Lexicon on Spanish Legal Real Estate Terms:

Actos jurídicos documentados:

The A.J.D. is a tax imposed on certain transactions. It could also be called stamp duty.


The adosado often describes a detached or semi detached dwelling.

Agencia tributaria:

The Agencia Tributaria or Hacienda is the Spanish Tax Office. Haciendas is also used for large country estates for example in Latin America and also in southern Spain.


The alquiler / arrendamiento is a rent. A contrato de alquiler / arrendamiento is therefore a lease agreement. 


The anotación is a type of charge on the basis of an administrative or judicial order. It usually constitutes a burden for the property.


The asiento is a temporary charge in the Land Registry. The asiento saves during a certain period to the acquisition of rights as a certificate with registered asiento submitted all later with the rank happening.


The house.


The catastro is the registry of real estate of the Spanish tax authorities.


The purchase. The contract is usually called contrato de compra-venta (sell - buy  contract).

Contrato privado:

The private contract is the most important part of a real estate transaction. In a private contract all rights and obligations of buyer and seller are stipulated. It is an enforceable contract in Spain even if it was not notarized. There are several types of private contracts (compra-venta, arras, opción, promesa). Each of them fulfill a specific purpose and should be chosen in accordance with the agreements between the parties.

Cuerpo cierto:

The cuerpo cierto is a legal term and describes a "specific body". This term means  that a particular object (land, house, construction) is sold "as is". You buy and pay in accordance to what you have seen and not what is described.

Declaración de obra:

With the Declaración de obra an already existing house or a planned house which has received the planning permission is registered in the Land Registry.

Derecho de habitación:

A right to habitate a dwelling.


The embargo or embargo preventivo is a forced charge in the Land Registry. It can be a compulsory mortgage or arrest or other charge.

Escritura or escritura pública as well:

Escritura or transcript is a notaries deed. A deed may be any kind of document. If you buy a property in Spain the sales contract will be described with: escritura pública de compraventa. The notary´s deed in real estate transactions can be registered in the land registry whereas private contracts cannot.


The finca is a plot. In the land registry a finca describes the property which is registered there. Usually the word finca is used to describe land or a farm.


A word meaning tax.

Impuesto sobre bienes inmuebles:

The IBI is the annual property tax or the annual council tax.

Impuesto sobre transmisiones patrimoniales:

The I.T.P. is the tax payable on acquisition of real estate. It can aslo be described as   transfer tax or stamp duty. The ITP is paid by the person who received the property (Buyer).

Impuesto sobre valor anadido:

The IVA is the Spanish VAT (Value Added tax).


The legalización means legalization. Most people would refer to legalisation in Spain when rectifying the Land registry. However, the word is ambiguous as this registration does not mean that an illegaly erected property becomes legal with its registration. Only the granting of a permit of the town hall in charge or a court order can make an illegal property legal.

Ley de propiedad horizontal:

The Ley de Propiedad Horizontal, the Spanish Condominium Act, sets out the rights and obligations with respect to condominiums (bloc of flats). The Condominium Act describes the tasks of the administration of the condominium (administración de la comunidad), the members of the condominium (comunidad de propietarios), the Assembly (Junta de propietarios), the President (presidente de la comunidad), or sets out rules on costs (gastos). The estatutos - Statutes of the Community are usually agreed on incorporation.


The NN.II.EE. or número de identificación de extranjeros is the foreigner identification number. The NIE is a prerequisite for any kind of (business) activity in Spain.


The NN.II.FF. or número de identificación fiscal is the Spanish tax number. The NIF is granted at the tax office. It is identical with the N.I.E. number.

Nota simple:

The nota simple is an excerpt from the Land Registry. It describes the current situation of a property in terms of the ownership and charges.

Número de finca:

The Número de finca is the plot number used in the Land Registry.


As parcela (plot) a piece of land or part of a plot is described. Usually you find the word in a register.

Permiso de obra:

The permiso de obra is a building permit. There are different permits. Its content depends on the actual works that need to be carried out in a real estate (permiso de obra mayor, permiso de obra menor, and permiso de obra menor simple). The submission always involves a tax (Impuesto) and charges (Tasa).


The apartment. Found in the description of flats with more than one floor, for example piso duplex or piso triplex (duplex = two, triplex [rare] = three). If the apartment is at the top floor one speaks of ático, if it is on the ground floor of planta baja. Normally the floor between ground floor and first floor is the mezzanine or entre suelo. 


The plusvalía is a tax on the increase of the rateable value of the property. It is a municipal tax. The plusvalia is payable on the sale or inheritance of property.


The poligono (polygon) is a large unit of plots. It is comparable to a district.

Referencia catastral:

The referencia catastaral is the number used by the Inland Revenue to identify a property. This number has nothing to do with the plot number of the land registry.

Registro de la Propiedad:

The Land Registry. In the Land Registry Escrituras are registered.


Servidumbres are easements. It binds and entitles the respective owner of the land.


Plot within a construction zone.

Subasta inmobiliaria:

A subasta generally describes an auction. The foreclosure is also called subasta. A subasta inmobiliaria is thus a real estate auction or foreclosure. (More information can be found here)

Suelo urbanizable:

Land which could become urban under certain conditions.


A tasa is a fee or charges for certain statutory tasks the administration fullfills on request.


The urbanización is a settlement or settlement area. It is either under public or private management. Not every urbanization is legal.


The usufructo is an incumerance. The usufructo can be limited in time or granted for life.


The venta is the sale of a thing or a right.


The word vivienda generally describes a dwelling. Commercial unused spaces or office  are usually referred to as local or local comercial = local, almacén = warehouse, garage = Garage, oficina = office.

Zona rústica:

The zona rústica is undeveloped / rural land. In Spain houses can be built in rural areas under certain conditions. An important issue in Spain is that almost 95% of all houses in rural areas have been erected without the corresponding building permit or in excess of an existing permit.

Zona urbana:

The zona urbana is a building area of a municipality.