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Important information for Owners of Spanish Property

passport_ukAs property management specialists, we help hundreds of property owners to manage their properties on the Costa del Sol and keep our fingers on the pulse to make sure they are aware of changes even if they don’t live here, or speak Spanish. There are a few new regulations and developments which we have shared with our owners over the last few months which we wanted to share with you, to make sure you don’t have any nasty surprises.

Confirming your identity with your bank

Have you received an email from your Spanish bank asking you to confirm your identity? Many people have deleted these emails assuming they were scam emails, when in fact they were genuine and not confirming your identity can result in having your accounts frozen. Your bank needs to have a digital ID for every customer to protect against money laundering. You will probably have provided this to your bank if you opened your account after 2010, but if you opened it before then and haven’t confirmed your identity, we recommend contacting your bank as soon as possible to see what you need to do. Find out more

Ensuring you have the right electricity meters

New Spanish and European regulations require the introduction of smart meters to encourage consumers to play an active role in the electricity market and thus improve energy efficiency. To comply with these regulations, Endesa is replacing all meters for customers with contracted power of up to 15 kW i.e. residential properties. If you have received a letter from Endesa recently or a visit to your property, it will probably have been about this, so check if you’re not sure. Please do be careful about people visiting your property to replace your meter, Endesa warn that under no circumstances should you pay the technician that replaces your meter. There is no charge for this service and the good news is that now billing will be made on readings rather than estimates and more work can be carried out remotely. More information

Why WiFi?

Modern holiday rental guests are looking for different things compared to a few years ago, and one of the main requirements is WiFi! Statistics show that holiday homes that have WiFi installed in them are more likely to get bookings. Most holidaymakers do not leave home without some sort of device and we are receiving more enquiries asking whether WiFi is available. WiFi is also a great solution to problems with receiving International TV stations.

Please let us know if we can help you resolve any issues with your property, we are here to help our Costa del Sol property management clients to make owning a second home as easy as possible. Visit our website for a quote

Growing demand for cultural holidays from America

Americans in SpainA report entitled “How Americans Will Travel 2015” from Tourism Intelligence International, cites the growing importance of what they call the “Creative Class” those travellers who are looking for more than just sea and sand, stating that more than half (51%) of the 40 million Americans travelling abroad visit historical places; almost one-third (32%) visit cultural heritage sites; and one-quarter (25%) visit an art gallery or museum, according to the Office of Traveland Tourism Industries, and this is believed to be on the increase. This is good news for destinations such as Andalucia which combine a lot of culture with a relaxing way of life and great food and since the visit of Michelle Obama to the Costa del Sol back in 2010, Marbella has increasingly been on American holiday makers’ radar. As our holiday rentals website ranks well in the US as well as the UK due to the high volume of English content and its long history we expect to see an increase in demand from this area.

Unfortunately it’s not all good news, two major forces in 2014’s property recovery are expected to play less of a role in 2015. Scandinavia in general and particularly Finland has been hit by a drop in oil prices and in January Danske Bank warned that all the Scandinavian countries would be affected in 2015 and have less buying power than before. Agents specialising in the market expect them to continue to buy and visit, but less expensive properties and to be more cautious.

The Russian economy is also struggling and the rouble has dropped in value, and there are also barriers put in place get their money out of Russia and buy and invest abroad. This is all leading to a big drop in Russian buyers and holiday makers and this is likely to continue well into 2015. However we are not expecting this to affect the mid-range holiday rental market significantly and expect a rise in British holiday makers responding to the weak Euro to compensate for this.

Overall, we expect 2015 to be another good year for holiday rentals on the Costa del Sol and would encourage any property owner on the Costa del Sol, especially those with villas with private pools, to get in touch and find out how we can help them get holiday rentals in 2015. As Costa del Sol property management experts we can also remove any stress from the process by handling it all for you so you can just reap the rewards.

Keeping up to date with Marbella Town Hall developments

mi marbella v2As a property owner in the Marbella district (from Cabopino to San Pedro) it’s important that you keep in touch with changes to the rules and regulations from the Town Hall. However, in the past this has been hard for property owners who do not live in the area or who do not speak Spanish.

Over the years they have been working hard to create a strong and helpful foreign residents department, which they are creating a larger building to house it in. But now they have taken another positive step and launched a radio programme in English called Mi Marbella where Town Hall representatives come in to talk about changes, rules and regulations and respond to listeners’ questions. This offers a new and useful channel of communication with the Town Hall in English and is a great way to air views.

The show also covers issues relevant to foreign residents in general, interviews local businesses, talks about upcoming events and generally gets people talking about what it means to own property, live and work in Marbella. It is broadcast at 3.30pm – 5 pm, Wednesdays to Fridays and you can listen online here

The local expat newspapers are also available online and are great sources of information. Here are the three main ones which are available for free online:

Euroweekly News

Sur in English

The Olive Press

We also make sure our owners are aware of all the relevant legislation about owning and renting their property and we’re here to help. If you have any questions about the laws regarding renting out your property on the Costa del Sol, taxes and fees associated with buying and owning property please feel free to ask our property management experts.

Be ready for a raft of changes on Spanish roads

traficoIf you own a home in Spain and will be visiting this summer, or are renting out your property and want to keep your tenants informed, you need to be aware of a raft of changes that have been brought into place which will affect you as a motorist, passenger or even a cyclist.

Parents need to be aware of a few very important new laws –

  1. Cyclists under 16 must wear helmets in urban areas and parents not making their children wear helmets can be fined 200€
  2. Children under 1.35 meters tall are not allowed to ride in the front passenger seat and this also applies in taxis. The only allowances to this law are 2 seater cars, or if other children under the height limit are taking up all the back seats.

These laws also clamp down further on driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, increasing fines and also making it easier to penalise for driving under the influence of drugs, even if they can’t prove that it effects your driving. Even pedestrians may now have to take a drug and alcohol test if they violate a traffic regulation.

For foreign residents driving foreign cars in Spain, they must now register their vehicles and the terms will be clarified in due course and we will update you when we hear more.  Beware as well that you are not supposed to use speed camera detectors and should turn them off even on your GPS. If you’re caught using them you are liable to a fine of 200€ and three points.

To aid in payment, there is now an extension on the time that you have to pay fines and be eligible for a 50% early payment discount from 15 to 20 days.

The Resident newspaper has got a great list of the 20 most important rules clearly explained in English which you can read here – and we have other information about driving in Spain for you here –

Payment of Rental Tax in Spain

The law regarding payments of tax in Spain for property rentals has been amended. We believe this is good news for our owners because, if you are a non-resident, you can offset all legitimate expenses against your rental income, such as management fees, mortgage interest, community fees, etc. Continue reading “Payment of Rental Tax in Spain”

Registering with Estepona Town Hall

If you own a property in Estepona, or live there long term the Town Hall are encouraging everyone to register with the council and offering some excellent benefits if you do.

One of the biggest benefits for owners of properties in Estepona is a reduction in the local property tax or IBI. It is immediately reduced by 20%, but owners can be entitled to up to 80% reductions depending on circumstances. You can also be entitled to a rebate on refuse collection for registered owners who meet certain conditions, so savings can be considerable.

Once you are registered you have access to the local sports centres, libraries and medical centres and there are often discounts on courses and classes too. In addition you are able to vote in the local elections and make an impact on the town.

Registering is easy. Go to the tourist office in Calle Torre Almenara opposite the port and they will help you with the registration in your own language. Just take with you your ID, copy of your title deeds for your property and a utility bill. If you have any questions call 952 808 081.

All Town Halls along the Costa del Sol are encouraging foreign residents and property owners to register in this way, as it is the only way that they are able to get funding for their area and properly control the numbers of people living in the area  and provide the appropriate services. We have more general information on the benefits of signing the “padron” or town hall register here.

Iberia Airline Strikes

The end of February saw the first set of strikes by workers at Iberia airline and another lot is planned for next week starting on the 4th March – 6th March. The strikes are taking place in order to prevent wage cuts and over 3,800 job losses, resulting in over 30 flights being cancelled at Malaga Airport. You can see a list of flights which will have been cancelled on the Iberia website. Passengers who are affected will be offered an alternative flight or a refund of their tickets.

If your flight has been affected but you still need to get to Spain, it may be worth checking price comparison sites such as travel supermarket or to get the best deal on last minute flights with another airline, or you could drive to the Costa del Sol! It’s a beautiful drive with plenty to see along the way. You can read our previous blog about things to remember when driving to Spain.

Luckily, HomeCareontheWeb never goes on strike and can take care of many things on your behalf, so don’t worry if you can’t get here, just give us a call on 952 839 595.

New Law For Expat Drivers

In 2013, a new law came into place in Spain which means all expat drivers in the country will have to undergo a medical test every 10 years and drivers over the age of 65 will be required to take the test every 5 years.

The medical will be conducted in specific centres known as centros de reconocimiento and will consist of a co-ordination, sight and hearing test using a computer based driving simulator. Failure to comply may result in a €200 fine.

Taking the test will not affect your UK driving licence, however you must notify the DVLA of your Spanish residency and still be able to provide a UK permanent residential address. The new law states that a permanent residence is where someone usually lives for at least 185 days of the year. Should you wish to convert to a Spanish driving licence, you can do this at the same as taking your medical examination.

Those who prefer to get around on two wheels will also see new laws and the introduction of a new AM category licence to improve safety on the roads. The new licence will be awarded on completion of a mandatory theory test, which holiday makers renting mopeds will also now be required to take.

We think the new laws and requirements should improve safety on Spanish roads and reduce the number of accidents by further educating younger drivers which should bring relief to expat home owners in the area.

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