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News and Events on Spanish Laws and Taxes

Ways to know who owns a property in Spain. How to detect who is the owner?

Sometimes it is necessary to know who owns a certain property in order to contact him for different reasons. Either from a commercial point of view, to check the possibilities of selling said property , or, from a legal point of view in the case of obtaining any type of information that may be useful for eventual legal proceedings, legal actions , etc

From a legal point of view, there are several sources and records where the ownership of said properties appears:


In the cadastre office, each and every one of the properties that exist in Spain are defined.

What information can we obtain in the Cadastre?

From the cadastre website , or from any of the offices it has in Spain (usually in the Town Halls) we can obtain information about the exact address of a property, its surface area , existing buildings , and a graphic map of location and boundaries. This type of information is public and easily accessible .

However, access to information about who owns those properties is protected and private . It is only visible by the owners of said properties, or by duly authorized administration professionals, notaries, those in charge of property registries, judges, etc.

Spanish lawyers do not have access to this information, and are not authorized to obtain it.

Therefore, for those of us who are not authorized to obtain ownership information in the Cadastre, we cannot obtain from this registry any information that is not publicly accessible (address, surfaces, cadastral reference, etc.).

Property or Land Registry

It is also possible to find out who owns a property in the land registry. The property registry is a registry totally open to the public , which offers public and free information both on the legal situation of all properties in Spain, as well as on their owners.

Therefore, by obtaining the exact address of a property , it would be possible to obtain from the property registry who its current owner is.

However, the process of obtaining information about the owner of a property when registered in the property registry is complicated, and it is not always successful.

The reason for this is that, in order to search for a certain property with the purpose to identify who its owner is , it is necessary to obtain the exact description and location that appears in the property registry to locate said property.

In other words, the property registry searches  the property by its “address” or “location”. But any address is not valid , for its exact location we must obtain the exact same address that appears registered in the property registry . And this is not always possible.

Problems to identify the exact adress of the property

In Spain we can find different ways to identify the location and address of a property depending on whether it is a certain institution or another, such as the property registry, the cadastre, banks, property titles, etc.

In this way, it is very frequent that we find that the address of a certain property identified in the cadastre does not coincide with the address of this property in the property registry, and that this, in turn, does not coincide with that of the town hall, and even that does not coincide with those registered in the supply companies as water, electricity, gas etc.

Therefore, we can find that the property registry is often not updated , or includes old property addresses, or even streets that no longer exist, or that have changed their name, or that have changed their number.

This is especially more complicated for properties that are located in urban developable areas, or those that have recently been urbanized, in which, as a result of the urbanization process, the streets are assigned Urban Building Codes, before they are assigned with definitive names of the streets. and the roads.  With which, depending on what is the moment in which the property registry has registered the address of a property, we can find that in said Registry the property has not been updated with respect to the final and last address assigned to that property or street, with which, in the event that we try to search the property registry for the current address, we find that this information cannot be obtained in the property registry due to a lack of coincidence.

This is even more complicated in properties that are located on rustic or undeveloped land, in which many times the description of the address or location that exists registered in the property registry is very old, and does not coincide in absolute with the modern and currently designated identification of the property adress.

With which, although it is likely that we can obtain a property registration certificate about the ownership of a certain property in Spain , this is not always possible , since, for this , the real or cadastral address by which it is does the search in the property registry should be exactly the same as the one in which the property appears registered in said registry .

Can we obtain a list of the properties owned in Spain by a specific person?

Having said this, it must be said that it easier to find the properties that exist registered in Spain in the name of a person, than vice versa . In other words, although it is very difficult to know who is the owner of a certain property whose owner is unknown, it is easier in the property registry to obtain a list with each and every one of the properties that appear registered in the name of a certain person.

In this case, it should

1.- Obtain the full name of said person , and said name must coincide with the one registered in the property registry.

This is sometimes complicated, since, especially in the case of foreigners, Mr. David John Smith can appear in the land registry as “David J. Smith”. Therefore, in order to carry out the search correctly, it should coincide exactly with the way in which the owner’s name has been registered in the property registry.

2.- In addition, the success of the search will depend on there not being too many matches with other people.

In other words, depending on the complexity of the owner’s name, for which the search is made, it will be easier or more complicated to obtain a list of the properties that exist registered in Spain in his name.

In the case of “David John Smith”, or “John McGregor ” , very popular names, it is very likely that other search results will appear than in the case of “John Ferdinand Coldman ”.