Changing the Ownership of a Joint Property. Questions and Answers.

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Posted and filed under Legal Issues in Spain.

Q. My aunt bought a property in Spain with her partner 5 years ago; he died 3 years ago. In the partner’s Will, he left the property share to her, but we have done nothing to change the joint ownership? Can my aunt sell the property now?

A. Your aunt cannot sell what is not hers. She has to organise a probate for her partner and change the ownership to fully hers at the land registry prior to (or simultaneously with) selling the property. Your aunt would have to hire a Spanish legal firm and once the property is fully in her name she is free to do with it as she pleases. If we can help anyone with our legal service for probates, please contact us.

Q. I own a property in Spain with my wife and we have recently divorced (decree absolute) in England. As part of the divorce, it was agreed that the Spanish property would be transferred to me? How is this done and how much does it cost?

A. This is very common as many couples owning property in joint names in Spain and when the relationship comes to an end they decide that one of them will assume full ownership.  The transaction has to take place at the Notary as a Division of Joint Ownership and the expenses involved are Stamp Duty on the value of the outgoing share, and notary, land registry and lawyer’s fees.

The party with the outgoing share is liable for a tax on the increase in the value of the property (whether they are non-resident or resident for taxes in Spain). The tax is only applicable if there has been an increase in value.

Please contact us if we can help with any advice regarding changes of ownership.

60 Comments

  • Deborah Cooper

    After changing names on title deeds and sending off to land registry how long does it take for new title deeds to come back

    • Ian C.

      Hello Deborah,
      Thanks for contacting Spanish Solutions. Short question, so a short answer. You can collect your new deeds within about eight weeks. Are you having a problem picking your deeds for some reason? Any doubts or problems, please get in touch with us here and we´ll help any way we can. We are based in La Zenia, but remember we can go to you if you need us to.
      Kind wishes,

      Ian

  • paul

    My partner and I bought our Spanish property but at the time we only put my name on the deeds , now she is divorced I want to put her name on the deeds but don’t know how to .
    can you help us.

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Paul,

      This can be a complicated matter, Amanda our paralegal will contact you directly via email, to discuss this matter in more detail and advise the different oprtions you have in order to add your partner to the deeds of your property.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • David

    My wife & amp;I have a shared property in Spain with Friends, we’ve sold our share to them how much does it cost to have to deeds changed in just there names?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Afternoon David,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      Eva, from our conveyancing department will be in contact with you shortly, via email, to discuss this matter further and answer any questions you may have.

      In the meantime should you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us.
      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Bruce

    My wife and I are divorcing, we have joint ownership of our Spanish property.
    We want to change the title deeds as my brother will pay my wife’s agreed value of the property, £125.000, bought for £155,000. How do we go about this and what are the legal costs for this?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Evening Bruce,

      Thank you for our enquiry.

      We will refer this matter to our conveyancing and legal team to confirm which is the most cost effective way to deal with this. Amanda, our paralegal or Eva from conveyancing will be in contact with you, via email, tomorrow.

      Should you have any further enquiries in the meantime please do not hesitate to contact us.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Jean avery

    My aunt died and left her Spanish property to me how can I transfere the deeds to my name

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Afternoon Jean,

      We are sorry to hear of your loss.

      Amanda, our paralegal, will be in contact with you shortly to discuss this matter further.

      We look forward to speaking with you.
      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Lara

    Hello my husband owns an apartment and the deeds are in his name how much is it to add my name please as he seems to think it is a lot of money

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Afternoon Lara,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      This can be an expensive process as you would effectively have to “buy” half of the property from your husband, we will contact you directly to discuss this matter further and arrange a non obligation quote should you be interested.

      We look forward to speaking with you.
      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • yvonne darby

    Hello

    My mother in law wishes to place her villa in Spain in the name of my son, is this a complicated and expensive process and how does she do this. Many thanks

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Evening Yvonne,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      This process would be called a “donation”. Amanda, our paralegal would be delighted to give you a non obligation quote for a donation and answer any questions you may have in regards to this. Amanda will be in contact with you in the morning as our office is now closed.

      In the meantime, should you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.
      We look forward to speaking with you.
      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Vanessa Young

    How long does it take for ownership to change. My husband & I signed all documents nearly three years ago & we have recieved anything in writing regarding ownership.

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Vanessa,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      Amanda, our paralegal, will be in contact with you shortly to discuss this matter further.

      In the meantime, should you need any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.
      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Maria Coley-Pérez

    My Spanish mother passed away a few years ago and her name is on the deeds of a family flat in Spain. I need to take her name off the deeds. I was born in England, but have a spanish passport, but I don’t own a spanish national identity card. I have been told by a Notery in Spain, that I need the identity card, in order to remove her name off the deeds, along with translations of her death certificate and my birth certificate. Can you advise if this is correct and how I got about doing this? Thank you!

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Afternoon Maria,

      We are sorry to hear of your loss.

      Amanda, our paralegal, will be in contact with you shortly to discuss this matter further.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Emma Gaffney

    Hi
    My mum and her husband lived in Spain my mum died 6 years ago and left her half of the house to my children. Her husband remarried and now his new wife has messaged me saying they want to sell the house and wants me to get a solicitor to put my children’s names on the deeds so they can sell the house and get their inheritance and I am executor of my mums will she wants me to sign this over? Is any of this right? I just thought the houses gets sold and then they receive their inheritance?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Afternoon Emma,

      We understand your concern.

      Amanda, our paralegal will be in contact with you shortly to discuss this matter further.

      In the meantime, should you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us.
      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Mar

    Hi,

    My husband and I own a property in Lanzarote. We are considering….rather than willing our holiday home to our kids we would put our property in one or both of our adult kids names (they are aged 21 & 20)…..in order that….. one or both of them would have responsibility for maintaining the property and paying the high Community Fees and other expenses of it before my husband retires in three years. We paid €325,000 at the peak in 2006 but the value of the property at this time is probably in the region of €225,000 to €240.000. What costs would be involved in transferring our property to one or both adult kids?
    Many thanks,
    Mar.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Mar, Thanks for your enquiry, we can help with this gift or donation. There would be solicitor fees, notary fees, Land Registry fees and a few other costs. We will provide an exact breakdown if we can have please your deeds and IBI bill. I will send you an email now. Kind regards,

  • Robert

    Hi
    My wife and I brought a house in Murcia Spain in both our names, we want to change ownership so my wife owns 100% of the property. We brought it for 160,000 and the vaule is around the same at the moment.
    Please could let us know how much it would cost to do this.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Bob, Thank you for your enquiry. We can calculate the costs without charge, but we need your deeds and IBI bill scanning to us at sales@spanishsolutions.net. Thanks so much, Kind regards

  • Eileen Arnal

    My partners son & daughter in law have a property in Tenerife but are divorcing. The daughter in law is relinquishing her interest in the property so her name is to be removed as joint owner & to have my partners name added instead becoming a joint owner with his son. Is it possible to accomplish this if the daughter in law “donates” it to my partner? If not, how is this done & what are the costs.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Eileen, Usually the best way is a dissolution of joint ownership, I am going to send you an email now as we need some documents to quote, With kind regards

  • Derek Bell

    Dear Eileen,
    I bought a property in Marbella, Spain, 10 years ago,I bought it myself with a Santander mortgage for €202,00. We parted company 9 years ago, however she was put on the deeds a Joint owner 50% – 50% and still remains on the deeds. I have paid the mortgage, Community fees bills etc for the past 10years.
    1./ Can she sell the property without me knowing ?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Derek, Thank you for your enquiry. No, that is not possible. A sale has to be signed for either in person by both of you at a Notary or by you giving power of attorney to someone to act on your behalf. And even if you had given her a power of attorney to do this (which I doubt), then she (nor anyone else) could not use this without an authorisation from you for the transaction. So the answer is no. Two people who no longer wish to be co-owners, there is a special method in Spain of changing the ownership to one called a dissolution of joint ownership. Taxes are much lower. I would suggest that you maybe consider this possibility at some stage. We could quote with the deeds, IBI/suma bill and come to an agreement with her about your costs all being deducted from her share. It would be a good idea to get this sorted as otherwise if something happened to her, her 50% will pass to her next of kin and it only gets more complicated with contact etc in the future and agreeing the division and proving your expenses in past years. If I can help, please email me, we can deal with it in Marbella. I also need to know the amount of the mortgage left, but would advise you to approach us before the Bank. Kind regards Amanda (sales@spanishsolutions.net)

  • Nickey Waghorn

    My name is on a property in Spain alongside my sister. I am getting dirvor ed amd nwed to free uo some money. How do I go about removing my name from the property deeds and being paid for my share of the property.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Nickey, There is a lot on our website about this, it is called a division of joint tenancy or dissolution of joint ownership if your sister wants to keep the property, whereby she buys you out and the taxes are lower. Or you both agree to sell, or you try to sell your share (but that could be difficult with another co-owner). Or if your sister does not agree you would need to go to Court to force a dissolution of the joint ownership and that the property is sold, as no two co-owners can be forced to remain co-owners if they don’t want to. Your starting point is to talk to your sister then come back to us Kind regards, Amanda

  • Billy

    I am thinking of buying a property in Spain but would like to add my 3 grown up kids to the title deeds to save any bother when I eventually pass away. Is this the best option or is there an easier and more cost effective way of leaving them the property?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Billy, It depends on what region of Spain as to what our advice would be. Currently the Spanish government in looking to raise money from taxes, and for example, in the Valencia region, the new ruling local government has stated their intention to erase or significantly reduce inheritance tax allowances. Thus, it may be advisable to buy in their names with an usufruct (right to use the property), or just in their names. Where are you thinking of buying? Maybe you could send us an email with some more details. I am sure too we can help recommend some agents for you, Kind regards.

  • Julia Freedman

    It has just come to light that a property on the Costa Del Sol my late Father purchased over thirty years ago has not been in joint ownership of my brother and I, but 100 per cent my brothers. An error by the registry at the time! How do we change ownership to 50/50? Or should I put my half share now in my two adult childrens’s names? Are there any tax advantages. Property purchased for Approx £30k now value Approx £180k?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Julia, Can you please send me the deeds and IBI for the property and let me know if you are all in agreement to change this mistake, then we will advise the best way to do it. With kind regards Amanda

  • Janet DeHaney

    my mum passed away some 8 years ago this month i need to put the house in mine and my brothers as we would like to sell the house can you help

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Janet, Yes, we can. I will send you an email telling you what needs to be done for the probate in Spain. I am sorry about your Mum. Kind regards, Amanda

  • Brenda Keith

    My partner and I have separated and he wants to take his name off the deeds so signing his share over to me. Can this be done and at what cost. Kind regards Brenda.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Hi Brenda, Yes, it is called a dissolution of joint ownership or division of joint tenancy (I think you are saying the deeds are in joint names). We would need the deeds and suma/IBI bill emailed to us to advise the costs. Kind regards Amanda

  • Oliver

    Hello there, I have quite a peculiar question (or so I think). My parents bought there house about 40 years ago in Spain. Lived there ever since. My parents paid the property as a rent to buy, but as they where close friends, there where no papers signed and paid in cash. My parents have been paying for the water, electricity, community fees, etc since they got the house. Now, my question is how can I get the property in my name if the property was never in my parents name (officially). Please any help would be appreciated. Kind regards!

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Oliver, We would need more information such as are your parents alive? Did they keep the purchase contract or proof of payments?
      In Spain you can obtain the deeds if you have been living in the property for 10, 20 or 30 years. We would need more information, but yes, the/you can obtain the title deeds. With kind regards, Amanda

  • Lyn

    Hi I have a property in tenerife my ex and I split up 2yrs after buying the apartment he should never of gone on deeds but did.He has not paid 1 euro since leaving 17 yrs ago and has now reappeared to claim half.we have a son who was born I’m tenerife and never paid for even with a court order and God know how many denounces I would like this sorted before I pop my clogs so my children get it and not him

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Lyn, We can help you with this. Please send me an email with the last communication from him, plus your court documents, the deeds and IBI bill and we can advise how to proceed, and the costs. Kind regards Amanda

  • Natalia

    Hi I bought a house in spain in my married name, I’ve since gone back to my maiden name, is this an easy change on all paperwork etc? Thanks

    • Jane

      Hi Natalia

      It depends on what documents you require to be changed. Please call us or message and we can quote you for us doing the changes for you.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Steve

    Hi here,
    I bought a house with my girlfriend and she gave me an affidavit to sign for her and when I done this the notary said the affidavit is valid for two years. Unfortunately we are to separate and I want to know indican again use the affidavit(it is within the 2 years) to remove her name to avoid the her not agreeing and going down a long painful process. I was the one that paid for the house in full and she has paid nothing. Failing that what is my best option

    • Amanda Thomas

      Hi Steve, Please send us this query by email with a copy of the affadavit and we will advise Kind regards Amanda

  • Patrick Bailey

    My Spanish born wife is an american citizen but has purchased a property off plan that will be completed in May using her DNE in her maiden which she keeps current. I do not have DNE so everything will be in her name. Is there a problem with me not being on escritura ? Thanks

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Patrick, Well, she will have 100% ownership but if you split up then the origin of the funds will be considered. But if she passes away, the property will go to whoever who is in her Last Will. You may wish to consider getting a NIE (our team can help you) and buying in joint names, Kind regards.

  • Carson Samantha Williams

    Hi,
    My partner & I bought with a mortgage, a derelict house in our town 20 years ago for an incredibly low price, the mortgage ends this year.
    We parted 15 years ago, but we are very good friends. I have lived in the house since purchase & have taken care of all restoration/repair costs & bills, though admittedly the house does now require further substantial repair work.
    The mortgage is in his name only, we never married but he is happy to sign the house over to me, he also owns a small flat in another town which is worth around 50,000. Let us presume the value of this house is also 50,000 euros, can you give me a rough cost of transferring the deeds over to me, he is worried that he may incur a large tax bill.
    Kind regards
    Samantha

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Samantha, I just answered on your other point but did not realise you were not married. I should add to my last comment that he can name you as sole heir, that inheritance tax could be substantial depending on where the property is. Signing the house over to you would have to be done as a purchase and sale and we would need you to email us the deeds and the IBI/suma council tax bill with catastral value to give you a breakdown to help you with this. We cannot give costs without deeds and suma but it will be several thousand in costs and taxes minimum. In Valencia region purchase tax is 10%. Kind regards Amanda

  • Carson Samantha Williams

    Hi,
    Sorry I forgot to ask, we are both British, we are resident in Spain & both have Autonomo.
    Is it possible for him to leave the house outright to me in his Will, or does Spanish law come into play where the property would have to be divided between our 2 adult children leaving 1/3rd to me, or is the only option where he is allows me to live in the house for the rest of my days? I do not want this last option.
    Kind regards again
    Samantha.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Samantha,

      British people can choose who they want their heirs to be, so he can leave it outright to you. But he must make sure that his Spanish Will states he chooses the law of his nationality. Kind regards Amanda

  • Simon

    My partner has changed surname since we bought our property jointly. Her passport and residency document (which we needed to update) show her current surname. The only thing showing her old surname is the Land Register, although it has the correct NIE. Will the fact that the NIE matches her ID documents mean that all will be OK when we sell? It seems unnecessary to change the Land Register seeing as everything works by NIE here. Is that right?

  • John

    I own a property in Spain i want to put my partner’s name on it.we use it for a holiday home it’s on a camp site.Its never been a problem before but now the owners of the site are saying that she should pay.She gives me half the ground rent every month.What would it cost to put her name on it?

    • Tracie Miles

      Good afternoon John
      Thank you for your enquiry. My colleague will email you under separate cover regarding the process of adding your partner´s name to your property. In respect of your second question, you would need to speak to the site office regarding your passport.
      Kind regards
      Tracie

  • John

    I forgot to ask I bought my property in Spain using my British passport I did a family tree i now have a Irish passport to.l believe that non EU citizens will have to pay 25% tax instead of 19 so would it be possible to change my passport registration at the site office into the Irish passport.l said in my previous email that i want to put my partner’s name on the ownership of the property but she has a British passport?

    • Tracie Miles

      I have replied to you on this question along with your other enquiry.

  • Nozahic alain

    Good afternoon

    I would like to know if you can help me with a new issue, I have a house in Spain owns by a Uk company. With Brexit my tax tripled, I am french and resident in Uk and 100% shareholders of this company, I would like to find a best way to remove this house from Uk company. I was thinking re-located Uk company in Malta? Or open new holding in malta and transfer the house in malta holding but concern about more tax in Spain

    Best regards

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Nozahic,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      It appears Ana, contacted you in April to discuss this matter but had little reply. We will advise Ana of your comments and ask she contacts you again. Should you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us again.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

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