Buying off plan property in Spain continues to be popular among non-resident buyers, especially as an investment.
If you are considering purchasing off plan, then it is very important that you are aware of your rights and the promoter’s obligations. Whether you are buying an apartment or a house within a complex which is still not built, or whether you are have bought land and are having a villa built, you should make it clear that you expect the promoter (off plan) or builder(land) to fulfill their obligations, including the famous “libro del edificio” (literally, book of the building).
The libro del edificio is a relatively new document introduced by a clause in the Ley de Ordenación de la Edificación in 2000 largely to protect the rights of house buyers in the event of any potential future problems related to possible faults in the building. This is why it is in your interests to have a copy. If anything goes wrong once you are living in your new home and you believe it is the responsability of the builders to correct it, then you need the libro del edificio in order to prove your case.
The promoter must hand over the document to the comunidad de propietarios when the building is complete (or to you if you have had a house built). Members of the comunidad (i.e. all property owners within the complex) can ask for a copy.
The libro del edificio is essentially a users manual about the building. It should include:
- the plans of the project,
- details of materials used in the building and how they should be maintained,
- instructions on how to use and maintain all buildings and facilities within the complex (not only housing, but also pool, sports areas, parks, gardens….),
- the original building project with any modifications which may have been made during the building process,
- the acta de recepción de la obra (document certifying when the building was completed and received) and
- a list of all companies and professionals who have participated in the process (building company, electricians, plumbers, carpinters….