Over the last few days, numerous articles and front pages have alarmed British citizens who were thinking of buying a property on the islands. The exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 1 January has meant that its citizens have become non-EU foreigners, which has direct effects on British property investments in Mallorca and the rest of the Balearic Islands.
One of the consequences of Brexit is the need to obtain a permit from the Ministry of Defence, according to a law of 1975 on areas and installations of interest for National Defence. However, this military permit will not be necessary if a British or any non-EU foreigner (with the exception of Swedes and Norwegians) wishes to acquire a property on urban land, be it an apartment, a villa or a plot of land.
This authorisation will only be necessary if they wish to acquire a property on rural land. The great repercussion and alarm caused by this new requirement, which is now also necessary for British citizens, is due to the delay that it is said to cause in carrying out the real estate transaction.
Well, let’s analyse this supposed delay. Although it is true that there can be simple and quick purchase and sale transactions, this is not usually the case when it comes to the purchase of a rural property in Mallorca. It is very important to carry out a process of examination of the documentation, the physical reality of the property and its legal situation. It is very rare to find a rural property that is 100% legal and with all the documentation up to date.
Therefore, the most advisable thing to do in these cases is always to sign a first deposit contract, whereby the buyer hands over part of the price and a period of time is established, which usually ranges from 1 to 3 months, to carry out a due diligence process, so that the seller can obtain essential documentation before the sale, so that the urban situation can be regularised or even, and very often, so that the buyer can be granted the bank financing needed to carry out the investment.
Well, taking into account that it takes an average of 3 months from the date of application to obtain the military permit, we are not talking in these cases about such a considerable time delay. The importance of good planning is clear here, as well as the importance of submitting the application with enough time in advance and the necessary and correct documentation to avoid further delays or surprises. If this authorisation is not available at the time of signing the public deed of sale, the buyer cannot be registered as the new owner in the Land Registry. Again, this is not necessary if the property being purchased is located on urban land.
And, returning to the money deposit contract (also a purchase option contract), it will be essential to establish in the contract a reasonable period of time to obtain permission before signing the public deed of sale. We see, therefore, the need to have the help of a lawyer specialised in the matter, since, if the process of buying a rural property already involved an exhaustive examination process, now there is an additional requirement for the British. And so that it remains just another requirement and does not become a problem, at ILLESLEX ABOGADOS we offer you our services as specialists in real estate and urban planning law, with more than 20 years of experience in the sector.
Elisabeth Bonet Ochogavía
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