Property in Spain. Life, History and Spanish Bureaucracy. They are all just one thing after another.
In 2017 Dr. Liam Fox said that sorting things out for UK life after Brexit should be “one of the easiest things to achieve in human history”. And more presciently, that the only reason it might not be, would be if “politics got in the way of economics”.
I can’t list all the ways that politics has in fact done exactly that. But one of them is enough for a Blog, and others can be the subject of plenty more this year no doubt.
That one example is, buying in Spain.
It was always understood that post-Brexit there would be possible new Spanish visa or residency requirements, and new different tax levels for rental income, and perhaps different inheritance tax levels for EU citizens and for Brits.
But who expected that the Spanish Royal Decree 689 pf 1978 regulations of areas and facilities of National Defence would cause a whammy? –Link here – Here it is
Since 1975 there have been Spanish areas with restricted access by foreigners. No doubt that is the case in all countries, and we English know we are not going to get planning permission to build in the middle of Salisbury Plain. Nor would we want to, what with all the tanks and guns and soldiers.
But there aren’t any nice seaside houses in the MOD tank and war training areas of Salisbury Plain.
In Spain, the relevant areas include residential areas of the Costas and of Majorca and Minorca. It affects thousands of towns and cities. And I see now, Tenerife and the Canaries. –Link Here – to a Tenerife newspaper article. And until Brexit, EU citizens were exempt from requiring “Military Certification” before being allowed to purchase homes there.
Don’t ask me to explain why EU citizens can be relied upon not to be foreign spies, or why British citizens could last year but not this. Or what can be seen through the wires surrounding a military zone which cannot be viewed from home on the satellite images of Google Earth, It’s politics remember.
So what has happened this year is that a significant number of UK citizens are having their Spanish property purchases delayed (and therefore all of the transactions in a linked chain of sales and purchases are delayed too) until a Military certificate can be obtained.
And not only delay, typically six months or so, but also expense. Purchasers are having to obtain Police record certificates, as if they were applying to teach vulnerable children rather than buy a holiday home, and the Notarisation requirements are more onerous and expensive.
And it could get worse. Because most Spanish purchase contracts are made with a stated completion date. And if you sign your contract in ignorance that the land is with a “military defence zone” you may commit yourself to something which is impossible, but which has steep financial penalties for defaulting.
There are several losers in this, obviously, all of the individuals who are having to cope with all this and everyone else in any linked chain, but perhaps the overall loser is the Spanish State. It wants British property owners. It wants their money. And if it makes it all just too much hassle to buy Spanish, we may just buy Portuguese instead.
And do please remember :- Louise and I are back at work, ready for you to contact us whenever you need Notarial certification or Legalisation for your Documents– at http://www.atkinsonnotary.com – or phone me on 0113 816 0116 (internationally 0044 113 8160116)