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Mortgages

What is a nota simple and what is it for?

A nota simple is a non-certified document issued by the Land Registry that contains information about a property: type of property, name, ownership, rights, size, type, boundaries, liens and encumbrances. While the information it contains matches the information shown in the deeds for the property, nota simples are simpler and easier to understand.

You will definitely need this document if you want to buy a house and apply for a mortgage.

It is a legal document put on public record before notary and is issued by the Land Registry (Registro de la Propiedad). Although it is purely informative and not legally enforceable (unlike a certificación registral, or registry attestation), it is still an extremely useful document to have, because when buying a property a nota simple gives us a clearer picture of the property's current legal status. And if we plan to apply for a mortgage, the bank may ask us to produce one, as may the notary when we sign the deeds. It may also provide us with information that was not disclosed by the seller: outstanding encumbrances, fees payable by owners of horizontal property to cover communal expenses, annexes...

What information does a nota simple show?

This document must contain the following sections:

Details of the property: information on its location and cadastral reference, type of property and type of building, square metres, annexes (storage rooms, parking spaces, etc.) and adjoining elements. This information can be extremely useful when calculating the regular communal expenses we will be paying, or any extraordinary fees payable for repair/maintenance work on the larger property.

Owner or owners: tells us who owns the property, either in bare ownership or as a usufruct.

Observations Although we may find this information interesting ourselves, it is typically aimed at lawyers and other legal professionals, as it contains references to the location of the volume, book and folio at which the property is filed.

Liens and encumbrances. This is a key aspect, as it tells us whether the property has outstanding payments, or is subject to attachments, court foreclosure, outstanding property tax (known as IBI), or mortgage defaults. It is also likely to show debts that have already been settled, but not officially removed from the registry's records. Be wary, because hidden charges can push up the cost of the property: it is extremely important to check this information before signing any contract.

Journal entries and documents that have been presented to the registry but not yet filed, perhaps where someone is in the process of registering the property. These documents must be submitted within approximately two months.

Who can request a nota simple?

In reality, it can be requested by any person able to show a legitimate interest, meaning anyone who expresses an interest in viewing the information. The registrar will analyse the matter and decide whether the subject has a legitimate interest; only then will the registrar issue the document.

How do I request a nota simple?

We can either request it from the seller of the property, or directly from the registrar. To do this we will need to provide some information: either the registry details (land registry number, municipality, exact location), or the unique identifier of the registered property (or Idufir), which is effectively the property's ID number and is very useful when attempting to locate the document.

To request it ourselves, we can head to Registradores.org and follow this route: Registro online [Online registration] > Nota simple de una finca [Non-certified copy of a property]. Once we have completed the necessary steps, we will be asked to pay roughly €10. When we do this, we must be able to prove that we hold some right over the property: that we are owners or acting on the owner's behalf, interested parties, heirs, administrators, etc.