In June 2014 the Spanish Government announced their intention that there is to be a merging of the Title registry and Catastral data to achieve more accuracy, with Titles incorporating Catastral plans. Accordingly, it is even more important than before that both records are accurate.
Title (Escritura and Nota Simple) descriptions, especially in rural areas, are more often than not absolutely useless in identifying the location and boundaries of a property. An address that refers to old parishes and area names that have not been used in living memory, or even the mere listing of the neighbouring owners who may have changed many times, is of no use when trying to identify a property or its boundaries for Valuation or Building surveys. The description and details are only as good as the last information provided by the owner, with no certainty as to accuracy.
The Catastral description and plan are often more useful and accurate as it shows a boundary of the plot and additional information is also obtained from building licence information. However, many times there are errors and discrepancies that take away confidence when compared to what is found by the surveyor or valuer actually on site.
There are bound to be numerous disputes over which piece of paper is accurate. I suspect that it will become obligatory at each change of ownership for the merger of the information to take place, with the burden being on the seller to prove to the buyer that it’s accurate. However, if that accuracy is achieved on one piece of land or part of a building, it may affect all the others around it, with a subsequent ripple effect to neighbours’ neighbours and so on.
So, to avoid delays with property sales owners must ensure that the Catastral information is accurate and that it accords with the Title description. Otherwise, eager buyers may go elsewhere.
Campbell D. Ferguson, FRICS, is a chartered surveyor in Spain.His company Survey Spain Network arranges valuations and surveys by RICS chartered surveyors anywhere in mainland Spain and the Balearic and Canary Islands, and Gibraltar. This includes valuations, building surveys, structural surveys, building inspections and investment and development appraisals.