Homeowners who let their properties to holidaymakers are facing large fines unless they adhere to Spanish rental laws, the British Embassy in Madrid has warned this week.
The warnings come as the Embassy says it has been informed of a number of cases where property owners have received fines of up to 30,000 euros after being caught renting accommodation without the appropriate permits.
In response, the British Government, via the Embassy’s website (www.ukinspain.fco.gov.uk), is now offering advice on short and long term lets.
Amongst other matters, the website points out that regulations on renting holiday homes vary depending on the region and therefore suggests seeking independent legal advice and checking local laws with the nearest town hall.
In addition, the guidelines highlight that there are different types of contracts for longer lets. These include ‘arriendos de vivienda’, which are for a minimum of five years and ‘arriendos de temporada’, which are for one year or less. It is also stressed that rental income must be declared to the Spanish tax authorities whether you are a resident in Spain or not.
The advice has been almost universally welcomed by homeowners and property experts contacted by SUR in English this week.
Penny Walker, who rents out three apartments in Calahonda, Mijas Costa, says the timing is ideal. “With the property sales market still floundering, and in many areas getting worse, an increasing number of people are renting their homes on the coast as they can’t sell them – at least not for a decent price.
“As many of these people have never rented out properties in Spain before, it seems likely that a good number will not know all the ‘ins and outs’ to be within the law, so it’s great that there is a source of official information to guide people. It’s especially useful at this time of year when demand is usually quite high for holiday lets.”
Mark Stucklin, the author of the Spanish Property Doctor in The Sunday Times, agrees that the warnings about complying with Spanish rental laws are well-timed. He says: “Be aware that the Spanish taxman is actively on the hunt for non tax payers and you
would be wise indeed to arm yourself with the property tax laws if you are thinking of owning a holiday home in Spain
“Approximately 500,000 Britons are living in Spain, the largest number from any EU country, and many have not registered with the tax authorities. Now the tax department, the ‘Hacienda’, has cottoned on to this and is introducing laws which will flush out the
non payers along with the tax due, the back tax and possibly interest and penalties too.”
However, not everyone is quite so concerned. Spain-based Telegraph Weekly journalist Anna Nicholas, opines: “I doubt there’ll be many expats or Spaniards shaking in their boots.
“Last year a rumour rippled around our valley that inspectors would soon be spying on individual suspect properties, monitoring holiday rental websites, classified adverts and property agents’ rental listings. Nothing ever came of it and I’m not surprised. How in the current crisis would the country have the resources to monitor the situation when it has far more immediate economic concerns?”
However, she adds: “On the other hand, rather like Russian roulette, someone somewhere is likely to cop it which is a risk that some might prefer not to take.”