The Property Registry is intended to register or record the acts and contracts related to ownership and other real estate rights. These inscriptions or annotations will be made in the Territorial District Registry in which properties are located. The Property Registries of Spain depend on the Ministry of Justice. All related matters are entrusted to the General Directorate of Registries and Notaries.
The entire Territory of Spain is divided into constituencies, called Mortgage Districts. Each Mortgage District has a Property Registry, encharged to a Property Registrar. All the Spain Registrars are integrated into the College of Property, Mercantile and Movable Property Registrars of Spain.
Legitimate interest. The Registries are public for those who have registered rights or an interest in finding out certain real estate status. The interest is presumed in any authority, employee or public official who acts by reason of his position or office.
Nota simple or Simple Note. The "nota simple" is a full and comprehensive property report that contains an officially verified description of a property that is up for sale. It has a purely informative value and does not attest to the content of the entries, without prejudice to the responsibility of the Registrar.
Simple notes are issued at the request of the party: they require a written request from the interested party, even by fax, being filed in the Registry, so that the applicant´s information: his address and ID, can be accessed and kept for 3 years. The consultation can also be carried out by telematic means through the FLOTI (File Locator of Registered Ownerships). The FLOTI is a system for requesting simple notes online; There is NO database that can be accessed immediately and without interest control. User inquiries are directed to a central file in which the Registry contains the required information, qualifies it and, when appropriate, issues the note within 24 hours to the applicant's email address.
Nonetheless, this note will be issued ex officio by the Registrar, if the qualification of a title submitted for registration is positive and the registry status of ownership or charges is discordant with the one reflected in the title (art. 19 bis LH)
These can be ordered through any registrar. Interested parties may freely choose the registrar through which to obtain the registration information related to any property, even if it does not belong to the demarcation of its registration, provided that it must be issued by means of a simple informative note or consists of information on the content of the General Computerized Index of Lands and Rights (art. 222.8 LH).
- Term. There are no time limitations to issue simple notes, although it should be the same as for certifications (4 days per property).
- Certification: Certifications are literal or relative copies, transcripts or transfers, of the registry´s content. They are the only means of proving, to the detriment of a third party, the freedom or encumbrance of real estate or registered real rights (art. 225 LH).
Regarding the certifications that can be requested, different classifications can be made:
Content wise, the certifications can be (art. 223 LH):
- Accountant records of all kinds, related to goods or people that the interested parties indicate.
- Certain observations that the same interested parties indicate.
- If there are no records of any kind, or of a specific kind.
- Records or documents. The certifications can also be about entries (which is the general rule) or the documents filed in the Registry, regarding which the Registrars can be considered as their natural archivists (art. 342 RH).
Domain, loads or domain and loads. Due to their purpose, they can be domain, cargo or domain and cargo (art. 235 LH).
For a certain period or unlimitedly. Depending on time, certifications can refer to a fixed period or to the entire time that has elapsed since the installation or reconstitution of the Registry (art. 224 LH).
Literal or in relation. Due to the form of issuance, the certifications can be literal or related. (If the class is not specified, they´re considered in relation)
Ordinary, continuously updated with new information or linked to a registrar´s report (arts. 354 and 355 RH):
- With continuous information (art. 354 RH), of the presentation entries that affect the farm and are practiced from the issuance of the certification until the 30 following days.
- With a report from the registrar, binding or non-binding (art. 355 RH). The requesting and obtaining means to request a Certification shall be formalized through a written form. It must be requested in person, at the corresponding Property Registry. However, there is also the possibility of obtaining electronic Certifications, with a recognized electronic signature of the Registrar. It is important to highlight the value of certifications in legal traffic:
1. They´re the only way of justifying the freedom or assessment of the assets to the detriment of a third party (art. 225 LH).
2. They´re a public document (art. 1216 CC and 317.4 LEC).
3. Its probative value lies in the copies of public documents (art. 1220 CC).
Legal Security of the Spanish Property Registry
The Spanish Registry System is, without a doubt, comparable to the safest in the world. It is a Registry of rights. The registered rights are protected by the Courts, in such a way that no one can be deprived of them if it is not in a contradictory judicial procedure, in which the registered owner is a party.
In addition, the legal system attributes to the registered rights a series of legal presumptions, the maximum effect of which is derived from the principle of registration public faith.
The Principle of Publicity, in the event of a conflict between reality and the Registry, invests the registry declarations with certainty.
This Advertising Principle has two fundamental aspects:
The procedural aspect.- By virtue of which the registry owner can assert his registered right before the Courts, against whoever discusses it, by means of a Certification issued by the Registrar, in which the validity of the corresponding entry is accredited without any contradiction. The burden of proof, therefore, will fall on who disputes the registered right.
The substantive aspect.- In which two dimensions must be distinguished.
A Refusal.- What is not registered does not affect the contractor trusting in the registration content.
Another Positive.- Which produces in the registry content, a double presumption:
• Principle of Legitimation.- Presumption iuris tantum (that is, that admits proof to the contrary) that what the Registry publishes is true.
• Principle of Public Registry Faith.- Presumption iuris et de iure (that is, it does not admit proof to the contrary) that what the Registry publishes is exact and complete. In short, if the following requirements are met: - Registration of the transmitting holder. - Acquisition for consideration. - Ignorance on the part of the acquirer of any circumstance that distorts what is published in the Registry (presumed good faith) - And registration by the acquirer; the legal effect occurs that the new owner is fully protected by the Spanish registry system, even if the registered owner who transferred the right to him was not the true owner of such right.
With an example it becomes clearer. Any buyer of a property, of a person who is registered in the Registry as its owner, who is unaware that there may be another unregistered owner, and who subsequently registers his domain acquired by the purchase; he is protected by the Spanish registry system, in such a way that no one can dispute his domain.