‘Blockchain’ – Holiday Rentals

Spain will shortly use ‘blockchain’ approach to register properties for Holiday Rentals

There is a new service launched by The Association of Registrars of Spain (CRE) to register properties for holiday rentals.

The structure of the service is based on a ‘blockchain‘ approach and the actual platform is called REGTURI.

With this new system the authorities can identify which properties are legally available for Holiday rental.

It also offers the ability to organize and connect the various agencies responsible for ensuring the proper functioning of the Spanish tourism industry.

The objective of the REGTURI program is to reduce the risk of fraud in the Holiday rental and intermediaries sector.

According to complaints processed by the Association of Registrars, there shows a lot of irregularities in Spain when renting a holiday home.

There were many cases of properties being sold, but also rented out as holiday lets illegally so creating issues in the process.

The existing process had too many loopholes in it so the new process using the ‘blockchain’ approach will hopefully close these holes.


So how does Blockchain work?

REGTURI is a rental certification and registration service that can be used to transmit documents between different departments.

Registrars validate a home for tourist use, based on the property registry and its rating.

They will take into account all the data of the property, the status of the owner and the regional regulations.

The REGTURI platform then generates an “object code” for the house, apartment or premises that is validated and registered.

This means that the property is registered in the government ‘blockchain’ as suitable for Holiday Rental.

Also, when the owner sells the property, a block with all the data is generated to update the ‘blockchain’.

Spanish sources say that approximately 1,100 registration offices in Spain could have access to the platform to verify the accuracy of the properties.

Similarly, REGTURI system could take in to account the operation of platforms such as Airbnb, which has gained popularity in Europe in recent years.

The Registrar’s Association has been working on this platform since 2008 and it incorporates hi-tech artificial intelligence.

Although this sounds very futuristic they have made it very clear that it will not replace the human element of the chain like Lawyers.

Property Law is still a complicated process and requires human interpretation to ensure the right decisions are made.

If you have any questions or need advice on properties, please contact us.



Update Regularization of illegal Properties

This article looks at the latest update relating to the regularization of illegal properties in Andalucía

The real estate boom together with increasing price of property in the years prior to the recession in coastal areas in Andalucía, gave rise to a high demand of properties in the countryside.

A lot of them were built illegally and prices were considerably lower than on the Coast.

There are various reasons why so many properties were built illegally, the main one being the restrictive rules to build on rural land.

This in turn created a black market where all kind of tricks, including corruption happened in order build the illegal properties.

The Law on Land Use in Andalucía (LOUA) demands to build a property in the countryside; the owner has to justify the need of the property for agricultural, forestry or livestock production purposes.

This is impossible to prove for a standard property built on a small country plot, as you would need a lot of land to prove it was for agriculture use.

Hence, the large growth of illegal properties, if you want to know more about the reasons for this you can read our article Illegal Constructions in the Andalusian Countryside  

The different changes in the LOUA have proved useless over time as there has been so far very little willingness from the former Andalusian government to tackle the situation.

There are approximately 300.000 illegal properties out of the 500.000 properties in the Andalusian countryside. Of which only 26% have been granted the AFO or Assimilated to Out of Order planning status.

Please read our article What is an AFO and why do you need one if you want to know more about this.

Basically although the AFO does not legalise the property, it gives the recognition that the property meets the necessary health and safety conditions to serve as a dwelling.

This allows the owner to legally contract to the services and supplies (water and electric).

It also allows the owner to carry out basic maintenance works on the property.

Which properties can be granted an AFO?

The aim of the new law is to try and regulate the status of illegal properties built in either the countryside or in the town when the statute of limitation for the authorities to protect or restore the planning order has elapsed, i.e. six years since finalization of the construction.

Any of these properties fall within the category of AFO properties. However a resolution from the Local Council needs to be obtained granting the AFO status to access the services and supplies.

If the property is not granted the AFO the property cannot contract the services and supplies to the property, nor can conservation works be carried out on the property.

Which properties cannot be granted the AFO?

Illegal properties built when the six year statute of limitation has not elapsed since completion of the construction.

Those properties built in protected rustic area, green areas, land which is zoned as public area.

Construction works in protected areas.

illegal properties Andalucia

Who can apply for an AFO?

Either the owner of the property or the Local Council by statute.

What needs to be proved to obtain the AFO?

Identification of the property with registration particulars, rates reference, plan of location, date of finalisation of the construction which can be proved by any valid means.

Also verification that the property meets with the necessary health and safety conditions to serve as a dwelling duly certified by a competent Technician.

Upon review of the documentation lodged and the reports from the relevant bodies of the Administration which it affects, the Local Council will make a decision.

The reports can include whether the property has been subject to proceedings aimed to protect or restore the planning order.

Can the Local Council demand certain works prior to granting the AFO?

Yes, these could be required to guarantee the minimum health and safety condition for the property to be used as a dwelling or those works to minimize the visual impact within the landscape.

These works will have to be carried out under the supervision of a competent technician, such as an architect or engineer.

These people must issue a certificate confirming the completion of the required works and these must be approved by the Local Council technicians.

What is the content of the AFO resolution?

The AFO will declare that in respect of the illegal property, the statute of limitation to protect or restore the planning order is over.

This means that neither protection or restoration proceedings, such as the demolition of the property, nor fine proceedings can be addressed against the property.

The recognition that the property counts with the necessary health and safety conditions to serve as a dwelling.

That the property can now contract to the services and supplies (water and electric).

Also there will be reference to the possible criminal proceedings which may affect the property.

What are the consequences of the AFO being denied?

The property can neither contract to the services and supplies, or any construction work be carried out on the property.

What is the time for the Local Council to resolve the application?

Six months – If there has been no express resolution within such time scale, the application has to be considered rejected and therefore the same can be applied to the subject of appeal by the owner.

Are there new fines foreseen in the law?

The law foresees fines for any property subject to illegal division of land if advertised in the internet. The construction of electricity and water connections without authorization or the issue of Certificate stating how old a building is with false information issued by a Technician.

Will a property with an AFO be considered as illegal forever?

The properties with AFO may be incorporated as legal properties in the future Town plans providing this considers that they are compatible with the principles and definitions of the new town plan and the corresponding planning charges and obligations have been satisfied.

What happens with properties with an order from the authorities to restore the planning order which is impossible to be carried out? 

Those properties will also be considered for an AFO providing the corresponding economical compensation has been paid to the Local Council.

What happens with properties illegally built where building licenses have been declared null and void?

These properties can also be considered for an AFO providing six years have elapsed since the completion of the construction.

However, these will be subject to the decisions of the Court when executing the corresponding judgment.

This means if the Court upholds the demolition of the property, this will be carried out.

In summary, the new legislation recognises the AFO status to any illegally built property on which the statute of limitation for the authorities to protect or restore the planning order has elapsed, i.e. six years since completion.

Even for those properties where the building consent has been declared null and void.

However to be able to contract the services and supplies to the property and to carry out maintenance works on the property an application has to be lodged to the Local Council and has to have an AFO approved and issued.

Rafael Berdaguer Barbadillo


Please note the information provided in this article is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice. This article may be posted freely in websites or other social media so long as the author is duly credited. Plagiarizing, whether in whole or in part, this article without crediting the author may result in criminal prosecution.


Copyright © 2019 Rafael Berdaguer Barbadillo. All rights reserved




On Monday 17th June 2019, a new Mortgage Act (Law 5/2019 of 15th of March) came into force in Spain

With the introduction of the new mortgage act, it has raised a few questions, this article aims to address most questions people may have in relation to the change.

1) To which mortgage loans is the law applicable?

To any mortgage loan granted after 16th of June 2019 applied for by a physical person for the purchase of a residential property. It also can be applicable to Deeds signed after the said date that modify the terms of a former Deed of Mortgage.


2) Who is finally paying the costs related to the mortgage?

The bank has to pay the Stamp Duty (since 10.11.2018) and now also Notary’s fees, Land Registry fees and Law Agent fees known as “gestoria”.

The purchaser / borrower has to pay the fees for the valuation of the property and the copies of the Notarial Deed of Mortgage.


3) What happens with the floor clause?

The new legislation strictly prohibits the insertion in the Deed of Mortgage of a clause with a minimum interest rate thus the floor clause has been banned.


4) Are there any changes on the commissions for repayment before maturity?

Yes, these have been reduced.

For mortgages at a variable interest rate  the banks can charge a 0,15% commission on the amount to be repaid during the  first five years of the loan and 0,25% on the amount repaid in the first three years of the loan. After that term no commission can be charged.

For mortgages at a fixed rated  the banks can charge 2% on the amount  to be repaid during the first 10 years and 1,5% on the amount to repaid during  the  rest of the terms .


5) What happens if I cannot pay the mortgage loan?

You will have a longer term to avoid the repossession of the property by the bank.

The procedures to repossess a property can only be initiated   by the bank in the following cases:

  1. During the first half of the loan if the borrower has not paid 12 monthly installments or owes more than 3% of the capital of the loan.
  2. During the first half of the loan if the borrower has not paid 15 monthly installments or owes more than 7% of the capital of the loan.


6) How much interest would I have to pay if payment of the installments is not made on the due dates?

The new legislation’s limits the rate of interest for delay in payment to a maximum of 3 points above the normal interest rate applied to the mortgage.


7)  Can I change my mortgage loan from a variable rate to a fixed one?

Yes, the new law legislation will make it cheaper to convert a variable rate mortgage into a fixed rate the maximum charge in this case will be 0.15% and will only be applicable if the change happens within the first three years of the term of the mortgage


8) Do I have to subscribe insurance policies and other products with the bank that is granting the mortgage?

No, in principle the banks cannot longer force the client to contract other products to obtain the mortgage (home insurance, life covers, credit cards etc.)  However they are allowed to offer a lower interest rate in return for clients contracting various services of the bank. They can request insurance policies but the borrower can subscribe with any company.


9) Will I have more information about the mortgage loan and possible abusive mortgage clauses?

 In principle the reason for the new legislation is to increase the protection of the consumer by providing a greater level of information of the loan.

The bank has to provide the future client with the form called FEIN (Ficha Europea de Informacion Normalizada, or European Standardized Information Sheet).

This standardized document is designed to give the borrower an overview of the terms and conditions of the mortgage loan. Also the bank has to provide the client with the FAE (Ficha de Advertencias Estandarizadas), where the most relevant clauses and elements will be generically explained, and also with a copy of the loan contract.

If the mortgage is at a variable rate, the client will also receive a separate document outlining the effect on installments in various scenarios.

The bank has to remit these documents to the Notary’s office at least 10 days before the date of the signing of the Deed of Mortgage and the borrower will have to visit the Notary who will give free advice   on the clauses and mortgage terms.

The borrower will have to pass a test to confirm to have understood the terms and Notary will have to   prepare a Deed confirming that the documents have been received and understood by the borrower. Only after this on a second visit the Deed of Mortgage can be signed by the client.


RBA Rafael

Rafael Berdaguer
Lawyer within the firm
Rafael Berdaguer Abogados based in Marbella, Spain.
Copyright © 2016 Rafael Berdaguer Abogados All Rights Reserved


BREXIT in case of NO DEAL

Contingency Regulations in Spain for BREXIT in case of No Deal

The withdrawal process of the United Kingdom (BREXIT) commenced following the referendum held on 23rd June 2016 and the subsequent notification to the European Council on 29 March 2017. Which means they should leave the UE on 29th of March 2019.

At present there is no withdrawal agreement which should establish the conditions for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union and from the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM).

In the proposed agreement which has not been signed and ratified by the UK a transition period is provided up to 31st of December 2020 as to facilitate the withdrawal and sufficient time to negotiate and conclude the agreement that will govern any future relations between the two parties.

If the agreement is not ratified, the United Kingdom will have the same status as a 3rd world country in Spain.

Therefore the Government of Spain has adopted certain measures approved by royal decree 5/2018 of the 1st of March to guarantee certain rights to Expats in case the UK leaves the  EU without a deal.

This will come into force when the withdrawal has taken place i.e. in principle on the 30th of March 2019 and only if there has been no withdrawal agreement signed.

The measures taken and are subject to the condition that the UK grants the same rights to Spaniards living in the UK.


If the UK leaves the EU without a deal,  UK nationals  and their family who already residing in Spain  will have up to the end of 2020 to apply for a  new  foreigner identity card as third world country nationals  to secure the right to remain from 2021 on wards.

During the grace period the existing registration certificate will continue to be valid.

For those who have already permanent residency this will be an easy process.

However this means that future applications for residency from UK nationals not registered in Spain or who cannot prove to have been residing in Spain before Brexit, or arriving here after 29th of March will be processed in the same way as those of other third world country nationals, with the corresponding requirements more demanding than those for EU citizens.

Working in Spain

If a UK national is working as employed or self-employed in Spain they will be able to continue working as normal.

Social Security and Pension

British citizens who are legally resident and working in Spain subject to Spanish social security shall have the same rights and obligations under the social security system as Spanish nationals.

Provision is also made for the continued receipt of certain social security and pension benefits subject to limitations.

The Spanish government will take into account periods of work in the UK before 29th March 2019 when calculating your Spanish pension.

The above is applicable for a period of 21 months from the withdrawal date, i.e. up to 31st of December 2020

Healthcare provision

If a UK national is currently registered for healthcare in Spain as a resident, they will be able to continue to access healthcare until at least the end of 2020.

Spain will continue reimbursing healthcare costs for eligible UK nationals settled in Spain and Gibraltar before BREXIT up to at least 2020

University Admissions

Students coming from educational systems in the UK will continue to enjoy the admissions procedures to Spanish Universities applicable at the date of withdrawal for the academic years 2019/2020 and 2020/2021.

Driving after EU Exit

Britons have 9 months from the 29 March 2019 to exchange their UK license for a Spanish one, in the meantime the UK license is accepted.




We hope this information has been useful and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us. As new information is published we will continue to update you.

Written by Rafael Berdaguer Barbadillo – Senior Partner



Latest Changes to the Urban Letting Act

These are the latest changes introduced in the Urban Letting Act, 1994 by Royal Decree 7-2019 passed by the Spanish Cabinet which is pending ratification by the Parliament.


It is not longer required to register the contract in the Land Registry in order for the tenant to prove the existence of the contract up to the minimum compulsory term (5 years or 7 years) and its effects before bona fide third parties who have acquired property.


The new regulation modifies the minimum term of the rental contract of a property to be used as permanent dwelling for the tenant, since it has been extended from 3 to 5 years or 7 years, if the landlord is a company.

Although the terms of the contract are freely agreed by the parties, tenant and landlord, the law establishes a minimum duration.

If the duration of the contract has been agreed for period lower than the above mentioned legal minimum term, the  Landlords have to compulsory renew the rental up to this minimum term i.e.  Five years or seven years if the owner is a Company, unless the tenant gives notice of termination one month prior to the initially agreed or renewed termination date.

Therefore, the minimum legal term in which the tenant can continue in the house is extended.

Also the tacit renewal has changed.

The landlord has to give notice 4 months before termination date that he does not want the contract to be renewed whereas the tenant can do this two months prior to finalization of the minimum term of 3 or 5 years.

If after the elapse of the minimum duration of the contract none of the parties gives notice of resolution prior to the termination date, then the rental is renewed for further annual terms up to a maximum of three years.

In any case the tenant during the renewal term   (up to 3 years ) can give 1 month notice before the finalization of each annual term to rescind the contract


The rent can be agreed to be increased at the end of each year in a different way than by the Cost of Living Index.

If no mention is made as to the possibility of increase of the rent, this cannot be increased during the initial term of the contract.

If mention is made in the contract to the increase of the rent at the end of each year linked to an official index and this is not expressly mentioned, the one to be taken will be the one known in Spain as Indice de Garantía de Competitividad which is approved by the Government every year.

The increase however cannot exceed the increase of the cost of life index. 


In the rental of residential property there is a compulsory bond to be paid by the tenant of one month rent.

However landlord and tenant can reach agreement to increase this but it cannot exceed more than two additional month rent bond unless it is a contract for a longer term than the minimum compulsory term (5 or 7 years in case the landlord is a company).

Also the expenses of the preparation of the contract and the Real Estate commission have to be paid by the landlord, only if this is a company.


Tenant and landlord can reach agreements to improve or renovate the house during the duration of the lease and increase the rent.

This would not suspend the duration of the contract or the corresponding renewals. 


In case of eviction there are provisions to temporarily suspend the proceedings (1 month if the landlord is a physical person and 3 months maximum if this is a company) if the Administration appreciates that the tenants have a low economical capacity or show other vulnerable circumstances.

Thus, when the tenant is requested to pay, he is informed that he can attend to the social services.



The community of owners can adopt agreements by majority of 3/5 of the owners, to limit or condition the exercise of the tourism rental housing activity. Also with this majority the community of owners can resolve to increase the community fees of these apartments up to 20 % of the existing fees. These are lettings offered to the public through real estates or internet portals. These lettings are excluded from the scope of the Urban Letting Act, 1964 and are governed by the specific legislation of the Regional Government where the property is situated.


When an official rental contract is signed and properly recorded in the administration, the tenant is exempt from paying the Stamp Duty.

In the past Stamp Duty had to be paid within a month of the signing of the contract, although in the practice this has not complied with.

The obligation to add to the rent in the social housing rentals, the payment of the local rates (IBI) when the landlord were a public Administration is now removed.

In addition, municipalities that have surplus in their accounts are allowed to promote their public housing stock, establishing a bonus of up to 95%of the amount of the local rate receipt for residential social rental, i.e. where the  amounts of the rental is limited.

On the other hand the Decree also introduces in the Law on Local Taxes the definition of “vacant property with permanent character” for the purpose of allowing the Local Council to apply a surcharge on the Local rate receipt for these properties of up to 50 percent of the amount of the tax to be paid.


If you require any further information, please contact us.

Articles Buying a property

Government forces Banks to pay mortgage tax

Government moves fast to force Banks to pay mortgage tax after tax ruling

A most unusual event has happened by the Government; a Royal decree has been passed after the Supreme Court said the client should pay the tax.

The government has responded fast after the Supreme Court controversially ruled this month that customers must continue to pay the mortgage-loan notary tax (AJD).

As consumer groups slammed the decision, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez promised swift action.

Within the same week the cabinet had passed a royal decree forcing banks to pay the fee which was due to come in to force 10th November 2018.

Treasury minister Maria Jesús Montero said the government would be vigilant to ensure the banks did not pass on the charge to the customer when setting up loans.

In a move to silence a growing public outcry and gain political advantage, the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, held a hurriedly arranged press conference to announce that the government would change the law to force banks to pay a tax on mortgage loan transaction paperwork.

A royal decree to that effect was approved at a cabinet meeting on Thursday 8th November 2018 (and the law change was due to be published in the official state bulletin (BOE), Friday, coming into force on Saturday.

The announcement came less than 24 hours after a meeting of Supreme Court judges in Madrid had narrowly voted to rule that it should be the customers taking out a mortgage who should continue to pay the increasingly controversial charge.

The widespread discontent over the tax, known as the Impuesto de Actos Jurídicos Documentados, has grown from nowhere over the last few weeks.

The fee is levied on a broad range of documents processed by a notary, not just mortgage papers, and is a variable percentage charged depending on the money mentioned in the loan paperwork.

Up to now banks have been charging their customers the tax, which varies by region. Experts say it can be between 1,000 and 4,000 euros on a typical mortgage.

Court finds against banks first

A Supreme Court ruling was published  in October 2018 which said that, as the bank was the party in the deal asking for the documents of the loan to be registered, and then it had to be the bank that paid for the tax.

The minute that first judgment was announced on 18 October, bank shares fell amid fears that refunds would be due on existing mortgages as well.

Dramatic backtracking

However, with signs of internal disagreements at the highest level of the Supreme Court, an unprecedented decision was taken to summon all the judges responsible for hearing cases linked to the public administration to meet on Monday, 5 November, to debate and then vote on whether their colleague’s decision should stand or not.

By the time the judges’ meeting arrived, public interest had grown to such an extent, with claims that the judges were trying to protect the banks’ interests, which no political party had dared to show support for the banks continuing to pay.

The judges’ meeting went on all of Tuesday as well. And when the final vote came it was 15 in favour and 13 against the customer continuing to pay.

Analysts said that had the decision gone against the banks and been retrospective, the banks stood to lose up to 16 billion euros.

Consumer rights’ group Facua said the verdict was “absolutely disgusting”, as the debate swung from the courts to the politicians.

Government steps in

By mid morning on Wednesday, Pedro Sánchez had his response ready. “The government respects the independence of the Judiciary but as the Executive we cannot avoid feeling sorry about this situation,” he said.


Malaga is one of the provinces where mortgages take up the highest share of income.


What is an AFO why do you need one?

The acronym AFO – Asimilado Fuera de ordenación – has now become a part of the selling process for rural properties.

But why has this come about?

Well the AFO by means of an administrative certificate confirms the legal status of the property as officially recognised out of planning. This means that although the construction of the property does not comply with the legal planning, the statute of limitation for the Local Council to initiate legal proceedings to reinstate the legal order has elapsed and therefore the property cannot be pulled down. It also helps the contracting of the services and supplies to the property.

The Junta de Andalucía has made a law that all town halls must have a list of all properties and their legal status as per the Decree 2/2012, of January 10.

This is in the light of the corruption unearthed within the Town Halls illegally granting building permission on land that clearly should not be built on.

Please note this does not make a property legal.

The AFO Certificate does not change the legal situation of the property. It is a legal recognition of the illegal situation of the property with the advantage that the property can have access to the basic services.

However, this document (AFO) will provide written confirmation by the town hall to the Junta de

Andalucía in relation to the status of properties on rustic land in their area.

Furthermore, utility companies (water and electricity) are requesting this AFO document when receiving an application for connection.

Likewise, should a license to carry out renovation work on an existing property be applied for, the town halls are also requesting to see the AFO certificate before they can issue the renovation license.

The amended Andalusia land regulations of 2012 say that a house built before 1975 and with its original building permit does not need an AFO.

However they also grant power to the individual Town Halls to administrate their urban planning, which means if they insist on an AFO it has to be done.

Please note this certificate is only applicable to properties situated on rustic land.

Further to the passing of the above Decree, all the different town halls have drawn up their own regulations for the issuing of this AFO certificate and the tax to pay to obtain the AFO.

So this means that the cost of an AFO will vary from one area to the next depending on that Town Hall’s own regulations.

How to apply for an AFO

Owners of the property need to apply for the certificate at their local Town Hall either in person or through a lawyer.

For houses already on the market, the application process needs to be started as soon as possible.

Alternatively the process can be started once a buyer has been found however this may delay completion of the sale quite significantly and the speed with which certificates are issued depends on the area in which the seller lives.

The first step involves employing an architect to visit the property to:

  • Produce comprehensive plans of the property.
  • Confirm that the property is habitable with a functioning bathroom and kitchen.
  • Confirm that the property has legal electricity and water connections.
  • Confirm that the property has proper waste disposal for sewage – a septic tank not a ‘black hole’ or ‘pozo negro’.

This information is then submitted to the Town Hall along with documents including a copy of the:

  • Escritura,
  • Catastro plans,
  • latest IBI bill (paid)
  • NIE certificates.

So what does the AFO confirm?

  • Confirmation that there are no administrative files on the part of the town hall against the construction (or any sanctions or demolition requests for that matter)
  • Confirmation that any possible town planning irregularities that may have been incurred have already prescribed.
  • Confirmation that the construction complies with the minimum requirements established as far as habitability and health conditions are concerned.
  • Confirmation on the kind of works that can be carried out at the property: Only renovation works. (In no case extension or structural works)
  • Confirmation that the land is not protected.

Once you have been granted the certificate you then have a Declaración de Asimilado a Fuera de Ordenación (DAFO).

Before applying for the AFO, a property owner must be sure that everything that has been built on their land has been in place for more than 6 years – this even includes pergolas.

The Town Hall will check on the overhead plans produced by the Junta de Andalucía to make sure this is the case and if something has not been in place for the requisite 6 years then the Town Hall may require it to be removed.

This does vary from Town Hall to Town Hall so each property owner needs to check with their particular Town Hall.

As experienced property Lawyers in country law, we can advise both sellers and buyers on the legal requirements for selling and buying a property in Spain.

Our experience will ensure you have peace of mind when selling your property or as a buyer purchasing a property in Spain.










Privacy lost through neighbours new window

You have a house in an urbanisation, and your neighbour, to have more air and light, has decided to put in a window in the wall of their house, a short distance from your land … Can they do that? How should you act as now your privacy is compromised?Privacy

The window – By putting in this window on the wall of their house, your neighbour gets more light in their house, but also has direct views over your land.

Note! For that reason, you can question if they are allowed to do it, and what are your rights in this case…

Construction of windows with loss of Privacy

Light – Well, in principle your neighbour can put a window in the wall of their own house (on the other hand, if it were a dividing wall they could not do it without your consent).

Note! However, to do so, your neighbour must respect certain limits:

The law prohibits putting in windows or balconies on a property that encroaches on your neighbour’s property if there is not a gap of two meters or more, in a straight line, between the wall in which they are built and the neighbouring land.

Note! Also, you cannot have side or oblique views on the neighbouring land if there is not a gap of 60 centimetres or more.

In any case, keep in mind that in some autonomous communities these distances may be lower.

Translucent – Also, know that the courts do not usually apply these limits in cases where the window in question has been made with solid materials that, although they allow the entry of light, prevent the view on the neighbouring land.

For example the window was made of glass bricks or had an opaque film over the glass, in these cases it is considered that no damage is caused to the neighbour, since the window would not allow a view over the neighbour’s property so not affecting the privacy of the neighbour.

Avoid servitude (giving someone the right over your land)

Servitude – In this case, if the window does not respect the indicated limits, you must oppose this and avoid a time lapse in the law for “lights and views” which will favour your neighbour.

Note! For these purposes, the term that must elapse for your neighbour to acquire the easement is 20 years.

Consequences – Keep in mind that if your neighbour acquires said easement, you will no longer be able to demand the removal of the window (the easement will have already been consolidated by the planning law).

Note! In addition, you cannot build (even if you do it within your own land) at a distance less than three meters from said window. Therefore, any construction or extension of your home may be limited by the existence of the easement.

How should you act?

Action – Therefore, act quickly and try to convince your neighbour that the window is illegal and that they must wall it in or replace with a material that will not affect your privacy, but give them light.Privacy

Note! If they do not:

  1. Send a Burofax (with acknowledgment of receipt and content certificate) stating that they have installed a window that violates legal distances and that they must cover it, giving them a reasonable time to do so (for example, a month).
  2. If the Burofax does not work, you will have no choice but to file a lawsuit.

Note – In these cases it is advisable to provide as evidence an expert report, which shows that the construction of the window does not respect the minimum distances indicated.


Your neighbour cannot put in windows less than two meters away from your property.

If your neighbour puts in a window that does not meet that minimum distance, then you must oppose it, so that you do not allow your neighbour to acquire servitude for the passage of time.


Not being informed about Traffic Fines!

As Lawyers we are very pleased to see the new sentence that has been passed relating to traffic fines, as reported in Málaga hoy the 12th February 2018.

Much of our work is in dealing with such cases and to date we have had a 100% success rate and the reason being is stated below.


Beware if the traffic fine is badly notified … You have to return the money and points!Traffic Fines
The DGT has been ordered to return the points of a motorist who was sent a fine to a house that was not the one listed for the vehicle.

A recent ruling issued by the Contentious-Administrative Court No. 21 of Madrid has ordered the Directorate General of Tráfico (DGT) to return the points deducted to a motorist to whom the Treasury had previously annulled a fine for being badly notified. It also ordered Trafico to pay the legal costs.

As reported by Automoviles Europeos Asociados (AEA), who legally assisted the driver, the case was initiated by a claim to the Treasury because the fine of 240 euros that was the fine with a surcharge had never come to the driver’s knowledge.

In a first instance, the Tax Agency of Madrid (AEAT) denied the appeal arguing that Tráfico had notified the fine through an edictal publication in the Traffic Sanctions Board (TESTRA), because the postal notification had been returned by the postal service “with the indication of absent in delivery hours”. So the driver never received the notification.

However, the claim filed in the second instance before the Regional Economic and Administrative Court of Madrid (TEAR), was accepted because the postal notification was addressed to an address that was not the one indicated by the interested party and, therefore, the edictal notification was not justified.
As indicated by AEA, based on that TEAR resolution, the Provincial Traffic Authority of Madrid was asked to return the points, but the latter refused, arguing that the annulment of a fine by the Treasury cannot mean nullifying the deduction of points because it does not have “faculties to review the sanctioning competence in traffic matters”.

As you can see Trafico are not happy at this point and do not want to take the points back.

In view of the issue by Traffico, the petition was reiterated because it did not understand how the economic part of a fine that had not been notified could be annulled and, therefore, had not acquired firmness, but the deduction of points was maintained.

Traffico admitted again the resource, transferring the case to the Contentious-Administrative Court number 21 of Madrid, which finally gave the reason to the interested party.

Outcome: the driver had the fine annulled and no points deducted from his licence.
One out of every three fines is badly notified.

As reported by the association, this is the first sentence that has occurred in Spain in this regard, so this will allow about 10,000 drivers to recover each year the points that, both traffic and municipalities, wrongly detracted by fines poorly processed.

In addition, for the volume of fines that are published each day in the BOE and the latest audit report of the annual accounts of the DGT of 2016, the AEA has estimated that one out of every three fines that are processed in Spain is badly notified.

Taking into account that 1% of drivers have lost points, 45,000 drivers each year would be losing points without anyone being warned.

Traffic Fines
traffic-jam on 4-lane highway at rush-hour

For the president of the Association, Mario Arnaldo, this sentence is a “very important legal precedent inasmuch as it means dismantling the perverse argument that the DGT has been using for a decade not to return points of fines poorly processed.”

“If a fine is not well notified, not only must the economic part of the sanction be annulled, but also the ‘mochilita de puntos’ (The little back bag of points) that accompanies it,” he adds.

In addition, AEA maintains that the Administration “abuses the system of edictal notification”, since it notes that the Constitutional Court has reiterated on numerous occasions that among the guarantees of the right to defense set forth in Article 24 of the Constitution are the rights of defense and to be informed of the accusation, whose exercise presupposes that the citizen is summoned or duly notified of the fines, because only then can he enjoy an effective possibility of defense against the infraction that is imputed to him.

It also notes that the edictal site constitutes a “last remedy of a supplementary and exceptional nature, since no citizen is obliged to read the bulletins daily to see if their name appears in them”.

Summary of Traffic fines

In Spain every citizen has a right to a defense; if you have had no notification of the fine then you have no opportunity to defend yourself.

If you believe you have been a victim of the system and have not had an opportunity to defend yourself, then contact us now and will fight your cause, our proven success rate will ensure any wrong doing is rectified.



Reformed Property versus Unreformed Property

Do I Buy a Reformed Property or an Unreformed Property?

You are looking for a second residence, and are torn between a property that needs renovation and another more expensive property but that is already renovated.

Buying the Property – Well, if the total amount you are going to pay for both properties  is the same, then in most cases it will be more convenient to buy the renovated property.reformed property versus unreformed property

However if you have that itch, to put your own stamp on a property and renovating a property appeals to your creative nature, then sure go ahead, but be aware of the Tax implications when you go to sell.

See why

Capital Gain – If you sell your renovated property in the future, you will have to pay for the Capital Gain you receive (the difference between the acquisition value and the transfer value of the property).

Well everyone knows that!

But did you know you can end up paying more tax on a reform?

When you renovate a property, you will be doing two things:

1.Replacing existing parts of the property like floors, new kitchen units, internal doors, painting, plastering and general repairs.

This is considered works within the acquisition price and they will not be accounted for to reduce your Capital Gains Tax.

2. Improving the property – adding rooms, increasing the floor space, creating a pool and adding central heating for example.

According to the Treasury, only new installations that did not exist in the house (such as a new heating system) or expansion or restoration works, when the build area is enlarged or when the works are considered to be a legal restoration, will increase the acquisition price when working out the Capital Gains Tax.

Note: This will mean that to reform a property will incur a higher Capital Gains Tax than if you bought an already refurbished property.

The reason is that Hacienda considers (although their criterion is debatable) that only those works that are an improvement (as set out in number 2 above) can be added to the value of acquisition, when working out the Capital Gains Tax.

The expenses under number 1 cannot be accounted for the reduction of your Capital Gains Tax.


You can buy a renovated property for 180,000 Euros (taxes and expenses included)


You can buy a property to reform for 120,000 (in which your restoration budget is 60,000 Euros).

When you come to sell the property, the renovated property will give you a saving of 13,400 Euros on your Equity gain Tax, where as the property you have reformed will cost you more Tax see table below.



Reformed Property

Unreformed Property

Buying Price



Selling Price



Capital Gain from the Sale



Capital Gains Tax



Tax Rates: 19%Tax for the first 6,000 Euros, then 21% for the next 44,000 Euros and at 23% for the remainder…

So as a serious investor you need to be aware of these factors, but if you are buying a property to restore as that is going to be your dream house and you are going to live there until you die (please see our article on Wills and Estates) then the reformed property is still a good buy.

Have a chat with us and find out how we can help