Thursday, 13 June 2013

Are Spanish registry offices to be privatized and run by property registries?

SPAIN There is a persistent rumour that the country's registry offices (Registro Civil) are to be privatised in the near future (but see the very bottom of this article). One of the more sensible forums we look at occasionally (we try hard to stay away from them: they are mostly a source of dangerous misinformation), published an item that our colleagues over at TioJimeno picked up. It makes interesting reading of the consequences of privatizing what has been a free public service since 1870. We have made some amendments to the original text in the interest of clarity, though we cannot vouch for the veracity of any of the information contained therein, before or after our intervention (just covering our backs here, people).>>>
  • Did you know that the Minister for Justice, Alberto Ruiz Gallardón wants to privatize the Registry Offices, and that the Property Registrars (Registrador de la Propiedad, the person, or Registro de la Propiedad, the offices) should run them instead?
  • Did you know that, should that happen, you will have to pay between €20 and €30, at least, for a birth, marriage or death certificate?
  • Did you know that digitalizing all the information contained at the registry offices, cost all (taxpaying) inhabitants of Spain over €130,000,000, and that the information would be available to Property Registrars for free?
  • Did you know that the civil servants now working at the registry offices will be put to work in the courts, which means there would be no financial benefit, or savings, for the nation's coffers?
  • Did you know that the President of the Government, or Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, and two of his brothers, and Gallardón's daughter-in-law, are Property Registrars?
  • Did you know that the Rajoy contingent had asked the previous government (now in opposition) to create the possibility of privatizing the registry offices in such a way that the Property Registrars could have a sideline business?
  • Did you know that there are less than 800 Property Registries in the whole of Spain?
  • Did you know that Property Registrars provide a public service as a monopoly, deriving their income directly from the public? SPECIAL FOR EXPATS WHO HAVE BOUGHT A PROPERTY IN SPAIN AT ANY TIME: How much did the Property Registry charge you when you bought? Or sold?
  • Did you know that the so-called industrial (i.e. net) benefit of the Property Registrars, at each of their offices (yes, they are allowed to have as many as they like) amounts to 60%, and that if they take on the Registry Offices it would mean an additional €180 million shared among 800 Property Registrars each year? (Note: these figures may be from when the property registrars were raking it in at the top of the property market. We know that they are not so happy these days ...)
  • Did you know that those €180,000,000 would be paid for by the rest of us through fees paid to the registrars?
  • Did you know that Property Registrars are salaried civil servants in the rest of Europe, with some exceptions.
  • Did you know that legislation on mortgages approved by Mariano Rajoy when he was Minister for Public Administrations in the Aznar government, included clauses that allowed Ministers and members of parliament to continue to head (and benefit from) a Property Registry, to be run by someone else while he or she was in politics?
  • Did you know that this could well be a definition of 'feathering one's own nest', as could everything below here?
  • Did you know that, according to a group called Asociación de Usuarios de Registros (Registry Users Association), Mariano Rajoy still heads the registry at Santa Pola, in the province of Valencia, from which he has brought him some €20,000,000 over the years?
  • Did you know that in March this year the Rajoy government decreed the closure of a Property Registry that was in competition with the one headed by Rajoy (who has been on leave of absence for over twenty years)?
  • Did you know that, according to El País, the draft law has been around for several months and mentioned only timidly by the media but has now been put on a back burner as there are too many other things on the governmental plate?
  • So, what now? As usual, not much, except to wait and see... Be aware, though, that, like so many other drafts and laws, this could just spring up at any time and bite us in the behind.

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