Legal News | Spanish Woes for Holiday Homes

British people who own property in Spain that did not fall foul of the land grab laws may have thought they could settle down and start enjoying their place in the sun. However, they are now facing new laws, being introduced next spring, which could prevent them from renting their property out to tourists to make some extra money.

The latest rules, currently in the planning stage, could also add hundreds of Euros to the cost of breaks for millions of visitors from Britain, as families wanting to holiday in Spain would no longer be able to pay cheaper rates direct to owners but would have to stay in apartments, villas or hotels operated by major firms.

According the Spanish land registry, more than a million properties in Spain are owned by Britons and while many are inhabited all year round by expatriates, hundreds of thousands were bought as holiday homes.

Until recently, it has been relatively simple for British owners to rent out their properties but under the proposed laws, those with second homes in Spain will need a licence from the local council, which could incur a fee.

The owners will also have to meet strict conditions such as being contactable 24 hours a day to deal with problems such as water leaks or power blackouts and will have to pass regular safety inspections and obtain hygiene certificates. Failure to comply could lead to individuals incurring hefty fines.

According to a recent survey in Spain, around three-quarters of overnight stays in the country last year were in ‘unregulated premises’ such as privately owned villas or apartments, and most of these visitors booked directly through the high number of online holiday rental firms which have sprung up over the past decade.

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Mackrell Turner Garrett Solicitors in London