When Do You Need SPA or Special Power of Attorney?

Selling a home is a meticulous task. But it does not have to be tough even if you’re not around to supervise it and to see into the legalities of the paperworks of the sale. The Philippine law, with certain conditions, allows sale of property even if you are in a different city or country from the property you want to sell.

Take in the case of Ms. Property Owner, she is looking into selling her property in the province with plans to migrate to Canada. However, she does not have enough time for the sale to take place since she is leaving in two weeks. What should Ms. Property Owner do to dispose of the property even though she is out of the country already?

What is Special Power of Attorney?

A Special Power of Attorney or SPA is giving legal authority to an agent to  represent and act in your behalf within the boundaries of the law. The law provides that a special power of attorney is necessary to enable an agent to enter into any contract by which the ownership of an immovable is transmitted or acquired either gratuitously or for a valuable consideration.

Articles 1874, 1877 and 1878 of the Civil Code addresses this situation:

Article 1874. When a sale of a piece of land or any interest therein is through an agent, the authority of the latter shall be in writing; otherwise, the sale shall be void.

Article 1877. An agency couched in general terms comprises only acts of administration, even if the principal should state that he withholds no power or that the agent may execute such acts as he may consider appropriate, or even though the agency should authorize a general and unlimited management.

Article 1878. Special powers of attorney (SPA) are necessary when the sale of a piece of land or any interest thereon is through an agent, the authority of the latter shall be in writing; otherwise, the sale shall be void. 

Thus, the authority of an agent to execute a contract for the sale of real estate must be conferred in writing and must give him specific authority, either to conduct the general business of the principal or to execute a binding contract containing terms and conditions which are in the contract he did execute.

Article 1879 also states that a special power to sell does not include the power to mortgage; and a special power to mortgage does not include the power to sell. This gives the property owner an assurance that the agent can only act within the scope of his authority.

Thus Ms. Property Owner should seek someone to act on her behalf. Executing a special power of attorney will give the agent the authority to sell the property. Otherwise, the sale will be void.