Forcing a Spanish Bank to Comply with Obligations

Posted in: Civil Law, Deeds Issues


Clients often approach us with regard to problems forcing a Spanish Bank to comply with obligations. We are all aware that in the past few years it has become harder to get transactions done with banks. Also to communicate with them and to get them to comply with obligations.

Cancellation of Mortgages with Spanish Banks

Many people have come to the end of their Spanish mortgage or have been fortunate enough to be able to pay it off. Once the mortgage is economically cancelled, this does not remove it from the Land Registry and deed. The Bank has to go to the Notary, sign a letter of payment and send this letter of payment from the Notary to the Land Registry office. A Bank cannot charge for this by law.  There will only be the Notary and Land Registry fees.

We have realised from a number of clients that the Banks are often refusing to do this process, leaving the clients asking what is happening time and again, and with a mortgage still showing registered against the property. It is important to cancel a mortgage after it is repaid, as otherwise when you come to sell a property a future buyer can see a debt on the deeds (not knowing it is nil) and it can be quite off-putting. It would have to be dealt with anyway on change of ownership.

Why are the banks not helping? Possibly because they are not interested in doing work which has no income benefit for them. Possibly because they are closing branches all over Spain and making thousands of staff redundant. Many people are having problems with Spanish banks, and if you cannot manage to resolve the issue yourselves, the next step is a lawyer.

How can we help?

The aim of this article is not for us to help you, for example, to unblock accounts that have been frozen as they need your identity documents, as really that does need to wait until you can come in person. Or to open new accounts. This is to advise you that more and more you will find Banks refusing to assist, or ignoring requests regarding cancellation of mortgages. Also cancellation of investments, dealing with accounts after a death, matters such as these. We can help guide you on how to force the Bank to assist, and even be engaged in some circumstances.

How to Force a Spanish Bank to Comply With Obligations

Our advice:-

  1. Contact the bank properly by email if possible or make an appointment and instruct them to deal with the issue, such as cancellation of a mortgage.  
  2. If they do not help, don’t spend money on engaging a solicitor at this stage, contact the bank consumer department. Last resort is to engage a solicitor and they can.
  3. Some people go against Banks for weeks and months, but the next step is to threaten and then make an official consumer complaint through doing a complaint form ( “Hoja de Reclamaciónes”) in the Bank. But you need to be in Spain and here in person in the Bank, but often that works best as pressure.
  4. Finally, the legal option. There is a special proceeding to force someone to do what the law says they have to do. It is called “Obligacíon de hacer” or an Obligation to Act. It is a very old Spanish precedent in law originating from the 19th Century and before the days of the Spanish Civil Code.  This, in practice, would be forcing the Bank through the Courts to comply with what they should be doing. We can assist with this.


If you or your friends or family are having problems with forcing a Spanish bank to comply with obligations, we will try to help all we can.