to avoid losing your property

Acting in good faith when buying a property can be the lifesaver

13 / Sep

These days, it is common for the same (property) to be sold to multiple buyers. This is known as a DOUBLE SALE. It then appears as if all parties have the right to ownership, but legally it has only been transferred to one person!

In the following cases, ownership is transferred to the following parties:

  1. In the case of movable property: to the person who first took possession of the property in good faith;
  2. In the case of immovable property: to the person who first entered the property in the Property Register, and in all cases to the person who first took possession of the property in good faith.

It is therefore important at the time of a property purchase or sale to ensure that the Property Registry is checked to know the legal situation of the property you intend to acquire.

However, the most important thing is to act in good faith knowing that the property you are acquiring does not belong to any other person, nor has it been the subject of any other sale or purchase.

Good faith should be understood as not knowing that the (real) property has been the subject of a previous purchase or sale or that there is no possibility of finding out the incorrectness at the Property Registry.

Good faith also means acting with care. It is therefore advisable to also verify the state of possession of the property, because in case of the existence of a first possessor, the ignorance of the second buyer will be qualified as a negligent act.

The one who registered the property at the Property Registry without good faith will not be the rightful owner, because the one who previously bought in good faith and did not get the property delivered will be entitled to possession with the corresponding entry in the property register, thus becoming the rightful owner.

In case of doubt, make sure that the factual situation and the property register fully correspond as to the ownership of the right that was sold to you.

Finally, if you have acted in good faith as a buyer, you can exercise procedures to acquire ownership (la acción declarativa o reivindicatoria) to claim your rights as a rightful owner. As an acquirer, you have up to five years to do this.

Camila Lizarazo Gonzalez