As a buyer, you will want to ensure that the seller is the owner of the property who is legally able to sell it, that there are no charges registered against it, or hidden problems.
Since 1888, all property in Gibraltar has been registered in a Crown Lands Registry. Your lawyers search the registry to ascertain that the seller is the unencumbered owner.
Most properties in Gibraltar are held on long leases. The bulk of these are in apartment blocks operated as 'condominiums'; apartment owners contribute to a management fund used to repair, insure and maintain the common areas of buildings and structural parts.
These leases will be very detailed, sometimes containing up to 50 pages in which the rights and obligations of apartment owners among themselves, and with the management company, are carefully described. Your legal representatives will guide you through these documents and advise you on all legal implications.
The aim is always to ensure that you sign up to a properly drawn up document of title, ensuring the future value of what you are buying, and your quality of life as a home owner.
Whilst most leases are relatively well drafted, in around 10% of all cases there is some issue or another which we identify as needing improvement or rectification. Once identified, we will normally be able to resolve such issues.
Your lawyers will look at planning issues to ensure that the property has up to date certificates of fitness. Where works have been carried out without proper permission by the seller we will guide you through the process of ensuring compliance.
The pre-contract process can be resolved very quickly by experienced and proactive lawyers. Once the parties are ready to exchange, contracts can be signed.
Until such time as a contract is signed, neither party will be bound to complete a transaction, and either party can walk away.
Once a contract has been signed, both parties will be legally bound and, insofar as a buyer is concerned, care should be taken to ensure that funds are available on the date set for completion.
Where mortgage finance is required, we will also assist you with the mortgage documentation. At completion, we will deal with payments and changeover of utilities