Taking on Water and Electricity accounts (+- phone line)

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Taking on Water and Electricity accounts (+- phone line)

Postby AndyLucyOne » Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:24 am

I'm in the process of buying a 50-year old townhouse. In the words of a currently famous person: "... It's going to be great; it'll be the best house ever" and ... it's got walls built already.

I shall be attending the signing of the escritura at the Notary, with my abodago. Is life as easy as collecting the keys from the seller, wandering in to "my" house and turning on all the lights and running all the taps expecting everything to work ? :lol: What do I need to do to transfer/take on the Electricity and Water supplies continuously ?

As a newbie, I want to ensure that I make all the mistakes I should. In that moment of euphoria of offer-accepted, I began by agreeing to use the Spanish abogado so helpfully recommended by the estate agent (...it would be simpler, quicker, better ... OK, OK, now I know !: STRIKE-ONE).
I really dont know who's 'side' my lawyer is on, it's not mine, but he doesn't want to share anything with me, answer emails, supply documents. I would like him to be proactive, but 'Pro' and 'Active' do not seem appropriate adjectives for him. Hence I want to go to the signing in person, if only to be able to meet him and make sure it actually happens. I dont have great confidence that any more than the bare minimum will be performed by him, even though I have signed a Power of Attorney giving him more rights than I have myself (STRIKE-TWO), including authority to transfer the utilities accounts.

Is there anything I, myself, should do on or before the day of the Notary, to ensure that the power and water dont get cut off, and do get transferred over to me ?

Please be gentle
Last edited by AndyLucyOne on Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:58 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Taking on Water and Electricity accounts (+- phone line)

Postby IreneD » Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:43 am

Welcome to the forum, AndyLucyOne :)

We bought about 14 years ago and also used the abogado recommended by the estate agent. When I look back, and having heard all sorts of horror stories, I can hardly believe everything went so well. I really hope you have the same experience.

For us, the abogado sorted out everything, NI numbers, electricity, bank account.............but we did have to go to the notary for the actual signing. We must have given him some sort of power of attorney, I suppose, but we definitely needed to do the notary stuff in person, with him. I can completely see why you want to be there, I would have thought it was essential but I'm sure wiser heads than mine will be along soon to advise you.

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Re: Taking on Water and Electricity accounts (+- phone line)

Postby Free at Last » Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:34 am

I've recently bought another property here after having sold my original one. My abogada (not one recommended by the estate agent) did transfer the utility bills to me with no problem, as did the one I used for the original purchase. A copy of the most recent electricity and water bills must be supplied by the vendor as part of the sale process, so if you want to check that they have indeed been transferred to your name you would need to make sure your abogado gives you copies of them (mine were attached to the escritura) you could contact the companies involved yourself to ask about it. Often the bills are just transferred into the name of the new owner whilst the contract remains in the name of the vendor (or, as I have seen in several cases, owners dating back even before the vendor), because this avoids the need to supply boletins to obtain a new contract in the name of the new owner. If that is done in your case, it's up to you whether you are happy to leave it that way, but personally I did have new contracts in my own name put in place.

If you have given Power of Attorney to this abogado, you really need to make sure it is legally revoked once the purchase of the house is concluded, which will involve another trip to the notary's office, and extra cost, unfortunately. If that isn't done he would retain all the rights conferred under the POA, possibly including access to your bank account if the POA included that.

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Re: Taking on Water and Electricity accounts (+- phone line)

Postby Wicksey » Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:08 am

Make sure that the bills have all been paid up to date. The lawyer should check that and ensure they are all in order otherwise you will foot the bill for any outstanding debts on the property. I don't think you need to give PoA just for them to change the bills into your name. Normally they should do this as a matter of course for you.

In our more recent experiences of buying and selling our gestoria handled everything for us. Even then, sometimes the bills continued to be paid by the previous owners and it took several visits to the Recaudacion office to get the IBI put into our address. I don't think it is like the UK where the utilities cut you off on the day you move in. It doesn't seem to be that instant here and dealing with the utility companies isn't always that easy from our experience!

It is your right to go to the Notary to sign in person and I would highly recommend it as the escritura (deed) should be fully translated to you before you sign it. You should ask to see all evidence that all the bills for the property are paid up to date and there should be a very recent nota simpla to show there are no debts related to the property and no outstanding mortgage. If you buy a property with debts you will take these on too.

It may be that everything is in order and that the lawyer just isn't very communicative, but I would want to see everything first and make sure I know exactly what I am signing and buying. Perhaps with an established townhouse there should be less problems but when buying campo houses people have ended up buying the wrong house/land or an illegal property, and as a campo-dweller and been 'stung' in the past I am now very cautious and don't trust estate agents or their associated lawyers.

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Re: Taking on Water and Electricity accounts (+- phone line)

Postby peteroldracer » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:41 pm

Be prepared to have an interpreter if your Spanish is not good. As Wicksey says "the escritura (deed) should be fully translated to you" and if the Notary is doing their job properly they cannot proceed unless they are certain that you have understood all the terms etc. They will not provide a translation normally.
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Re: Taking on Water and Electricity accounts (+- phone line)

Postby maureenscot » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:07 pm

get an English/Spanish speaker. Try to get into the house before you sign to see if lights work, toilet flushes, taps in sinks etc work

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Re: Taking on Water and Electricity accounts (+- phone line)

Postby Gasman » Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:15 pm

Give yourself a couple of days before the signing date, to meet with the abogado in person (and discuss the terms and conclusion of the PoA, to check the details and documents personally with him/her before you go into the signing, to see the estate agent and to view the house as it is, so you know what you are getting in its present state, to see your new bank manager - in person - and make sure arrangements are made for the transfer of moneys. Give yourself a few days AFTER the signing also - you will have the keys and can do measurings etc for your future plans for the house, find out where the offices are for Elec and Water, set up direct debits with the bank manager, visit the town hall about the IBI payments (this year's will be paid by previous owner but you need to set up for next year), etc etc.
Keep up to date with all the info on this forum, any problems or questions, do a search and if you dont find the answer do a post and we will do our best to keep you on the straight and narrow .... Cheers and good luck!

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