Property Law

THE LAW IN ANDALUCÍA REGARDING THE SALE OF PROPERTIES

Recent changes in Andalucía and Spanish law requires that Estate Agents involved in the sale of properties in Spain to comply with certain regulations. We at Property Alhaurin work to ensure that all the properties offered for sale by us comply with these regulations. A brief outline of the regulations is translated below; however should you wish to read the full Spanish document, we would be happy to provide it in electronic or printed form.

General Provisions

Decree 218/2005 dated 11th October, which ratifies the Regulation of information provided to consumers in the purchase and rentals of homes in Andalucía.

The 13/2003 Law dated 17th December for the Defence and Protection of Consumers and Users in Andalucía, states in Section 4 that the consumers’ rights consist in ”the protection, acknowledgement and carrying out of their legitimate economic and social interests” as well as their right to be provided with “accurate, sufficient, understandable, unmistakable, and rational information concerning transactions and the usable goods and services, in accordance to the regulation in force”.  The link between both rights is clear, and a proof of that can be found in the property market.

The purchase or rental of a property cannot be considered solely as an everyday activity, but can also trigger meaningful consequences in the consumers’ financial situation. In this context, the aim of this regulation is to reach further transparency in Andalucía’s property market by providing consumers with full information, enabling them to make better decisions, and thus allowing them to benefit from the protection of their financial interests.

The consumers’ right to receive accurate, sufficient and clear information corresponds to Section 17 of Law 13/2003 dated 17th December, which highlights the obligation of those individuals who are responsible for the production, commercialization, distribution and sales of goods or their provision of services. But the legislator himself is aware of the property market’ s importance to consumers, which is why in the second section of the aforementioned rule he states that ”the obligation of informing those who we have referred to in the previous section will be a requirement in the property trade that takes place in the Autonomous Region of Andalucía.

Its objective is to make consumers clearly and objectively understand issues such as the quality and the preparation of construction material, work segments and the setting up of different types of services, whether for private or communal use, as well as the instructions for use, maintenance and preservation”. This is exactly what this Regulation aims to bring forward.

Until now, users have been informed about the purchase and sale and rental of properties through the Royal Decree 515/1989 dated 21st April, which safeguarded them by providing them with information about the aforementioned transactions. However, over the years, defects and inadequacies were detected in it, resulting in the approval of this Regulation in the Autonomous Region of Andalucía, without prejudice to the maintenance of the basic precepts established on a nationwide level.

This regulation is being passed complying with the rule that was established in Section 16.a) of the Law 13/2003 dated 17th December, which stated that the public administrations in Andalucía would have to adopt efficient measures towards “providing consumers with all kinds of information regarding the matters and aspects that involve them or directly interest them, particularly in relation to the construction of houses”, This entails an effort to clarify the scope of the informative duties of those who offer, promote or advertise the sale or rental of properties, whether operating in a business or professional capacity, or even as intermediaries.

This is why the length of this ‘information is distinctive and proportionate to the circumstances of this case and includes: advertising, offers or promotions directed at consumers in general; Documento Informativo Abreviado (Brief Informative Document) for the sale of off-plan houses, Documento Informativo Abreviado for the sale of new-build houses, etc.

One of the main new points that this regulation introduces is the requirement for those who offer a property for sale or rental to possess a Documento Informativo Abreviado (Brief Informative Document). The content of this document will differ according to whether it is for the sale or rental of a property, and should it be the sale of one, whether it is a house in its planning phase, under construction or already built. All of this has been executed with precision, intending to solve the problems that used to arise from the interpretation of the previous regulation with the following: in the sales and purchase transactions, a free copy of these Informative Documents should be handed out to any person who requests information regarding a property.

A simple enquiry about a property, without having to request the complete file, is reason enough to grant the consumer his right to be given a copy of the corresponding document. This is considered as the only way to effectively safeguard the consumers in this field.

One of the other notable modifications in this regulation is the one concerning the information to be handed out for second and subsequent transfers of the property. The importance of the resale market – which is sometimes even higher than the new-build property market – contrasted with a lack of rules in this area regarding the consumers’ right for obtaining information.

This is the aspect that Section 10 of this current Regulation attempts to correct. The rule aims to regulate the informative duties of individuals and corporate bodies operating in a business or professional capacity who usually intervene in this type of purchase and sale transactions. All of this intends to guarantee a minimum quality standard in the provision of these services, and give consumers access to essential information that ought to be provided by those who work in this business field, since it is an important part of their services.

Finally, the current Regulation, as a cautious measure, has set up penalties to deal with any possible breaches that may take place.