed over to the buyer, otherwise they will remain and become the responsibility of the new owner.
You may find, on receipt of the Nota Simple that its description is not the same as the actual property. An error in the description of either accommodation or the floor area is important and should be rectified by the seller prior to the sale. It may be that improvements have been carried out on the property and their absence on the document is sometimes an indication that work has been carried out without permission.
Inaccuracies may also mean that a mortgage valuer working for a Spanish lender or insurer could have to value on a reduced basis, as they are obliged by law to use the lesser of the actual area and that recorded in the title, whenever there is a difference between the two. Outbuildings such as garages, stores and even swimming pools should be recorded too, as this all affects the value of a property. However, unless you have an excellent grip of Spanish or are adept at dealing with Spanish bureaucracy, it is recommended that the Nota Simple is discussed with a legal expert or property professional, to make sure that all is in order and the property meets your requirements.
If you would like more information about the Nota Simple and how it could affect you, the team at Survey Spain Network is available to offer informed help and advice. We have the advantage of carrying out Acquisition Surveys of the building and being able to compare the actual property with the Nota Simple and the Catastral description (see other article) and thus make sure that differences are caught prior to purchase, so that correcting them remains the responsibility of the seller and is not transferred to the buyer, at his or her future cost.
Article courtesy of Campbell D. Ferguson, Survey Spain Network – www.surveyspain.com