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Land Registry and Cadastre - are they the same?

(Response to a question proposed on Ser radio)

The Land Registry and the Cadastre (or more commonly referred to as the Catastral) are completely separate organisations. The Registry is the legal record of ownership, with the information on it provided by ‘declaration’ by the owner. The Cadastre is the tax record of the property, prepared by independent government employees from observation, licence applications and, increasingly, studies of aerial photos.

Often the Registry information is incorrect as changes to the property have not been updated. Equally often the Cadastre can be incorrect due to incorrect information or studies. All property purchasers should ensure that both are accurate before they buy as they will be responsible for any corrections, licence applications and/or fines as soon as they become the legal owners.

Survey Spain‘s Network of Chartered Surveyors throughout Spain, carry out acquisition, building and valuation surveys for potential purchasers. As part of these services we compare the actual property with the Registry (Nota Simple) and Catastral records and so identify any differences. The buyer’s lawyer can then ensure that these are corrected prior to the acquisition. As lawyers rarely visit properties, they may prepare legally perfect documents, but be unaware of the important errors of information on which their paperwork is based.