Tag Archives: Buying Property

Property Owners in Spain to get English Language Help

Intense lobbying by the British government in the EU, English language press, and by expatriate residents in Spain has resulted in the Spanish government conceding that English language help for property owners will be made available as new property regulations came into force on July 7, 2011.

In the first instance, property owners and buyers will now be able to request a copy of the ‘nota simple‘, the Land Registry Certificate, in English. The certificate contains all of the pertinent details of the property including any charges against the property. The English language nota simple will be available from the Colegio de Registradores, or can be applied for online https://buyingahouse.registradores.org after paying a 29 Euro fee including VAT and translation (See Currencies Direct Spain for the best conversion rates).

In addition, owners of property bought outside planning regulations, a form of ownership known as ‘fuera de ordenación’ can now apply to have their interest recorded in the Land Registry for additional protection. Specifically, this will allow owners who bought in good faith to have their property recorded in the registry, whilst also protecting the fuera de ordenación status of the property. This is particularly important for owners of properties who may in the future face demolition orders, and are unable to prove their claims due to not having their property listed in the Land Registry.

The changes to the Land Registry now mean it is no longer possible to have a property included and a ‘nota simple’ issued until a license of first occupation has been approved, a construction license approved, and finally a technical certificate from a technical architect stating the construction and building standards meet those of the plans under which the construction license was approved.

Whilst these changes on the face of things appear to be simply a case of amending the laws to add more detail to the ‘nota simple’, in fact these are significant indeed since the majority of land ownership demolition orders and fines over the last 25 years have been due to non-conformance with Land Registry regulations.

By including all pertinent information in the nota simple, and by making this available in English from the College of Architects, the Spanish government hopes that future investors will at least be able to understand the notations in the property certificate thus avoiding a repeat of previous years.

The most significant development however relates to future purchases of Spanish property, an update to the Ley Estatal de Suelo which will make it impossible for buyers to purchase Spanish property that does not satisfy local town planning laws, and therefore, cannot be issued with a nota simple.

Unfortunately, current owners of property under ‘land grab’ litigation will not benefit from the new changes, and the British government and EU will continue to lobby the Spanish government to have these properties legalised, or at least offer compensation to owners whose property is subject to a demolition order.

Giles Paxman, the British ambassador in Spain stated, “I welcome these initiatives. Communicating essential information in English, combined with the measures announced in the decree, should help to ensure buyers are accurately informed of any legal issues connected with a property.”

Be safe, portable power packs are a must have

Solar and Battery Power Packs
Solar and Battery Power Packs

Expats know that many of the countries we move to don’t have reliable electrical supply, of course we all know about the dangers of relying on electricity in African or Latin American nations where brownouts occur frequently, but expats moving to Spain should also be aware of the less than perfect electrical supply in some parts. Making sure we have surge protection, or portable power packs available is essential.

In the major cities brownouts are less common, but in the smaller villages or out ‘in the campo’, the Spanish name for rural districts, you can expect regular brownouts, perhaps even as often as several times per week. Brownouts are momentary blips in the supply of electricity, the lights might flash or dim, and you’ll hear machines like fridges shudder or slow and kick back on again.

Blackouts are full power outages, and luckily occur less often, but when they do, power can be disrupted for minutes to hours and in some parts of Spain might be frequent occurrences. Around Ronda and inland Andalucía, perhaps even parts of the Costa del Sol, you can expect a lot of brownouts, and during the winter rainy season frequent blackouts in the rural districts pretty much everywhere. The larger villages such as Arriate, Olvera, or Gaucín tend to get more maintenance work so their services are better.

The problem areas include isolated houses, small groups of campo houses, and several of the smaller villages, and brownouts may be a weekly occurrence, rising to daily occurrences during winter. Montejaque and Benaojan for example, two of the more popular expat villages tend to get less brownouts, but in the rainy season frequent blackouts can be a problem.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan a move to the Serranía or Spain, we believe most rural parts of Spain suffer from the same problem. It does mean however that taking precautions to protect sensitive electrical equipment should be a must. And dare I say it, if you choose to live in these areas, some kind of portable power pack that uses batteries or solar power should be considered a necessary investment.

A simple project you can do yourself is to buy a truck battery, and inverter, and a battery charging device. During blackouts this should be sufficient to power a lamp, laptop computer, or low powered cooking device. The downside is that if you don’t know what you’re doing you could electrocute yourself.

Considering how easy and practical gas cooking, heating and lighting is, most expats simply keep a spare bombona (gas tank) which can be used with a BBQ or camping lamp. The challenge is how to recharge mobile phones or laptop batteries when the power goes off, or when you’re travelling. I prefer a complete solution that doesn’t require any knowledge of voltages, or polarity, and doesn’t give my nearest and dearest heart palpitations when I connect electrical devices to it.

The most affordable battery/solar device we’ve seen in these parts that is capable of fully charging a mobile phone/blackberry/iphone, a laptop computer, or digital camera can be bought from Mobi Power Packs on the Costa del Sol, talk to Chris or Simone and tell them Ronda Today mentioned them to you. I believe they also have a helpline in the UK for expats who travel between Spain and the UK.

Devices that include batteries and solar panels for charging mobile phones or laptops seem to be marketed at travellers, the military, or aid agencies operating in third world countries, but my advise would be to ignore the marketing showing soldiers in full camo gear, and think about your own comfort and peace of mind. Believe me, I’ve lived in a small village, and a lone house in the campo, and I can assure when the power goes off you’ll be glad of the ability to recharge a mobile phone, especially if like many expats you don’t or can’t get a landline connected.

Pricing for these sorts of devices is very reasonable, in fact they’re price competitive with computer UPS devices or surge protection devices you could buy from high street retailers, and are not restricted to use in the home, they can be use in the car as well. Other manufacturers offer similar devices but I’ve yet to see them sold in Spain, which concerns me even if their prices are similar. Call me old fashioned but I want to be able to talk to them for the price of a local call.

Why buy property in Ronda

The Serranía de Ronda is located in the North-West of Málaga province, about an hours drive from Málaga city and the international airport, or about an hour from Marbella and Puerto Banus, the Costa del Sol’s major lifestyle hotspot.

Generally, owning a home in the Serranía is considered more peaceful and secluded than life on the Costa del Sol, and this is the main attraction for home-owners, yet Ronda, the main city in the Serranía caters to most resident needs, whilst still being small enough to be considered a market town.

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Using British Electrical Appliances in your Spanish property

TVs, DVDs, Computers
TVs, DVDs, Computers

Welcome to Spain, and the joys of using British electrical appliances in Spain. We all know the move to Spain isn’t cheap, but the great news is that most of the appliances you bought in the UK will work here in your new Spanish property, and you don’t need to be concerned about the different voltage in most cases.

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