Precautions when opening a new land registry file

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1. Are there any special precautions at the land registry services in order to avoid errors when opening a new file?

Considering that the question refers to the first registration of new properties that hasn’t been registered never before, there are several controls:

  • First, we must check if the description fits, in some way, to any other existing one. This includes location, surface and boundaries, and cadastral identification data; and it also refers to its correspondence, in whole or in part, with any registered graphic representation of registered properties and with the public domain;
  • Second, the description of the property in the submitted title must exactly correspond to the one resulting from the cadastral information, including the identity of the holder;
  • Third, we send personal communications to the owners of charges, rights or actions on the property, if known; to the owners of neighboring registered and cadastral properties; to the neighbors resulting from the submitted document, if it’s the case; and to the corresponding municipality. In addition, a generic communication to any interested party is done by means of an edict published in the Official Bulletin.

In addition, the procedures established to practice this first registration tend to avoid duplication of registered properties as much as possible: principally, whether a notarial deed is carried out, with the prior citation of owners of rights, charges or actions on the property, former titulars of it, factual tenants, and City council, and publication of edicts; Or it’s necessary a transmission in a public document, and accompany in turn a public document that accredits the acquisition by the person who now transmits, with at least one year difference between both documents

2. If an error occurs and a land registry file describes the same immovable for a second time, what is legally determined to do?

According to art. 209 of the Mortgage Law, a file is processed before the corresponding Land Registrar, with citation of all the holders of rights registered on the properties, or their known successors:

– if the domain of the two properties is registered in favor of the same owner, and there are no charges or they are the same and by the same order, the most modern history is canceled, with the consent of the interested parties;
– otherwise, an attempt is made to reach agreement among stakeholders to determine ownership and priority:
– in case of unanimous agreement, and with the consent of the registrar, the most modern history will be canceled and the oldest one rectified;
– if any party does not attend to the convocated meeting, or someone opposes the agreement, it’s possible to go to the judge for him/her to decide.

Is there a different procedure depending on whether the new file repeats totally a previous file or only a part of a previous file?

Please, see answer above. In the first case, you can even say there’s no procedure at all, as it’s enough to make the duplicity clear to the Land Registrar. If there are no charges, no further procedure is needed.

3. Once the error is identified what happens to the rights and the charges registered in both files? And what about subsequent entries?

As stated, if there’s an absolute correspondence among the content of both files, there won’t be any discussion on the corresponding ownership and priority. Simply, the newest file is cancelled, with the consent of every interested party. In other case, it’s necessary to reach an agreement between such parties, to determine both ownership and priority. And when this agreement has been reached, the corresponding entries from the newest file will be transferred to the oldest one, according to the priority order that has been agreed.

Anyway, as previously said, the agreement, in case of non-correspondence of both files, needs to be validated by the registrar, who can refuse to do so in the event he/she estimates that the proposed operations resulting from the agreement are not legally appropriate.

4. Is there any internal (intra-system) land registry procedure to solve this sort of problem or does it require judicial intervention?

See answers above. Judicial intervention is only required once no agreement has been possible.