Since January, British property buyers in Spain have suddenly started hearing the words “military certificate”. But what is this all about?
Since 1978, foreign property buyers have required a military certificate before purchasing property in certain areas of Spain that are classified as “strategic” by Spain’s defence forces.
In 1986, Spain joined the European Union and an exception to this rule was granted for nationals of any EU country. As a result, Irish, Italian and other buyers from other EU countries do not have to worry about this issue when buying property. This also applied to British buyers until 1st January this year.
As you may have heard, the UK has since left the EU, and this means that the rules that have always applied to third country buyers now apply to Britons, too. As with so many changes occasioned by Brexit, it will mean a little more expense and hassle.
The first thing to find out is whether you require a military certificate at all. If your property is located in a “consolidated urban area”, then it’s not necessary. The requirement applies mainly to rural properties. This information is available at the Land Registry, but you’ll probably need a professional to perform the search and confirm the results for you.
If you do require a military certificate – and if you’re buying outside of the towns and resorts, there’s a very high probability that you will – you’ll need to apply for it, and the documents required will include the following:
• A notarized copy of your passport.
• A certificate showing you have a clean criminal record (and a sworn translation).
• Maps and plans of the property and area.
• A letter requesting the certificate.
The process will take from two to six months from beginning to end, and it is necessary to have the certificate before title of the property is transferred.
As always in issues of Spanish property, it pays to have the assistance of reputable, experienced professionals. Estate agents and property lawyers on Lanzarote are already well aware of the rules and procedures, and their expertise is a wise investment.
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