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Reassurances for British expats living in Spain

At the start of this month, the British Consulate has been doing pop-up sessions to answer questions about Brexit, living in Spain and how to access healthcare. They were in Torremolinos on the 1st of October and Mijas on the 3rd of October, trying to reassure people that their rights were protected.

The British government pledged that pensioners who are currently entitled to use the Spanish health service, will be funded to continue to receive healthcare in Spain for at least 14 months, until the end of 2020, regardless of what happens with Brexit this month. This has reassured many who were unhappy following the Health Secretary’s announcement that there would only be six month’s worth of cover for British expats living in Spain.

The advice remains the same, register with your Town Hall, apply for residency if you haven’t already and hopefully your rights will be recognised, even if the UK comes out of the EU with a no deal. There have been difficulties with getting residency appointments in some areas due to the amount of UK nationals applying, but the British Embassy Madrid announced on their Facebook page that extra staff have been put in place and suggested people try again to get an appointment.

If you want to buy a property in Spain, this should not be effected by Brexit, as you don’t need to be an EU citizen to buy here or invest in Spain. Property expert Susana Lajusticia has said there’s no reason why it would be different or more expensive to purchase property, nor should it effect your ability to rent out your property, as long as you comply with the rental laws in your area. The only thing that she says could change is taxes, as rates for EU and non-EU nationals differ. However, the UK and Spain have Double Treaty Agreements related to income tax for example, so hopefully it will be possible to make similar agreements after Brexit to allow for more stability and security for property owners. Read the full article

As a business we didn’t see a drop in holiday rentals from the UK this summer as expected and the number of long term rental clients from the UK has remained pretty much unchanged since the 2016 vote. We hope and believe that no matter what happens on the 31st of October, that Spain and the UK will come to arrangements to ensure that British residents of Spain can continue to live there and to make it as easy as possible to travel here. Tourism from the UK is too important to Spain to block this and so they should be incentivised to make a deal.

As many of our team are from the UK, but have lived and worked in Spain for many years, the uncertainty is unsettling. However, like migrants the world over, our status and rights will be subject to the changing political climate of our adoptive county (and country of origin). The one constant is that the rules governing our status change! Consequently, the best advice we can offer is to keep informed and respect the rules of the county that has welcomed us.

If you have any questions about how Brexit will affect you, as a property owner in Spain, renting out your property, or perhaps as a long-term rental tenant living here full time, please contact us and we’ll do our best to inform you of the latest situation and advice.

What the Marbella Town Plan Annulation Means for Property Owners

What the Marbella Town Plan Annulation Means for Property Owners

At the beginning of November the Supreme Court overturned Marbella’s 2010 Town Plan which re-categorised land  and worked out a compensation system in order to legalise 16,500 homes. This means that the 1986 plan is now in effect, with 18,000 illegal properties in the Marbella area, and property owners, purchasers and developers are concerned about what the future holds.

The Mayor of Marbella and the Junta de Andalucia have met to discuss how to solve the issue and show unity in the face of this crisis and promised to put temporary plans in place within six months, to ensure that construction and property sales do not stop whilst a new plan is created. The new plan is expected to be completed by the end of 2018, a long period of uncertainty for all involved in the Marbella property market. The council are seeking clarification of the annulation of the plan, particularly in regard to demolition orders for illegal properties and the Supreme Court’s views on the compensation system that the 2010 PGOU proposed. They are aiming to put together a new plan which Mayor of Marbella José Bernal says “has to definitively resolve the town planning corruption seen for 30 years”.  Find out more 

There will be nearly three years of limbo for owners of illegal properties in the Marbella region (from San Pedro to Cabopino) and it is expected to also effect owners of legal properties in the same area, due to fears of further changes and revisions making buyers nervous, and likely to boost sales in other parts of the Costa del Sol without these issues. The best course of action would be to wait and see what the temporary plan says before putting your property on the market, as the news will certainly push prices down. The market is recovering and is expected to continue to rise slowly but steadily over the coming years, so why not hang on to the property whilst the new plan is created and demand increases and then capitalise on demand and interest in 2019? Your property will certainly be worth more by then, and over the next few years you can rent out your property short or long term, generate income to cover costs and more whilst waiting for a resolution and improving market conditions.

Renting your property can be highly profitable and we expect this news to create yet more demand in the long term rental market, where there is already more demand than supply which is pushing monthly rental rates up. Long term rentals are a low effort, secure way to rent out your property, if you don’t want to use the property yourself. If you like to use the property for holidays, especially in the low season, then renting your property for the peak months of April to September is very attractive. You can expect to get the same for one week rental in high season as one month long term rental, so it’s really profitable, however there is more marketing and management required.

HomeCareontheWeb are Costa del Sol property management and rental specialists with powerful marketing throughout Europe to attract long term and short term clients, secure and easy booking systems, customer service professionals and a team of cleaners, maintenance personnel and support staff to manage all aspects of rentals, without any hassle for you.  With HomeCareontheWeb there to support you there’s no need to worry, simply sit back and wait for the rental fees to start coming in whilst you bide your time and see what the new PGOU will mean for you.  Get a quote or contact us today

Good news for Spain courtesy of the EC

bank-note-209104_640We mentioned in previous posts that the Spanish economy is improving and that there is a lot of positivity for 2015, and this has been confirmed by the European Commission, which significantly raised its forecast for Spanish economic growth in 2015 to 2.3%. According to an article in El Pais, this marks the biggest upward revision in the entire eurozone and the report cites consolidation of the growth seen in 2014 with improvements in employment, falling oil prices, better financial conditions and increased confidence.

This positive news about the economy as a whole is also supported by the improving property market. There are reports coming through from the likes of the General Council of Notaries and CBRE property investors group (thanks to Spanish Property Insight for interpreting these) stating that the Spanish property market expanded by 19.1% in 2014 and that the level of property investment at the end of 2014 was second only to the boom year of 2007.

Our real estate sales partners at Viva, recently reported on their blog that Spanish house prices have risen for the first time since 2008, according to the Public Works Ministry. It was only a small 0.5% rise at the end of 2014, but taking into account the improved economic forecasts, the reports of improved activity in the market and the strong pound against the Euro, 2015 should be a good year for property owners in Spain.

On the Costa del Sol property owners have even more options, with a really strong tourist market and many families holidaying in the area and demanding self-catering accommodation. We had a 35% increase on holiday rental bookings in 2014 compared to 2013 and expect to see even more tourists coming to the Costa del Sol in 2015, particularly from the UK, as their money will now go a lot further. You can rent your property out short term or long term whilst the market continues to improve and your investment increases in value and we can help you do it with quality property management services on the Costa del Sol. Please let us know if you want to find out more about renting your property.

Update on the Costa del Sol Property Market

Elite_MainPic_Bahia Pics 014If you own a Costa del Sol property it’s been a difficult few years since the bubble burst, but slowly but surely green shoots are appearing and in some popular areas prices are rising again as demand increases. Whether you want to sell, or simply know that your investment has value, this is great news and there was an in-depth article about the market in the Telegraph which will shine a spotlight back on the area and position it as a desirable location once more.

The article was looking at the price reduction which has been seen since the crash and speaking to both buyers and experts about their opinion of the market. Overall they were agreeing that the worst seems to be over and whilst it is still a buyers’ market due to the glut of properties, buying a property here for the lifestyle will also be a good long term investment. They were keen to stress that this is not an area to get rich quick, but that property prices do seem to be on the up as demand from pensioners and other parts of Northern Europe push the market in the right direction. Read the full article here

The key is certainly to look at the property as a long term investment and see how you can monetize it in the short term whilst the market slowly recovers. An obvious way to do this is by renting your property during the holiday period, or on a long-term basis, to cover costs and make a profit from the property even if the market won’t pay the price you need right now.

The issues with evicting tenants put people off renting long term, but faster eviction processes via the courts have improved the situation and if there’s someone on the ground to collect rents, deal with any issues and generally keep the tenant relationship on a positive footing most unpleasant situations can be avoided. This is where a Costa del Sol property management company comes in very handy, as they are your eyes and ears and an impartial party who can step in to solve issues on your behalf to keep the tenants happy and the rent coming in.

For short term rentals the issues with key collection and solving issues during the stay, as well as collecting deposits, cleaning and inspections can all be handled by professionals to make the guests happy and remove any stress from you the owner.

If you would like to see how we can help you to minimize stress and maximise income please send us an email with your requirements and we will provide a list of property management services and prices – info@homecareontheweb.com

Going the extra mile for our clients

property managementWe’ve been offering property management services on the Costa del Sol for many years, so we’ve dealt with most problems and pride ourselves on being a trusted advisor and supporter for all our owners and their tenants.

Last month, we were able to come to the aid of one owner after she returned home to her apartment to hear someone inside. She called out and the intruder escaped through the window, thankfully they were disturbed before they were able to take anything. However in the confusion the owner locked herself out and we were able to let her back into the apartment thanks to the spare keys we keep at the office.

The owner then had to rush to the airport to catch a plane back to the UK and we were able to change the locks, turn off the lights she had left on for security and even take out the rubbish which she had forgotten in the rush. We have also reported the incident to the police on the owner’s behalf.

These kinds of situations are all in a day’s work for the HomeCare team, but a real help and reassurance for our tenants, whether they are here in Spain or abroad. Owners can check on jobs such as the locks being changed through our online property management system wherever they are for maximum accountability and excellent communication.

The Costa del Sol is generally safe, but of course break-ins do happen from time to time. To protect yourself there are a few simple steps we recommend for all owners –

1. Fit security gates and grills to the main doors and windows

2. Invest in an alarm with a company who will come out if it sounds, especially if you are not often in Spain, and make sure it’s obvious from the outside

3. Use light timers, especially during winter months

4. Make sure people regularly come to check the property and remove post, a sure sign that properties are not occupied and enough to deter burglars, especially if people visit at different times

5. Don’t be tempted to leave small windows open for ventilation, regularly opening the house up is safer and better

We can advise you on particular measures for your property and be your feet on the ground, checking the property and keeping it as safe as possible, so please get in touch to see how we can help with property management and maintenance.

Swimming Pool Safety and Maintenance

Many properties on the Costa del Sol have swimming pools, either private or for the urbanization, and there’s no doubt from a rental point of view that they are a real draw. However, they do have to be properly maintained to make sure the water quality is good enough and communities must comply with certain regulations for safety and to avoid hefty fines, here are a few tips.

  • Be green and save money – There are some great alternatives to the traditional chemicals used in pools which have better environmental credentials, less side effects (smell, damage to clothes and hair etc) and save you money. One option is to use ozone, or Ultraviolet rather than chlorine to sanitize water, another is to use pool purifiers which are solar powered and can stop the growth of algae and microorganisms with very little cost.
  • Understand the regulations and comply – If you have a pool on your urbanisation and there are more than 20 properties, there are a number of important rules and regulations you need to comply with including pool fencing. The Junta de Andalucia specifies a number of regulations which are detailed on Angloinfo and if  they are ignored there are some very big fines which can be applied http://costabrava.angloinfo.com/information/lifestyle/sports-and-leisure/spanish-pool-laws/

Look after your pool all year round – If you’re not living in Spain and only rent the property during the peak periods it is easy to forget about the pool during the winter months. However, leaving it alone for months on end can give you a costly and difficult problem to deal with when you return, so it’s better to keep it regularly maintained and checked to avoid problems developing. Our property maintenance service includes pool cleaning and maintenance with trustworthy workmen. Please contact us for more information + 34 952 83 95 95  info@homecareontheweb.com

HomeCareontheWeb Owners – Win an i-Pad and free property management with HCOTW!

Here’s a quick message from your team at HomeCareontheWeb to all our owners to thank you for your continued support in helping us reach our 10th anniversary this year. We couldn’t have done it without you!

To celebrate, we are holding a special prize draw for all our owners in October and your property reference is your unique entry number. Prizes are free property management (1st prize – one year, 2nd prize – six months, 3rd prize – three months) and each comes with an i-Pad too!*

Please email without your property reference number so we can register you in the prize draw and send you details. When you are passing your nearest HomeCareontheWeb office, feel free to pop in to collect your complimentary bottle of 10 year anniversary wine!

With warmest wishes,

Your HomeCareontheWeb Team

*Prize draw only available for existing HomeCareontheWeb property management clients

Rumours regarding new laws on property rentals in Spain

new property lawsThere are at present many rumours, inaccuracies, and general gossip regarding a supposed new Law in Spain that will restrict owners from renting their property in an effort for the Spanish government to help support the Hotel industry.

We at HomeCareontheWeb have been renting properties on behalf of our owners for many years and during this time there have been many similar rumours circulating. Some areas of Spain, like Catalonia and Majorca, have already taken measures controlling the rental of properties, and owners have had to apply for licenses, so as to ensure properties are fit for their purpose and also to ensure owners pay their taxes.

It is true that a certain amount of “upset” exists within the tourist industry sector due to the current trend for holidaymakers to choose self-catering over hotel accommodation. This controversy has raged for years and is no doubt debated regularly with different suggestions made as to how the hotel industry can cope. However it is highly doubtful if the government would seek to actually BAN the letting of private houses, as this would be contrary to the Constitution and even the most narrow-minded defender of the hoteliers’ interests could not dream of this being possible.

It’s always prudent to put these rumours into perspective. Spain is going through changing times like the rest of the world, however the majority of its gross domestic income comes from tourism and the free market economy dictates that all players within the industry should work in competition to each other. It’s therefore unlikely that a restrictive practice such as a ban on rentals would be contemplated, let alone become law.

Not only does the government rely on income from its tourism, it also relies on the taxes paid by the hundreds of thousands of property owners, both Spanish and foreign, currently obtaining legitimate income from the rental of their property, and it is unlikely to limit these valuable earnings.

However, tighter controls for renting properties may well be “on the cards”, so that such properties can meet basic health and safety standards as well as ensuring owners are paying their taxes.

Currently HomeCareontheWeb recommend that owners renting out their property install fire safety equipment and generally ensure their property is safe so that insurance companies have no reason not to compensate in the case of accidents. We also stipulate that owners must declare their rentals for tax purposes in order to meet their current obligations to the Spanish government.  In so doing our owners are deemed to be a responsible property owner and follow all the current rules.

In the event that any legislation is passed in the future relating to additional health and safety standards, or any requirement for properties to be licensed for rentals, please be assured that we will be abreast of such developments and will already have in place the help and assistance our owners will need in order to comply.

In the meantime, there is no need to worry. These are, after all, just rumours and speculation. And if anything happens that needs your attention, we will let you know.

 

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 skyscanner.net 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.

Electricity Bill Scam Warning

As a home owner in Spain you know how important it is to keep an eye on the costs of running your property, especially if you also use it to earn extra income.  When paying your bills by direct debit it’s especially important to check that they are being paid on time and at the correct amount to avoid any complications. By doing this you are also much less likely to become a victim of the latest utility bill scam.

Many home owners on the Costa del Sol have been receiving phone calls from a company pretending to be Endesa claiming that they have outstanding amounts on the account and that it must be paid immediately to avoid being cut off. For anyone who hasn’t checked their direct debit payments recently, they may assume they must owe this money and pay it as requested so they do not have their electric meter removed.

Remember, a legitimate chase for outstanding payment would come via recorded letter. If in doubt, always ring the energy provider back using the number on your bill to double check any information and never pay money over the phone after receiving any kind of threat such as the electric meter being removed. It is illegal to do this and you should report any such phone calls to your energy provider.

HomeCareontheWeb can look after all aspects of looking after a property including bill payments. For more information about property management on the Costa del Sol visit our website or call us on 952 839 595

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