More bad news for investors in Spanish property

Published:  6 Jun at 6 PM
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Britons with a holiday or retirement home in Spain are about to receive another shock as the Spanish government cracks down on unlicensed holiday lets.

Spain is a popular destination for Britons searching for a holiday home or those planning to spend the long, cold UK winters in a warm clime after retirement. Many let out their homes when they’re not in residence as the rent helps with the upkeep of the property.

The recent announcement of the extension across the country of a regime common in the Balearics, the Canaries and Catalonia wherewith licenses must be obtained if a home is let has caused advisors to warn that property investment may be hit. Expats in the three regions have already been fined up to €30,000 for letting without licenses.

The sharp fall in Spanish property prices over the past year has reestablished expat interest in the market, with prices recovering slightly as a result, but the extension of the licensing law is bound to depress the market again. According to Richard Way of Overseas Guides Company, Spain risks suffocating the bounce-back in property prices by alienating the tourist residential sector.

The law, he states, is clearly aimed at foreign property-owners, and highlights holiday lets even if only advertised online by making letting illegal without the correct license. Spanish authorities are preparing to search the internet for unlicensed holiday home lettings, and electricity companies are to be forced to monitor properties for short-term power usage.

Fees and conditions for licenses will vary across the Spanish mainland regions, dependent on rates set by local authorities. Way believes the change is being spurred by Spanish hoteliers who need to discourage tourists from staying in privately-owned holiday homes rather than company-owned hotel accommodation.
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