Buying off-plan or under construction flats in Gran Canaria (and anywhere in Spain) is perfectly safe provided the right precautions are taken. Here’s what you have to do to buy safely.
Plans and PermitsBefore signing any contract or leaving any money as a deposit, first check that the build project has a Municipal Building Permit. Also ask to see the original architect’s floor plans and compare them to the plans in the sales brochure. They should be identical as the Municipal Building Permit is granted based on the original plans and any subsequent changes are not covered. We can’t stress enough how important this is: There have been recent cases where changes to the original plans were ruled illegal.
Land RegistryCheck that the plot of land to be built on is free of legal encumbrances and that its ownership and surface area are as stated by the promoter.
Demand Your RightsPromoters in Spain typically ask for 20% to 40% of the total price to cover construction costs. Since 1968 this sum has to be covered by a bank guarantee or an insurance policy so that buyers’ money is protected if the build isn’t completed. As an added security measure, all funds paid by buyers have to be kept in a special bank account and can only be withdrawn by the promoter once he has certificates from the architect stating that the construction has reached an agreed phase. Promoters often don’t offer these guarantees even though they are an inalienable right of the buyer and apply even if they aren’t mentioned in the contract.
GuaranteesAccording to the 1999 “Ley de Ordenación de la Edificación” the building agents must provide the following guarantees by means of an insurance policy:
- A one year guarantee covering material damage due to faults or deficiencies in workmanship that affect the appearance, facade or finish of the building works
- A three-year guarantee covering damage caused by faults or defects of the building or installations that put it in breach of habitability requirements (hygiene, soundproofing, etc.)
- A ten year guarantee covering damage to the building caused by faults or defects that affect the structure and stability of the building, and damages to third parties caused by any such faults or defects.