Managing the urban environment: The curse of notaries
Environment and Public Health Political Studies Association (UK)
When purchasing property, the core business document is the Contract of Sale. This is undertaken by notaries. The contract of sale is a definitive document on which hangs your claim to the property. Therefore, select your notary only on the basis of recommendations. If you take pot luck on a notary you know nothing about, you could suffer the impact for the rest of the time you own that property. On the Contract of Sale hangs not only your claim to the property, but also any rights that are associated with the property. Hence, it is imperative that a Contract of Sale also includes any rights associated with the property if these rights are to be protected.
One intrinsically assumes that a Contract of Sale would include a description of any associated rights. That is a wrong assumption. A notary makes it clear that her responsibility, according to a Law, is to write the name of the seller, the name of the buyer and the hypothec (which promises a peaceful transfer of the property from seller to buyer). All will be well until a situation arises which constrains you to examine the rights associated with the property you bought.
You find to your dismay, that in fact you do have rights but these details have been left out of the Contract of Sale. This puts you at a severe disadvantage against a pretender who denies you those rights. Indeed, if you try to add the missing details in an addendum to the Contract of Sale, your notary will not do this, claiming that it is not their responsibility to put such details. Worse still, if you try to engage another notary to add this addendum, they will tell you that they do not go into another notary’s work. Notaries present yet another obstacle in renovating old properties (Managing Urban Environments: Legal obstacles, The Malta Independent, 15 November 2016).
To be fair, I have only engaged female notaries. Perhaps there is a gender difference. Perhaps not. In the meantime, beware and be aware.