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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.

 

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.

Stay up to date with important changes to laws and news in Spain by following us on Twitter or join us on Facebook

Electricity bill increase January 1st

As many of us saw from this week’s Sur in English, from January 1st, millions of households across Spain will see an increase in their electricity bills. The new increase is due to a 6.9% hike in the price of power bought by suppliers. Consumers will feel the effects with a 3% rise in energy costs.

This increase of 3% will be charged to those on the domestic tariff known as TUR, with contracted power below 10 kilowatts. However the Ministry of Industry also plan to issue a surcharge of up to 8% to those contracted to 3 kilowatts of power or more, if they exceed average consumption by over 10%. According to calculations made by OCU consumers organisation, this could mean an additional charge of around 3% onto the average household electricity bill, meaning the total increase could reach around 6% on every bill.

There are number of things you can do to reduce your electric consumption and save money on bills such as;

  • Use energy efficient light bulbs and solar lights for the garden
  • Use a halogen cooker instead of fan oven
  • Turn all appliances off at mains when not in use, rather than leave on standby
  • Use a fire if you have one rather than radiators if possible
  • Only use the tumble dryer where necessary, use a clothes horse for drying instead
  • Use an energy monitor to show you how different appliances affect your consumption and to show where you could make savings
  • Fill up the dishwasher before using so you do fewer washes
  • Load your washing machine to the full so you do fewer washes

Some of these tips can also work well if you use your property for holiday rentals and want to keep the electric consumption to a minimum. Some households are even investing in solar energy devices to minimise power costs and reduce energy consumption. This can save hundreds on electricity bills each year and has a positive effect on the environment, so is well worth looking into as costs continue to rise.

As part of our property management services on the Costa del Sol we can deal with all the utility companies and even receive any correspondence from them on your behalf so you know that even if you are away from your Spanish property, everything is being dealt with as it should be. Contact us to find out more about this service.

 

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