Section for people wanting to buy, sell or rent property in Spain.
Signingcontracts and interim payments
Canyou please advise me on the above. I hope to buy a house in Spain and have notyet signed a contract. The builders want cash payments at separate stages. Whycan we not pay by cheque? We have also been told that we can have our propertytaken off us for no reason. Is that true.
Thanks for your query.
In Spainsome building companies charge payments in cash as a tax evasion ploy. If theyreceive cash they can avoid declaring it so that it becomes "black money"which they do not reveal to the Spanish Inland Revenue (Hacienda). They then usethe black money to pay expenses such as illegal wages, materials etc. thereby reducing their declared costs. If you pay by cheque,the building company has to pay the cheque into its bank account, which meansthe money becomes visible, and must be declared to the Inland Revenue and be subjectto the legal taxes.
If you make cash payments foryour property, it is very very important that before handing over any cash atall you sign a formal, and legal, private purchase/sale contract (checked by anexpert) which clearly specifies the following basic elements of the purchase andthe sale agreement:
- Identification of the selleras the legal owner of the property you are going to buy
- Exactdescription of the property which is going to be built - squared meters, closedprice (total price included), materials to be used in the construction
- Formof payment (this is especially important in your case, because if you agree tohand over certain sums of money at certain stages of the building process, thebuilders will be legally bound to keep to the dates of completion)
You should really get an expert tocheck the contract before you sign it, to make sure that your rights (and money)are protected. If you tell us where your property is, we may be able to recommendsomeone to you.
As far as your last query is concerned,who has told you that property can just be taken off you? The builders? Certainlyif you do not sign a contract and hand over cash payments, then you do run therisk of losing the property and your money, because no legal document verifiesthe sale or the payments. Also there have been some stories in the news latelyabout foreignowners in the Costa Blanca losing part of their property because of local landlaws - are you referring to that maybe?
If you are considering buying or selling propertyin Spain and have a question, write to us and we will try to help. We may alsopublish your question here to help other potential property buyers in Spain.