Thursday, July 14, 2011

Note: This is an early post. There was one last night and another will be along tonight . . . 

At last, a couple of successes!

1. At my third visit to the Herbolaria, I was ceremonially presented with coriander seeds. Some of which I will now plant and the rest I will grind up.

2. At my sixth(?) visit to the Land Registry they confessed to having 'made a mistake' in valuing my house at 620,000 euros. The true value was 310,000. Of course, it isn't as prices are still falling. But I wasn't going to argue much. So my bill was not 550 euros but 'only' 338.

BUT . . . . Hadn't I given them two deeds (escrituras) the guy asked. Yes, I said, one for the house and one for the New Work - Obra Nueva - which my seller hadn't paid for in 1987 and which I'd had to pay for in 2000. Ah, yes, he said. "This costs 313 euros to register."

So, miraculously, my total bill has now reached 651 euros, instead of 550. And the only consolation right now is that it was almost certainly going to be 868 (550 + 313) before I argued the toss with them about the valuation of my house.

I declined to pay this and said my lawyer would be in touch to talk things over with them. Especially what happens if I pay for the house registration but not for the Obra Nueva registration.

Incidentally, what all this proves is that no one buying property here should pay any heed to advice from estate agents (Spanish or English) who smilingly insist that lawyers here aren't necessary, as they and a notary provide all the protection you need. Apart from problems similar to mine you might have with the Registry, there's another body which 'registers' your property - the municipal Catastro. There are nearly always inconsistencies between these two bodies and neither your estate agent nor the notary will be concerned with them. Especially as, if you don't make the vendor pay for regularisation, you will be hit with a lot of hassle and expenditure when you come to sell your property. Likewise your heirs if you should die. When neither the estate agent nor the notary will be around

My lawyer, by the way, is Elena Lino and she specialises in property transactions for foreigners. Click here.

PS.  You can make up your own mind whether the Registro really made a mistake or whether it was an attempt at state-sponsored theft. The sort of conundrum that regularly faces those of us living here.

Which rather reminds me of the Society of Authors and Artists, whose Board has recently been arrested for embezzling much of the money they were collecting. But this isn't my point - which is that they had no official rates but just extorted whatever they could from anyone found playing music in a commercial establishment. Quite a quango.

More later.

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