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The nota simple - now in English

Published 22/08/2011

The nota simple - now in English

The Spanish Land Registry is now providing English translations of the nota simple. This means that you can access some essential information about a property you are interested in before buying. However, it is still important to use the services of a qualified and experienced lawyer. 


The Spanish legal and Spanish tax system can seem to work very differently from that of other countries when it comes to debts held against property. Cars and houses can have outstanding fines and tax to pay held against them rather than the person who owns them. So for example, you might discover that a second hand car that you want to buy has some outstanding fines registered and the house you’d like to purchase has Spanish IBI (council tax) due to be paid.

This is why it is so important that you have any potential purchases checked first before you buy. By hiring a good conveyancing lawyer when buying a house or involving a gestoria when buying a car you help to protect yourself against any of the skeletons that might be in the closet of your intended purchase.

A new initiative is making it easier for you to do a little investigative work on your own behalf. Potential purchasers of property are now able to access official records in English. The Spanish Land Registry are inviting us to submit a request for a ‘Land  registry extract’ or ‘nota simple’ to find out if there are any charges held against property. The nota simple gives the details of any outstanding mortgages and debts there might be - essential information for anyone considering a purchase.

If you go on the interactive land registry site at https://buyingahouse.registradores.org/ you will find the instructions for submitting a request.  It costs 29€ plus VAT and usually takes two days to complete. There is an example on the website to help you understand the document when you receive it.

The information you’ll be given includes:

A description of the property -  physical features such as  boundaries, floors, surface area 

If it is part of a community of owners 

Who owns it and their identification 

Mortgages and any loans held against the property 

Any outstanding Spanish taxes or debts held against the property 

Of course, if you use a lawyer to purchase and complete on a property they will access this information for you as part of their service. It is important to remember that the nota simple will not include all the information you may need to know and this is where a good, reputable lawyer is essential. 

The advantage to the new system is that you can see information for yourself in your native language. Perhaps more importantly, it signifies a step forward by the Spanish Government in recognising some of the difficulties there have been with property purchase in Spain


Pilar Ruso

Pilar Ruso
Legal Executive

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