Property lexicon to help you with the purchase of your real estate in Spain


abogado: lawyer /solicitor
acta notarial: notary deed or certificate, which is required for the entry in the land register
acta de notoriedad: procedure for registration in the land-register if the basic principle of continuous registration has been interrupted. Notary certification (document)
afecciones registrales: iencumbrances on the property recorded in the land-register
agente inmobiliaria: property agent or real estate agent
agrupación de solares: combining of building plots
alta catastral: land-registry office
altura máxima: maximum permissible height of a building
alquiler: rental
anotaciones marginales: remarks in the land register referencing the registered documents.
aparejador: construction engineer
arras: a deposit paid by the purchaser when the private contract is signed. If "arras penitenciales" has been agreed, then if the purchaser terminates the contract, he loses the deposit. If the vendor terminates the contract, he has to pay double the amount of the deposit to the purchaser.
arrendamiento de obra: contract for work and labour, e.g. building-contract with construction firm
architecto: architect
asiento de presentación: a note of conveyance, which protects the purchaser for a certain period against further registrations.
ayuntamiento: local government, mayor's office, town hall


buletin de la instalación eléctrica: certificate about the proper electrical installation by an expert


cancelación: note in the land register for the cancellation of encumbrances
cédula de habitabilidad: official certificate of occupancy
certificaciones: certificates; often refers to certificates from the architect describing the progress of the construction work.
certificado bancario de devisas: bank certificate confirming the payment of the purchase price with foreign currency
certificado de no residente: a certificate declaring that the property owner was not registered as a Spanish resident at the time of purchasing a property in Spain
certificado final obra del arquitecto: certificate of the architect about the final acceptance
certificado final obra del ayuntamiento: certificate of the local government about the final acceptance
Código Civil: Spanish civil code
Colégio Oficial de Arquitectos: official school of architects
Colégio de aparejadores: official office of construction engineers
comunidad de herederos: the heirs of the person named. eg. la Comunidad de Herederos de Jose Garcia
comunidad de propietarios: condominium owner's association or residential condominium corporation
condición resolutoria: 'condition subsequent': a condition in the contract which if broken will cause the whole contract to be broken.
condición suspensiva: 'condition precedent': A condition under which a juridical consequence only occurs if certain other circumstances and assumptions occur prior to it, eg. a contract cannot be signed unless particular conditions have already been met.
constructor: developer or building projector organiser
consejo de administración: board of administration of a private housing estate elected by the condominium owner's meeting
contratista: construction firm
contrato de arrendamiento: tenancy agreement
contrato de arrendamiento por temporada: seasonal tenancy agreement
contrato de opción: a contractual option that may be exercised at a future date
contrato privado de compraventa: private sales contract
copropietarios: joint owners
cuerpo cierto: widely used contract clause which states that the property is bought "as seen at the inspection".
cuota de copropiedad: based on the size of your property and determines both your share of the communal fees which you have to pay and the weight of your vote at the owners association AGM.


declaración de heredero: certificate of inheritance
declaración de obra nueva: declaration of new building work: This will be required to have a new building added to the title deeds and must be signed before a notary.
delegación de urbanismo: district surveyors office: responsible for building licenses
delegación de hacienda: Inland Revenue Service, IRS
Demarcación de Costas: Department for Coastal Protection - ensures compliance with coastal environmental and protection rules.
derecho de retención: lien: The right of contract partners to withhold payments or works if the other party is in delay
derecho de retracto: pre-emtion right - a right to acquire certain property in preference to any other person. Also known as 'right of first refusal'.
derecho de superficie: law about the surface area
deslindes: administrative procedure for the determination of the boundaries of the seashore or beach zone
división: official document describing the division of property between the different owners.


edificabilidad máxima: maximum floor area that can be built at all levels
elevación a público de documento privado: the requirement to have private certificates notarized previous to the registration in the land register.
embargo: a legal notice served on a the property of a debtor to guarantee the repayment of a debt
escritura pública de compraventa: title deed
escritura de manifestación, aceptación y adjudicación de herencia: notarial certificate affirming the acceptance of an inheritance


fianza: deposit
finca: property, also farm or country house
finca registrada: registered plot of land


gastos según Ley: contract clause that allocates the costs in accordance with the existing law, but still permits agreed variations
gestoría: office which specializes in obtaining official authorisations, permits, licences, etc.


Hacienda Pública: Spanish fiscal authority
hipoteca: mortgage


I.B.I., impuesto sobre bienes inmuebles: annual property tax
impuesto de actos jurídicos documentados: Stamp duty (0.5% of purchase price)
impuesto de transmisiones patrimoniales onerosas: property acquisition tax (7% of the purchase price stated in the escritura)
impuesto sobre construcciones, instalaciones y obras: municipal tax on construction projects
impuesto sobre el patrimonio: Spanish capital gains tax
I.R.P.F., impuesto sobre la renta de las personas físicas: income tax
I.S., impuesto sobre sociedades: corporate income tax
impuesto sobre sucesiones y donaciones: inheritance tax and gift tax
impuesto estatales: Spanish state tax
impuestos y tasas municipales: municipal taxes and duties
información urbanística: development rights which are applied for by requesting information regarding the development potential of particular plots, and on particular construction standards
inscripción mediante instancia privada: private application in order to correct the land register due to property being inherited
institución de heredero: nomination of one or several heirs
I.V.A., impuesto sobre el valor añadido: value-added tax ( the normal rate is 18% - the rate for new buildings is 8%)


legítima: legally compulsory heirs according to Spanish law
ley de la propiedad horizontal: Spanish property law for apartments
Ley 8/1989: Law to combat tax evasion arising from property purchases
Ley de arrendamiento urbano, L.A.U.: Spanish tenancy law
licencia de obras: Building licence
licencia de primera ocupación: licence for the first occupation certifying that a new building is fit to live in


memoria de calidades y mediciones: Construction certification
metro: meter
multipropiedad: time-sharing


N.I.E., número personal de identificación de extranjeros: tax number for foreigners
N.I.F., número de identificación fiscal: tax number for residents
no residente: non resident
nota marginal: margin notes in the right hand column of the property register indicating the cancellation of registered rights
nota simple informativa: unauthenticated extract of land-register
notario: Spanish notary public


obligación personal: unlimited tax liability for residents
obligación real: limited tax liability for non-residents
ocupación máxima: max. allowed roofed area of a property
opción de compra: an option for purchase. can be registered at the land register


parcela: plot of land
partición: the division of a persons assets between their heirs
partida de defunción: death certificate
permiso de obra menor: license for small scale construction works on a property
plan parcial: a development plan for an area or neighbourhood
planta: floor
plusvalía municipal: capital gains tax on the sale of property
poder: power of attorney
poseedor: possessor; e.g. a tenant is the possessor, but not the proprietor
posesión: possession
precio: purchase price
primera copia de la escritura de compraventa: notarialy attested copy of purchase contract; first copy = primera copia, all others = copia autorizada
promotor: property developer
propiedad: property
propiedad horizontal: property with some element of communality which is governed by the law of horizontal property (Lay de Propiedad Horizontal) Spanish law Nº 49/1960
propietario: legal proprietor
protocolización: certification of a foreign document (provided with Apostille and certified translation) by a Spanish notary or counsel
proyecto de ejecución de obra: the building plans and other details of the proposed development which are submitted to obtain the building licence


recepción definitiva: final acceptance of construction work. This determines the beginning of the warranty period
registro de la propiedad: land registry
residente: person with domicile in Spain and also paying taxes in Spain
residuos sólidos: recycling fees


S.A., sociedad anónima: Spanish public limited company
S.L., sociedad limitada: Spanish company with limited liability compare with Ltd.
saneamiento: Mängelgewährleistung, Ansprüche, wenn die Kaufsache mit Fehlern behaftet ist
segregación de fincas: separation of a part of a plot of land
segregación de una propiedad horizontal: separation of a part of a property within a community
señal: another term for "arras": a deposit paid by the purchaser as the private contract is signed. If "señal" has been agreed, then if the purchaser terminates the contract, he loses the deposit. If the vendor terminates the contract, he has to pay double the amount of the deposit to the purchaser
separación a linderos: minimum distance between a structure and the boundary of a neighbouring plot
servidumbre: servitude: obliges the property owner to do something or prohibits them from doing something as a condition of owning the land. They can be imposed by law, by the courts or by agreement between landowners. Servidumbre are imposed on a plot of land rather than the owner of the land and are therefore bought and sold with the land. An example would be access rights to a neighbouring plot which would oblige the property owner to allow the neighbouring owner to traverse his land for access purposes.
servidumbre de tránsito: access rights allowing access to a property without direct public access
solar: green areas or preserves which cannot be built on
suelo no urbanizable: land designated as agricultural: the regulations require large plot of land to be able to build a small building
suelo rústico: landwirtschaftliche Nutzfläche. Hier können Sie zumindest ein kleines Gebäude auf einer verhältnismäßig großen Fläche realisieren
suelo urbanizable: building land: construction work should generally be free of legal problems on land of this category
suelo urbano: building land in area under municipal control


tasa: municipal fee for receipt of building license
tasa de recogida domiciliaria de basura: municipal waste collection fee
toma de posesión: taking possession of real estate e.g. by handing over the keys


U.T.M: cadastral number: the number assigned to each property in the land register urbanización privada: private community, normally for upmarket developments
urbanismo: public construction authority of local government
urbanización: residential area
urbanización privada: private residential area
uso: permitted use
uso de oficinas: permitted for use as offices
uso residencial: residential area, also called "uso vivienda"
usufructo: the legal right to use and derive profit or benefit from property that belongs to another person


valor catastral: land-register value. Used as basis for ground-taxes
valor comprobado por la administracion: assumed value of real estate as a base for the property tax
valor real: market value


zona comercial:

zone of influence which stretches up to 1 km inland and on which building development is restricted
zona de servidumbre de protección:
protected beach zone which extends up to 200 m from the shoreline. Building development is very restricted and has many conditions imposed on it in this area.
zona marítimo terrestre: seashore and directly adjoining area, which is public property.