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WHAT ACTS OF DUE DILIGENCE ARE GENERALLY CONDUCTED WHEN BUYING A PROPERTY?

Due diligence is the act of an investigation of a business or person prior to signing a contract. When buying a property there are minimum checks that you must do.

Real estate registry
The registry has a record of property ownership, with a complete description of each property on a material, economic and fiscal level, being able any citizen to require information regarding an enrolled building in the Registry. Thus, to analyze the “history” of the property, it is necessary to require the emission, of a document certificate of the full record of the title and dealings regarding the property.

For that purpose the registration record number or the property's full address is required. Mainly the register is consulted to check whether:
- the property is registered in the name of the person or company claiming to be the owner;
- there are any liens;
- any seizure as been registered.

The land registry is where you can obtain copies of land registry certificates.

Tax office 
It is also common to seek information on the tax office of the property's area, to check if it is registered and if so, to obtain the following information:
- the property registration number;
- the estate value;
- to know if any rental contract has been declared (although there is a possibility that the owner did not submit a copy to the local tax office).

The properties are enrolled in accordance with a number. These numbers, assignment of articles, are called "matriciais". The document that demonstrates the fiscal situation of the property is named "Caderneta Predial". In Portugal the property is either rustic, urban, or mixed (rustic and urban).

Check whether the details on the "caderneta predial" are consistent with the land registry certificate - a final deed can not be signed without it.

City Council
It is also possible to go to the City Council in order to check if the property is licensed (housing, commerce or other) or if development is planned or what type of land are surround by and the likely level of building to take place in future.

Unit-holders Association 
If it is a flat you are about to buy, the following information could be obtained from the unit-holders association:
- the management and service cost;
- if there are any outstanding payments;
- the unit-holders association's regulations.
You will have to pay community fees for the maintenance of communal areas. The charges are calculted on the basis of each owner's share.
It is also wise to obtain the rules of the condominium.

POPULAR

PORTUGAL, A PEACEFUL COUNTRY

In the recent Global Peace Index 2016, Portugal is ranked as the fifth most peaceful country in the world, in a table that organises 163 countries.

The index is based on 23 quantitative and qualitative indicators that measure the level of peace in each country. The indicators can be grouped into three general themes: level of security and protection of society; the number of international conflicts and; the degree of militarization.

Among these factors, Portugal scored in militarization (1.4 points out of 5), society and security (1.6 out of 5) and internal conflicts (1.1 out of 5). Portugal also scored in other factors such as the perception of crime, the level of violent demonstrations and crimes, the impact of terrorism or the number of displaced persons.

PORTUGAL MAKES TOP TEN OF RETIREMENT DESTINATIONS

The Annual Global Retirement Index places Portugal as the seventh best destination in the world to retire. The top three destinations listed by International Living are Costa Rica, Mexico and Panama. Spain has listed two positions below Portugal in ninth and is the only other European nation on the list.

According to International Living’s report, “the third-safest country in the world in the 2017 Global Peace Index, Portugal is not only secure but beautiful.” It adds that “if Portugal’s attributes have convinced you to give it a try, here’s a tip: Begin your test drive in the capital. Lisbon is easy to reach, with direct flights from major cities around the world.”

DEBTS TO BE RECOVERED IN THE COURTS REACH THE EUR 7.2 BILION

The enforcement proceeding (debt recovery through the courts) has been considered one of the major problems in Portuguese justice and also one of the barriers to the development of the Portuguese economy. In 2013 the cases for legal collection amounted EUR 5.6 billion, regarding 201,000 enforcement proceedings lodged in the courts. Between January and April 9 this year, 38,924 cases were filed, valued at EUR. 1.6 billion. Portuguese courts have pending something like EUR 7.2 billion to collect, which corresponds to 4.3% of GDP.

I AM AN E.U. CITIZEN, HOW CAN I REGISTRATE IN PORTUGAL?

To make your registration in Portugal, you only have to apply for a Certificate of Registration of Citizen.

The Certificate of Registration of Citizen of the European Union must be requested by any citizen of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Andorra and Switzerland, wishing to remain in Portugal for a period exceeding three months.

The request can be made to the City Hall, in person by completing a statement and delivering the necessary documents.

The application can also be made by a lawyer, as long as he has the necessary powers to act on your behalf.

I FOUND THAT THE PROPERTY I PURCHASED HAS DEFECTS, WHAT CAN I DO NOW?

Every consumer purchase is covered by a mandatory legal guarantee. As long as you are a consumer, no seller can claim otherwise.

Legally, the property must not suffer from any defect which has a negative impact on its value or which renders its regular use impossible. If these warranties are breached, the consumer can choose between repair, replacement, refund or a price reduction. However, the buyer must notify the seller of defects within one year of their discovery.

If the property is newly built, the purchaser will also benefit from a five-year warranty period. According to Art. 1225 of the Civil Code, the seller is liable for damages in respect of certain defects during five years, if he has also constructed, repaired or modified the building.