Purchases maybe held up for UK buyers if property is sited on military land

A Spanish law from the 1970s Franco-era that has impacted non-EU citizens is now affecting British property buyers following the transition period coming to an end on 31 December 2020.

If a property is located on military land, military permission has to be applied for and granted for the transaction to proceed. While the law applies to all non-EU citizens, there was a hope that British buyers would receive either an exemption or a grace period. But it was confirmed in the first week of January that Brits would be treated the same way as all other non-EU buyers as of 1 January 2021.

We are contacting all of our current clients who have been caught up in this post-Brexit development.

In both the Alicante and Murcia communities there are designated areas of military land, but the areas are a patchwork and not every property will be affected. We are treating each property transaction individually and checking with the land registry which properties are affected and which are not.

Criminal records check required

Purchasers who are affected will need to apply for a criminal records check from the country where they have been residing for the last five years. This document will need to be apostilled at the Foreign Office and returned to the solicitor in order to obtain a sworn translation of the full document. Then the apostilled document, its translations and the rest of the requested documents will go the Ministry of Defence for a decision. The military permission is connected to a specific purchase, so there is no benefit in prospective buyers obtaining a criminal record check ahead of time as the property they buy may not need a military permission.

Decisions may take up to 5 months

A decision on whether to grant military permission can take anything up to five months, but it may be considerably less. Five months is the legal time limit to respond – it’s been extended because of the coronavirus situation. This is an unwelcome development and one that has the potential to delay the purchase timescale.

The law affects new build and resale properties equally. As the requirement evolves and settles down with time, we will keep our clients and contacts up to date with all notable developments.

Next steps

If you have already found a property and are ready to proceed, we can do a search and tell you if the property will be affected or not. Contact us by email at admin@sun-lawyers.com

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