Discrepancies between the Cadastral Office and the Land Registry: how to proceed
If you have been involved in any real estate transaction in Spain, you may likely be aware that there are two different real estate Spanish registries, i.e. (i) the cadaster and (ii) the Land Registry, which in many cases present discrepancies between them, when referred to the identification of a same Spanish real estate property.
For a better reference, the cadaster is a real estate registry dependent of the Tax Ministry of the Spanish Government, which contains descriptive and graphic information of Spanish real estate properties and the identification of their owners and which purpose, among others, is the delivery of information to local tax administrations for the collection of taxes inherent to the property. As regards to the land registry, which is also a real estate registry and which is dependent of the Ministry of Justice of the Spanish Government, its purpose, among others, is to gather the registration of ownership titles inherent to real estate properties, and to give legal protection to the holder of such ownership right duly registered against third parties.
In connection with both registries, and due to the numerous errors and inaccuracies that appear registered mainly with the cadaster, and therefore for the discrepancies of information offered by each registry, the Spanish legislators undertook, in 2015, a modification of the law in this regard pursuing a perfect coordination between the cadaster and the land registry with respect to the information therein registered.
In this regard, the Law 13/2015 that amended (i) the Mortgages Act approved by Decree from 8 February 1946 and (ii) the Cadaster Law approved by Royal Legislative Decree 1/2004, from 5 March, obliged real estate property owners in Spain, in order to provide real estate legal protection, to coordinate the identification of their properties at the land registry and the cadaster, when such properties reached for first time their registration with the land registry or in the case of pursuing proceedings that imply reorganization of land such as groupings, segregations, planning projects, etc.
Apart from the cases where such coordination is obligatory, the coordination land registry-cadaster can also be initiated voluntarily by the real estate property owner, pursuing the perfect identification of the property in both registries and of its physical and graphical characteristics with plain legal security. From our experience, and mainly since 2017 when the economic situation in Europe has strengthen, there are a significant number of our clients owning real estate properties in the Balearic Islands that are seeking this perfect identification voluntarily, as for the various reasons that we identify in the following:
- identification of the exact surface and boundaries of the property, physically and graphically;
- suitability of the property to be subject to real estate reorganization proceedings;
- avoidance of potential future disputes with adjacent owners regarding the boundaries of the property; and/or
- increase of registered square meters of the property at the land registry, as the case may be which might entail an increase of the value of the property for purposes of a potential sale, or a decrease of the buildable limitations thereat.
In order to take advantage of the benefits from having a perfect identification of a property at both the cadaster and land registry, we recommend to any potential purchaser that before acquiring a plot or a property in the Balearic Islands, the purchaser undertakes a review at both the competent land registry and cadastral office to ensure that the property is correctly identified and their graphical and physical identification is identical at both registries. If this is not the case, we encourage that the referred process is initiated voluntarily according to the Law 13/2015.
Tristán Bernabé Liddell
Real Estate Department of Garrigues