Property documentation


When you decide to purchase your Algarve property, your lawyer will be responsible for checking all documentation is in order.  However, we believe you should understand the various parts of the purchase process, and we will always explain this to you.

When a property is placed on the market for sale, the following documents will be needed:


Certidao de Teor (Land Registration)

This document shows that the owner has good title (i.e. owns the property) and also if the property has any loans/mortgages outstanding on it.  There is a description of the registered details of the property (area of construction and land, type, location, boundaries) which should match the actual property.  This document is obtained from the Land Registry (Conservatoria).


Caderneta Predial (Financial Registration)

The financial registration of the property, which should concur with  the details on the land registry.  Also gives information about the valor patrimonial (rateable value). This document is obtained from the Financas (Tax Department).


Caderneta Rustica

A similar document to the caderneta predial, but only required for rustic properties. It gives the same information, but also identifies trees by type and size.


Licença da Habitação/Utilização (Habitation Licence)

Properties for habitation must have a habitation licence, confirmimg the property has been constructed in accordance with the plans submitted to the Camara (Council). Properties constructed before 1951 are exempt from this requirement.
Properties for other uses (eg storage) will have a utilization licence, not a habitation licence.
These documents are obtained from the Camara (council)


Pre-1951 Certificate

When a property was constructed before 1951, a certificate is required to prove this. This pre-1951 certificate is normally provided by the local council.



All properties that have a habitation license will have plans filed at the local council. It is important to check the registered plans against the actual construction, as this is often the only way to pinpoint any illegal parts.


BI (Ficha Tecnica)

A new requirement which has come in to effect from the 16th August 2004. All house which were completed after 30th  March 2004 must have a ficha tecnica, which gives technical details of the construction type, materials etc. This document is provided by the constructor of a property.


Energy Certificate

An energy certificate is required for all properties, regardless of age or condition. A qualified engineer will make an assessment of the property, and give an energy efficiency rating for the building. Part of the report will include recommendations to reduce energy consumption.


Borehole license

All boreholes need to be registered with ARH, the entity responsible. Whilst the process is slow, it is not complicated, nor expensive. The fines for illegal extraction of water are high, so it is essential to register all boreholes.


Septic tank (fossa) licence

Septic tanks that discharge waste water into the soil must generally be registered. As with boreholes, the registration process is not complex, and we recommend that all fossas are registered with ARH.