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Advice on handling utility companies in Spain

HC1As  provider of quality property management in Spain one of our regular jobs is managing the various utility providers in Spain and that can be a difficult task. They take a rather blase approach of, cut you off first ask questions later which can be very frustrating!

Here are a few common problems we deal with for our owners which you should be aware of:

1. The bank not paying direct debits – Unfortunately, even if you set up a direct debit system to pay your bills there are times when it won’t go through from the bank and often you will not be notified. We suggest that our clients redirect the bills to our offices, that way we are instantly aware if any payments are missed and we can act accordingly. If you don’t have anyone in Spain who can do this for you, it’s better not to get them sent to the UK as they can go astray or take such a long time to get there that you will have already received a fine or been cut off. A better way is to use online billing facilities which can usually be set up on their website if you are able to function in Spanish.

2. Speaking to people on the telephone to solve problems – All the utility companies have telephone helplines with a long time spent on hold. Once you get through these people can sometimes help you by identifying the problem and even taking payment over the phone, but you need to be patient and have a good level of Spanish. If you don’t speak Spanish there are a few English-speakers, but the wait will be very long! Unfortunately, they won’t speak to someone else on your behalf, so make sure if you do have someone calling for you that they are the right sex and have all the personal information they may need to be you.

3. Being cut off – In Spain you usually don’t get informed that a payment has been missed and a warning that they will cut you off. Normally you simply discover the power has been disconnected and the meter has been removed. This is the time that you need to hit the phones and try to speak to someone to resolve the problem, either by payment over the phone or into the bank. In many cases the contract can be revived once the debt is cleared, but sometimes you will be required to provide a new “boletín” or installation certificate, to get one of these your property will have to meet the requirements in force on that day. This can prove very expensive on older properties as it may mean starting the whole installation again from scratch, right up to the electricity meter. The certificate itself can cost hundreds of Euros and has to be issued by a Spanish registered electrician. Best not to let things reach that stage if at all possible.

4. Absent owners – Often, clients with a second property have no idea that there is a problem with their electricity, water or phone until they arrive to their home for a holiday and realise it has been cut off. This is not a great way to start a holiday! This is one reason for regular visits from friends or a property management company, to check that everything is in order in the property – including the utilities. Most of the time we discover the problem and are able to resolve it before the owner or their rental guests arrive.

We’re here to take the stress out of owning a Spanish property and dealing with utility companies is just one of life’s irritations we can take off your plate! We’ve made quality property management affordable, by allowing our customers to pick and choose the services they want to fit their requirements and their budget and you can get a quote online. Visit our website to see the full list of Spain property management services or email for more information.

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