Own a home in Spain? What will Brexit mean for you?

Own a home in Spain? What will Brexit mean for you?

  • Property law firm shares expert advice as deadline looms
  • Many British property owners seeking clarification on Brexit’s likely impact
  • Just days left for Britons in Spain to apply for residency

There’s been plenty of talk about how Brexit will impact Britons’ ability to go on holiday within the EU from 1 January 2021 onwards but what about those who own property there? Brexit tasks are, of course, ongoing, but in response to a wide range of queries from anxious British owners of property in Spain, the experts at CostaLuz Lawyers have shared their insights into what Brexit will and won’t affect, based on what we know so far.

“We’ve been responding to plenty of queries about residency over the course of this year but also about property ownership in Spain and how that is affected. As the Brexit deadline looms, many property owners’ concerns are increasing, so we wanted to share some detail about what the future holds in order to allay property owners’ concerns – and those of anyone looking to buy property in Spain in 2021 as well.”

Keith Rule, www.costaluzlawyers.com

Will the property purchase process change as a result of Brexit?

No. Britons who buy property in Spain will still have to follow the same purchase process.

I own property in Spain – will Brexit affect my rights as a homeowner?

No, it won’t.  Property rights are never linked to residency status.  All owners of property in Spain have the same rights and obligations, regardless of where they are from.

Are there any tax implications?

There aren’t any tax implications in relation to property ownership. However, the rate of non-resident income tax that British nationals have to pay will increase from 19% to 24% from 1 January 2021. This is because Spain, along with other EU countries, distinguishes between EEA and non-EEA nationals.

How long can I stay in my Spanish property after Brexit?

From 1 January 2021, rules regarding the length of your stay in Spain will change. You will no longer be allowed to stay for more than 90 days at a time in a 180-day period.

Note that the 90 days starts as soon as you enter the Schengen Area. This means that if you travel to Spain via France, for example, the time you spend in France counts towards your tally of 90 days.

What if I want to stay for longer – can I join two periods of 90 days?

No. At present you can only spend up to 90 days in Spain, then you must leave the country. You will then not be able to return to the Schengen Area until 180 days have passed since your date of entry into Spain (or elsewhere in the Schengen Area).

You can, however, divide the 90-day period into smaller chunks, for example by spending two periods of 45 days each in Spain.

Does the 90-day rule apply even if I own property in Spain?

Yes, it does. Spain may, of course, introduce new legislation to favour British property owners and allow them to spend longer periods of time in the country. However, at present the government has not announced any new rules.

Will Brexit affect my rights as a homeowner in Spain?

No. The UK’s decision to leave the EU does not affect homeownership rights in Spain. These will continue to be the same as they were prior to Brexit.

Will my NIE change when the UK leaves the EU?

No. Your NIE (foreigner’s identification number) is valid throughout your lifetime and does not change.

What if I am officially resident?

If you have a Spanish residence permit (known as the Tarjeta de Identidad Extranjero/TIE), your status falls under the Withdrawal Agreement set up between the UK and EU. This means your rights in Spain and the rest of the EU do not change after Brexit.

What if I live in Spain but am not officially resident?

In this case, you need to act fast. Very fast. You have until 31 December 2020 to apply for residency. If you don’t, you won’t enjoy the same benefits as other EU citizens in Spain.

Note that, on 4 July 2020, the Spanish authorities introduced a new residency card for British nationals in Spain. Known as the TIE (tarjeta de identidad de extranjero), the card expressly states that the holder is a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU. It also confirms the holder’s right to live in Spain.

“There is bound to be a period of adjustment following 1 January 2021 for Britons who own property in Spain, particularly for those impacted by the 90-day rule. It’s important for property owners to stay abreast of any further developments over the course of 2021 (and beyond) to ensure that they are fully aware of their rights and obligations.”

Keith Rule, www.costaluzlawyers.com

For more information, please contact CostaLuz Lawyers’ UK office on +44 1908 635 111 and speak with Keith. To speak with Maria in the Spanish office, call +34 956 092 687 or you can visit www.costaluzlawyers.es