How can I complete my purchase in Spain during the Covid-19 lockdown period? That is, my dear readers, the most common enquiry that we have received in our blog on Spanish law since the middle of March.
The truth is that many British were in the process of buying a property in a sunny spot of my beloved country when the epidemic expanded and most of the world had to close frontiers in order to reduce the amount of infections. In some cases, there was even a date set up to complete but it had to be postponed. At the beginning that was not a problem for either of the parties as no one expected the lockdown to last long but it is now more than two months down the line and it is still barely impossible to travel abroad or if you do, hefty quarantines apply that make completion impossible for the traveler during at least a minimum of two weeks.
For our British clients who were in the process of completing the purchase that means that they cannot attend completion and sign the title deeds. The seller, who initially was keen in postponing the signing, is now feeling the pressure and worrying about his personal economy and finances, therefore putting pressure on the buyer to complete. The buyer, on the other hand, is trapped in the UK and cannot travel to Spain to complete the purchase and hence creating a Catch-22 situation.
Fortunately, there is a solution to every problem and in this case the solution is to give power of attorney to a Spanish lawyer who can complete on behalf of the client. The lawyer, if provided with a proper Spanish power of attorney, can withdraw the completion monies from the buyers´ Spanish bank account and also sign the deeds on their behalf. Obviously, this is a big responsibility and therefore the buyers should make sure that the lawyer has good reputation and, more importantly, carries sufficient professional insurance. In most cases, the buyer will already have a Spanish lawyer dealing with the transaction and therefore there will be no need to search for another lawyer but there will be other cases where the buyers do not have a lawyer. Or perhaps the person who needs to attend completion is the seller. These are some of the cases that we are seeing these days and we, as dual qualified Spanish and English lawyers specialised in advising British clients, are currently preparing urgent powers of attorney and completing for those clients who are facing this situation.
When it comes to signing a Spanish power of attorney in the UK to enable the Spanish lawyer to complete the transaction, this is still possible provided that the necessary precautions are taken at the time of the signing. This is another process that we have been acquainted with in the last few weeks and discussed in our post on powers of attorney. See link
“Patience is a virtue” presumably said William Langland in the XIV century but what happens when patience is not sufficient? This is when solutions are needed!