The State of emergency declared on Saturday March 14th in our country has left many of us in the dark. Entrepreneurs and workers in the real estate industry have raise a number of worries facing this exceptional situation. ShBarcelona has answered for you below some of the most frequently asked questions of the last few days.
Frequently asked questions about the real estate sector in Barcelona:
Whether you are a real estate manager or agent, or even if you are a tenant in the process of renting a flat in Barcelona, it is important that you know which activities that remain allowed and the ones that are to be avoided. You can check the API website (Col-legis i Associació d’Agents Immobiliaris) in Catalonia for up-to-date information.
Can I attend to my customers in person?
No. According to Article 7 of “Royal Decree Law 463/2020 of 14th of March”, there is a limit in the free movement of individuals and the real estate sector isn’t within the exception category. As, no physical contact is allowed, the offices must be closed to the public.
Can I make flat visits?
No. As in the previous case, any activity involving maintaining some type of physical contact isn’t within the permitted activities.
What about if a contract come to an end?
In the Royal Decree Law nothing has been mentioned about contractual relations. In this regard, it is under the criteria of interpretation and willingness of the parties to reach an agreement. However, in Additional Provision 4 of the Decree, all limitation periods for all actions and rights are suspended for the duration of the State of emergency and its extensions. The most recommendable, in any case, and following the recommendations of the authorities, is that the parties agree to postpone the deadlines until the same authorities allow their usual activity to continue.
What about administrative and procedural deadlines?
As the State of emergency is in force, all procedural and administrative deadlines, in all judicial orders, are suspended.
Can I make an appointment with a notary?
In these circumstances, notaries shall only act in emergency situations, which may be communicated by e-mail or telephone. The Consejo General del Notariado has advised to reduce the amount of authorization of notary documents with the exception of serious cases or for those that cannot be postponed, such as sickness cases. In any case, the health measures recommended by the competent authorities shall be respected.
Can I sign a contract?
No. As we mentioned earlier, the act of free movement and assembly is not possible at this time, and therefore the signatures of contracts requiring such actions must be postponed.
Can I sign an e-signature contract?
Yes, provided that all parties have the necessary resources to do so. For an electronic signature to be valid it must be made through formats prepared specifically for this purpose. We take this opportunity to remind you that a scanned document is not valid.
Should I deposit the bond within the agreed time frame?
Because the administrative and procedural time limits have been suspended, the bonds must not be deposited within the time limit. However, the Cámara de la Propiedad Urbana has defined a special entry procedure, which can be known by contacting them directly by phone.
Should the owners reduce the rent temporarily?
No. LAU (Urban Leases Act) does not provide for this. Even so, this information is likely to be amended soon as in other EU countries, different measures are being taken on the same matter.
In any case, it is always advisable to consult with competent individuals or the relevant authorities before taking any action. This information may be extended or modified in the light of developments in the sector in the coming days.
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