A 6,000€ fine isn’t funny

My friends in Franceses thought they’d done all the paperwork necessary to register their house purchase when we dropped the papers off at the Land Registry months ago.

But on Thursday they got a letter in Spanish legalese, saying something about missing documents and “a fine of between 60 and 6000 Euros”.

This was not good for their blood pressure.

So they scanned it and emailed it to me. And I couldn’t really understand it either, but one of the missing documents seemed to be something to do with inheritance. Well, the man they bought the house from had had trouble sorting out the paperwork to prove that he’d inherited the house, and that therefore it was his to sell. And we had ten working days to sort this out. That’s not long, given the working pace of most offices here.

My husband had the great idea of consulting his brother. Yup, it was the paper to prove the seller really had inherited the house. This left me wondering why on earth my friends were being threatened with a fine. Surely if the house sale wasn’t legal, they were the victims? But the important point was that the notary ought to have a copy.

So we arranged to meet in Los Llanos next morning, to see the notary.

I could see no real reason why we’d have a problem, but I’ve always found that getting snotty works best if you look the part, so I dressed far more formally than normal, just in case snottiness should be required. I was aiming to look like a lawyer, but when I checked myself in the mirror, I looked more like a waitress. Oh well, better than looking like a slob.

For once, we didn’t have to queue when we got to the notary. And yes, that was the paperwork we needed, and yes, we could have a copy. “I’ll just find out the price for you.”

I started to protest. Why should my friends have to pay, when clearly this wasn’t their responsibility?

Well, it wasn’t the notary’s responsibility either. It was the seller’s, and he wasn’t here. Nine euros, please.

Nine euros wasn’t worth a row. We paid up and got the magic piece of paper, and took it to the Land Registry in Santa Cruz, who said it all looked fine, “…for the moment.”

So we really hope that the next letter they get will say that it’s all sorted, but we’re not opening the champagne yet.

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

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