Consumer rights in the purchase of housing

Consumer rights in the purchase of housing

EU and Spanish regulations protect especially consumers who buy a house: Normally being the most important investment that the consumer will make in their lives, one of the main problems to face is the lack of knowledge of the rights and obligations involved in the purchase process.

When are you considered a consumer in the purchase of a house or property?

When housing is a final consumption good and is not acquired for business purposes. Likewise, consumer and user protection regulations are applied in the relations between consumers (buyer) and professional/companies (seller).

It is important, therefore, when facing the purchase of a home, take into account the following aspects:

Housing sale advertising

All agents involved in the construction and rehabilitation of houses, as well as in the provision of real estate services, such as developers, owners, real estate agents and property managers must comply with the regulations that prohibit illegal advertising in the sale and / or rent of a house.

Law 18/2007 of 28 December on housing rights establishes which are the essential characteristics that must be accomplished when advertising the sale or rental of a dwelling. Advertising must be true, information provided must be real, the fundamental data and characteristics of the real state cannot be hidden, adverts cannot induce the recipients to error with economic repercussions, the buyer can demand the data and characteristics of the construction and, in addition, properties cannot be commercialized, or advertised on behalf of third parties without previously having the corresponding order note.

On the other hand, the advertising for the sale of a home must contain at least: the location (it must not allow to identify the home to guarantee privacy and protection of the rights of the owners, but allow the interested party to locate the district and the area within the same one in which the property is located), the state (finished, under construction or only projected), number and expiration date of the works license (in case of new work), useful and constructed surface, number of membership of the agent of the real estate property, contact details of the person in charge of marketing the real estate promotion, and the energy efficiency label.

Consumer protection clauses in the housing purchase agreement

Spanish Law 1/2007, of November 16, approves the revised text of the General Law for the Protection of Consumers and Users, is the law that establishes how the clauses of a sale or rental contract for a home must be: simple, concrete and clear in their wording, they cannot be abusive and always in case of doubt prevails the principle of interpretation more favourable to the consumer.

A clause is abusive when negotiated against good faith, establishes a significant imbalance between the rights and obligations of the parties to the detriment of the consumer, or binds the contract solely to the will of the developer or seller company.

Examples of unfair terms are those imposed on the consumer to pay expenses that correspond to the developer or seller company, as for example: the stipulation requiring the buyer to pay the costs of inscribing in the property register the division condo or mortgages to finance construction; the clause that obliges the consumer to subrogate in the mortgage of the developer; clauses that obliges the consumer to pay the taxes that by law correspond to the seller; or that which impose on the consumer the expenses derived from establishing access to the general supplies of the property when the house must be delivered in conditions of habitability.

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