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When a private person sells a vehicle to another physical person, it is very important to go through the complete set of administrative procedures in order to change the ownership. Failure to do this will incur different types of problems including fines and road tax of the new owner being sent and charged to the former owner.

The Royal Decree 2822/1998 regulates all the legislation in Spain revolving around vehicles, including purchase and sale.

Duties of the seller

For a second hand sale the vendor will have to provide the following documentation:

  1. The “permiso de circulación” (signed at the back, along with the “ficha de características técnicas” (the document specifying the model and the characteristics of the vehicle).
  2. The receipts of payments of the “Impuesto de Vehículos de Tracción Mecánica”, (equivalent to the road tax)
  3. If the vehicle is more than 4 years old, the documents from the ITV (“Inspección Técnica de Vehículos” equivalent to the MOT).

It is important that in the sale purchase contract the precise date at which the vehicle is handed over appears, this in order to determine the responsibility for fines or accident immediately before or after the sale. The details of the buyer and seller must appear with copies of the DNI, NIE (or CIF in case of a company) attached to the contract.

The seller will have 10 days after the handing over to notify the “Dirección General de Tráfico” (the Traffic department of the police) that the vehicle has been sold by filling a special form (trámite de notificación de venta). This is very important and where most of the problems originate. Doing this eliminates the seller from the responsibility of fines, road tax, insurances and civil responsibility.

After signing the purchase contract and the car is handed over, the buyer has 15 days to give to the seller a copy of the new “permiso de circulación” certifying the vehicle now belongs to the new owner.

Duties of the buyer

The buyer will have to register the vehicle’s new ownership in the database of the traffic department.

The buyer purchased the vehicle from a second hand car dealer.

Most of the time the dealer will take care of the paperwork, giving to the buyer the “permiso de circulación” already in his name and the ITV document certifying that the vehicle passed the ITV check.

The buyer purchased the vehicle from a private person

In this case the buyer needs to have the following documentation:

  • Sale contract (signed by both parties)
  • Form requesting the change of ownership (Solicitud de cambio de Titularidad del Vehículo) signed by both parties
  • Documents from the ITV check (if necessary)
  • Permiso de circulación
  • The receipts of payments of the “Impuesto de Vehículos de Tracción Mecánica from the previous year.

After this the buyer has 30 days to:

  1. Pay the transfer tax (modelo 620) to the tax department of the local Autonomous Community, providing all the above documentation.
  2. Pay the new road tax and present the form of “Solicitud de cambio de Titularidad del Vehículo” to the traffic department. It is normal practice that buyer and vendor do this last operation together at the traffic department as this can greatly speed up the administration procedure.

The guarantee

The seller is responsible of hidden defects that the vehicle may have and that were not apparent at a glance.

If the purchases takes place between individuals, the buyer may chose to renounce this guarantee and buy the vehicle “as is”, whereas if the seller is a professional dealer he will be held responsible for any defects that the vehicle may present after purchase.

The insurance policy

If buyer and seller agree, it will be possible to transfer (subrogate) the insurance policy to the new owner. Buyer and seller should check with the insurance company of the best procedure. This operation will have to be done within 15 days after the sale. The buyer should nevertheless check that the vendor insurance policy payments are up to date.