Trapped in your timeshare? CostaLuz Lawyers offers fresh hope to burdened families

Trapped in your timeshare? CostaLuz Lawyers offers fresh hope to burdened families

Spain
  • Many clients still paying maintenance fees for illegal and unwanted timeshare contracts
  • Issuing a legal statement on the client’s rights is often sufficient to cease payments
  • Spanish law supports buyers’ interests when it comes to timeshare purchases

“We often think of timeshares as an issue of the past, but there are still so many families who are trapped in them and either don’t want them or can’t afford them. What’s most shocking is that many of those families are trapped in their contracts illegally. We have a good deal of experience of this and want to let people know that they may be able to take action to get out of such schemes.”

Keith Rule, www.costaluzlawyers.com

Timeshares took off as a way for multiple individuals to share the rights to use a holiday property back in the 1960s. By the mid-1970s the business model was well-established and increasingly popular in both the US and Europe. Globally, the industry continues to expand, with MarketWatch reporting the global vacation ownership (timeshare) market to have a value of USD 15620 million in 2019. That figure was projected (as at December 2020) to rise to USD 25720 million by the end of 2026.

However, the history of timeshares has been littered with scandals, as well as with treasured holiday memories. Between mis-selling and families becoming trapped in unsellable contracts, timeshares have caused plenty of distress over the years. The cross-border nature of the timeshare transaction process has also caused issues.

“Timeshares make a very interesting study from a legal perspective. The number of abusive, corrupt companies located in tax havens that are involved is truly eye-opening. Thankfully, case law is very much on the buyers’ side, at least in Europe where a Directive on timeshares has supported buyers’ interests.”

Keith Rule, www.costaluzlawyers.com

According to CostaLuz Lawyers, Spanish law has established that if the timeshare complex is in Spain, then Spanish law governs the contract. The law in Spain relating to timeshares has changed twice in recent years. Law 42/1998 was enacted to protect buyers. Then, in 2015, the Spanish Supreme Court ruled that any contract lasting for 50+ years (including all those ‘in perpetuity) and signed after 5 January 1999 was illegal, as all such contracts had to be for 50 years or under.

For those stuck in timeshare contracts that they can’t afford or simply don’t want, the CostaLuz Lawyers team advises investigating the available options. The number of contracts that Spanish judges have ruled are null and void means that many owners do have a choice about remaining in their contracts.

“In many instances, all it takes to get clients out of the illegal timeshare contracts in which they are trapped is the issuing of a legal statement in relation to the null character of the contracts, along with cessation of maintenance fee payments. Very few timeshare companies take the matter any further. At the other end of the spectrum, very few sign a settlement agreement, either. Most simply leaving the matter un-concluded but with contract holders no longer having to pay.”

Keith Rule, www.costaluzlawyers.com

In the CostaLuz Lawyers’ team’s experience, this situation is just fine with the majority of those seeking to escape their illegal and/or burdensome timeshare contracts. Most don’t have the will to pursue the timeshare company to claim back the amount they’ve invested, despite there being scope in Spanish law for them to do so. Instead, the majority of clients simply want to stop paying their maintenance fees and forget about the issue entirely.

While there is occasional pushback from one of the timeshare companies, this is usually swiftly dealt with through a reiteration of the client’s rights and the relevant case law.

 “Unwanted timeshares don’t have to be the millstone that those forced to make regular maintenance payments might assume. It’s always worth finding out if the option to escape the contract exists.”

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

Pent up demand from British tourists ready to give Spanish golf sector a major boost

Pent up demand from British tourists ready to give Spanish golf sector a major boost

Spain ,
  • Buyers looking for golf homes with private outdoor space, pools and flexible internal areas (Taylor Wimpey España)
  • Single-family homes account for record-breaking 20.43% of transactions (Q3 2020)
  • Palma Tourism Board “confident” that British visitors will be some of earliest to return

Popular tourism destinations such as Spain have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but hopes are high that pent up demand from British holidaymakers will provide a significant boost this summer.

Spain’s golf industry, in particular, is eyeing up demand from British golfers. The sector is responsible for 120,000 jobs (direct and indirect) and the generation of nearly €13 billion, including €777 million in direct income from golf courses and €4,640 million in spending by golf tourists. As such, golf is a major player in Spain’s tourism offering, with 1.2 million golfers travelling to enjoy Spain’s fairways each year (2020, obviously, being a notable exception).

“Think of Spain and you immediately picture sunny beaches, great food and wine and world-class golf courses. Being able to spend time on the fairways year-round is an intrinsic part of Spain’s appeal. Not being able to visit Spain and play has been distressing for all those who enjoy golf as a way to stay fit and healthy and to spend time outdoors in beautiful natural surroundings.”

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España

British players are certainly missing golf – so much so that design and build firm Oakbridge Bespoke recently reported an increase in interest from clients wanting golf simulators in their own homes. Of course, even the fanciest of simulators can’t beat the feel of being out on the fairway, but it is hoped that British golfers won’t have to wait too much longer to do so. According to Pedro Homar, Director of the Palma Tourism Board,

“With the rate in which the UK is rolling out the vaccination, we are confident that the UK market will be one of the first to return to Palma… In terms of timings, we expect the UK market to return from around May onwards.”

Golf in Spain comes with a surprisingly affordable price tag. Indeed, the Golf Travel Centre recently worked out that the average Brit doing Dry January would save £343 from missing nights out (pandemic aside). That’s enough for a long weekend at the Costa del Sol’s stunning La Cala Golf Resort.

For many golfers, though, the odd weekend here and there just isn’t enough. They are looking for golf properties where they can play golf all year round, enjoying the lush greenery, sea views and abundant sunshine that are so good for mental as well as physical health. As such, many seek to buy golf properties that they can use whenever suits them.

The pandemic has, of course, impacted the kind of homes that golfers in Spain are seeking. According to leading Spanish home builder Taylor Wimpey España, buyers are looking for spacious terraces, communal areas and swimming pools as their top priorities (alongside access to first-rate golf facilities, of course). Open, flexible spaces within the home are also important, with many buyers now incorporating working from home in their plans for the way they will use their golf property. The option to practice other outdoors sports has also moved up buyers’ priority list, with socially distanced outdoor activities holding even more appeal than previously.

As in the UK, demand for rural and coastal area homes has increased, while more densely populated cities have fallen out of favour. Not only that, but buyers also looking for individual villas and townhouses, rather than apartments. The Association of Property Registrars, Movable Property and Mercantile of Spain report that the sale of single-family homes accounted for 20.43% of total transactions in Q3 2020 – the highest recorded percentage for this type of property.

“Single-family homes in quiet locations, with easy access to golf and other outdoor sports are experiencing strong demand right now. Buyers are looking for plenty of their own outdoor space, in addition to communal areas and shared pools.”

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España

In the Costa Blanca, where prices increased by 2% in 2020 despite the pandemic, according to Fotocasa, it is newly built, private developments that are turning buyers’ heads. At Kiruna Residencial, for example, just one key-ready home remains for sale, priced at €191,000 plus VAT. A further development in the area, Kiruna Hills, has properties available off-plan, priced from €193,800.

The three-bedroom, two-bathroom home at Kiruna Residencial boasts a 50 m2 roof terrace, a 26 m2 garden and a further terrace of 14 m2. The development offers views of the spectacular Sierra de las Aguilas Mountains, as well as Elche’s Alenda Golf, in which the property is located. Residents also benefit from a communal swimming pool, an array of landscaped gardens, a supermarket and a club house. There’s even a bilingual English/Spanish school for families looking to settle more permanently.

The Costa del Sol is, of course, renowned for its golf courses and Taylor Wimpey España’s Green Golf has everything that buyers are looking for there. Available from as little as €299,000 plus VAT, the frontline golf townhouses face southwest to make the most of the plentiful sunshine. The three bedroom, three-bathroom homes, which are ready to move in to, have large terraces that are ideal for outdoor dining, and make up a private, gated community with communal gardens and pools at Estepona Golf.

With Palma’s tourism director ‘confident’ that UK holidaymakers will be some of the first to return to Mallorca, many golfers are also eyeing up properties there as both potential second homes and main residences. One popular development is Canyamel Pins, just a few minutes’ walk from the beach at Canyamel and the Canyamel golf course. The two- and three-bedroom homes, with have large terraces for enjoying the unbeatable Mediterranean climate, are available from €335,000 plus VAT.

For more information please contact Taylor Wimpey España today on 08000 121 020 or visit https://www.taylorwimpeyspain.com/. If you reside outside of the UK you will need to call 00 34 971 706 972.

How to buy a home in Spain safely during lockdown

How to buy a home in Spain safely during lockdown

Spain
  • British appetite for holidays and second homes in Spain remains strong
  • CostaLuz Lawyers walks buyers through safe online buying practices
  • Pre-foreclosure purchases deliver savings of up to 60%

The Covid-19 pandemic has done little to quell the long-term British love for Spain. In fact, the idea of lounging on a beach in the sunshine holds a great deal more appeal when it is so far out of reach. As Spanish tourism board officer in London, Javier Piñanes, recently pointed out:

“There is a strong desire to travel on the part of the British and they emphasize that Spain is the destination they want to travel to, it is their top destination for holiday.”

Nor is it just holidays that Brits are dreaming of during lockdown. Recently reported figures from Taylor Wimpey España observed an increase of 39% in website traffic during the first week of 2021, compared to the same week a year earlier.

But with travel restrictions in place that, currently, have no end in sight, how can British buyers turn their dream of holiday home ownership into reality?

According to CostaLuz Lawyers, with the right safeguards in place, it is perfectly possible to buy a Spanish property safely online during the lockdown. While buyers can’t visit the property and the local area in person, they can research to their hearts’ content online. Key to doing so safely is to engage an independent lawyer early in the process.  

 “The right lawyer can be invaluable in terms of helping you choose a Spanish property. They can help you to work with reputable, honest and reasonably priced agents, arrange a surveyor, check all required paperwork is in place and do the conveyancing and post-sale work. Not only that, but your transaction will be covered by the law firm’s professional indemnity insurance and title insurance, for added peace of mind.”

Keith Rule, www.costaluzlawyers.com

Locating the right agent through whom to buy is half of the battle. Plenty of British buyers have been burned attempting to buy property in Spain before now. The CostaLuz Lawyers team can attest to this. They have won almost 850 claims from Spanish property developers and banks, with many cases brought by buyers who paid substantial deposits during the pre-crash years, but never received a completed property. Many of these cases are still working their way through the courts now, some 10 to 15 years after the deposits were lost – in 2020, CostaLuz Lawyers won 51 cases for a total of 76 clients, despite the shutdown and reduced operation of the Spanish legal system for extended periods during the year.

These cases highlight how essential it is to find the right agent, which is something that an independent property lawyer can assist with. Not only that, but the right legal representation can also open doors to potential cost savings. CostaLuz Lawyers, for example, operates a service that connects British owners of negative equity homes in Spain – those who are facing foreclosure in the near future – with buyers in the UK. The service enables the seller and buyer to agree a below market value price that avoids foreclosure, keeping everyone happy (including the bank). In some cases, this service has seen buyers pick up homes for around 60% of the price paid for them back in 2007.

“Buying during the pandemic means finding new ways to view properties and engage with the purchase process. It can also deliver some excellent bargains. And what better way to finally celebrate the lifting of travel restrictions, whenever that may be, than to visit your new holiday home?”

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

Spanish property buyers focus on green second homes as Malaga gets first National Park

Spanish property buyers focus on green second homes as Malaga gets first National Park

Spain ,
  • Sierra de las Nieves to become Spain’s 16th National Park later this year
  • Designation includes strict environmental protections
  • Taylor Wimpey España reports uptick in interest in greener homes

Later this year, Spain’s Malaga province will finally get its first National Park, after six years of campaigning. Sierra de las Nieves, the mountainous area north of Marbella and east of Ronda, will enjoy increased funding and stricter environmental protections as a result of the decision.

Sierra de las Nieves has been a protected national park since 1989 and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 1995. It is home to the largest collection of pinsapo trees in existence, along with an abundance of largely untouched flora and fauna, with some of the trees thought to be over 500 years old. Bird spotters who visit the park can enjoy sightings of golden eagles, griffon vultures, peregrine falcons and many more species, while ibex, wild cats, mouflon and roe deer roam the steep slopes.

Connecting with nature has rarely felt so important as it has over the past year, with lockdown restrictions confining so many people to the inside of their homes. Likewise, exercise has becoming something to be valued even more than normal. With cycling, hiking, horse-riding, kayaking, climbing, abseiling, potholing and canyoning all available in Sierra de las Nieves, those visiting the resorts of the Costa del Sol will have easy access to all the nature and exercise they could possibly wish for.

Many visitors and locals alike have long enjoyed the rich eco-diversity of Sierra de las Nieves. Now, the profile-raising nature of the National Park designation, along with the funding that comes with it, means that many more families will benefit from this incredible natural resource. The development of sustainable tourism activities will ensure the area is well protected, which is incredibly important for the future of Sierra de las Nieves.”

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España

Both tourists and second home owners are increasingly conscious of the need for greater sustainability, according to leading Spanish home builder Taylor Wimpey España. Concern for the environment is being reflected in the questions that buyers are asking as part of the purchase process.

Taylor Wimpey España has long been included environmentally friendly features in its developments. Its properties at the prestigious La Cala Golf resort, located just over an hour from Sierra de las Nieves, include several such features. One example is their electric water heaters, which use energy saving systems and source their hot water through thermal solar energy. Double glazed windows also help to make the homes more energy efficient.

The properties also deliver the chance to reconnect with nature. The low-density construction and quiet location of the key-ready homes at Sun Valley, for example, are ideal for those looking for a greenery-surrounded retreat. Available from €251,000 plus VAT, the southwest-facing homes offer stunning golf view from their ample terraces. In addition to golf, owners can enjoy the on-site tennis facilities, as well as an array of water sports at the stunning beaches just 7 km away.

The off-plan apartments available at Harmony, also on the La Cala Golf site, will also make the most of the natural surroundings and spectacular scenery, with views taking in the golf course, mountains and sea in a single vista. Priced from €295,000 plus VAT, the homes are being built in accordance with the new Technical Building Code (CTE). This means that they are ahead of the market in terms of delivering some of the highest levels of energy efficiency and thermal and acoustic insulation. The property has achieved Energy Certification B, as does Sun Valley (this obligatory certification ranges from A for the most energy efficient homes to G for the least).

“Features such as energy efficiency, solar energy and thermal insulation are no longer ‘nice to haves’ – they are a core part of what many buyers are seeking. We are delighted to be developing homes that adhere to such high standards in this respect.”

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España

For more information please contact Taylor Wimpey España today on 08000 121 020 or visit https://www.taylorwimpeyspain.com/. If you reside outside of the UK you will need to call 00 34 971 706 972.

All is not lost for owners of ‘illegal’ properties in Spain

All is not lost for owners of ‘illegal’ properties in Spain

Spain
  • CostaLuz Lawyers highlights potential to take action against banks
  • ‘Illegal’ property owners can claim for refund of off-plan deposit
  • Claims not subject to December 2020 deadline that applied to many other owners

The Spanish property experts at CostaLuz Lawyers have reached out to owners of ‘illegal’ properties in Spain to reassure them that all is not lost. The team has highlighted the potential for owners of these properties to make a claim against their developer’s bank for a refund of their off-plan deposit. Not only that, but if the buyer subrogated the developer’s mortgage, they can also claim for all mortgage repayments.

Action can be taken against liable banks under Law 57/1968, with no deadline in place for making such claims, yet few of those impacted are aware of the full extent of their right to a refund.

An illegal Spanish property is one that did not have the proper planning permission, building licences or other paperwork in place at the time the client paid their off-plan deposit. Many buyers moved into such properties following the building boom of the early to mid-2000s, either paying for them in full or taking on large mortgages. These buyers now have recourse to legal action to reclaim the deposits that they paid – along with interest and legal fees.

“We’ve been hugely successful in winning back some €25 million for Spanish property buyers who lost deposits to developers who went bust. The deadline for such claims under Law 57/1968 was 28 December 2020. However, claims for the return of off-plan deposits paid on illegal properties, and for mortgage payments where the buyer subrogated the developer’s mortgage, are not subject to this deadline; they’re not subject to any deadline at all.”

Keith Rule, www.costaluzlawyers.com

Owners can claim against the developer’s bank or insurer for a refund of any deposit that they paid prior to the legally required paperwork being in place. This applies even when no contract exists, as the Spanish Supreme Court has deemed that lack of consent means no time-barring can be applied.

Despite many of those who are eligible to claim having purchased their properties 15+ years ago, it was 2013 before the Supreme Court stated that ‘finishing’ a property means not just building it but also having all of the legal paperwork in place. And it wasn’t until 2016 that the court clarified that planning illegalities were a matter that fell under the purview of Law 57/68.

“There is clear case law to support the claiming of refunds of deposits paid on illegal properties and in some instances of mortgage repayments as well. The Spanish justice system can move slowly but this doesn’t mean that it is not worth pursuing a case. The return of a deposit, along with 15+ years’ worth of interest, can equate to a lump sum that feels well worth the wait.”

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

UK interest in Spanish second homes up 39%

UK interest in Spanish second homes up 39%

Spain ,
  • UK-based visitors to Taylor Wimpey España website up 39% in first week of January
  • Demand ranging from key-ready homes to brand new off-plan launches
  • Would-be buyers using virtual tours to view their dream homes during lockdown

Interest in Spanish second homes continues to grow, as British families while away the lockdown hours perusing their options online. Leading Spanish home builder Taylor Wimpey España, which has a selection of brand new, key-ready homes available for buyers to enjoy in 2021, has reported continued growth in both web visits and leads.

UK visitors to the company’s website increased by 39% during the first week of 2021, when compared to the first week of 2020. Interest from other European countries is also on the up, with web visitors from Germany up 51% and those from Belgium up by 44%. Domestic visitors have increased too, with website visits from Spain up 15% on the year before.

Leads, meanwhile, were up 30% for the first week of January 2021, compared to those a year earlier.

Unfortunately, both the UK and Germany are in lockdown right now, while Spain, France and a whole host of other countries have extensive restrictions in place. But that doesn’t mean that would-be buyers aren’t dreaming of owning a home in the sunshine. The appeal of Spain’s golf courses and expansive beaches is only emphasized by stay-at-home orders; families are itching to return to normality with a newfound zeal for travel and leisure time.”

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España

Taylor Wimpey España is delivering a range of properties, designed to suit a variety of tastes and budgets. The company has five new sites launching during the first half of 2021, as well as brand new, key-ready homes available in popular locations. Virtual tours of these have proven particularly popular. The tours are so thorough that some buyers have even bought during lockdown, without seeing the property in person.

Both mainland Spain and Mallorca continue to attract keen interest. The mixture of affordability and sunshine that the Costa Blanca delivers has long been a favourite with British buyers. At La Recoleta III, for example, key-ready apartments just metres from the sea are available from €180,000 plus VAT. The stunning location is complemented by garden areas, a generously sized pool and practical touches ranging from underground parking that is accessible by lift to handy storage rooms.

Mallorca, though unable to rival the Costa Blanca in terms of affordability, certainly gives it a run for its money in terms of stunning scenery, sporting facilities and local gastronomy, not to mention abundant sunshine. The island has been a key area of focus for Taylor Wimpey España for some time. Available properties range from stunning first line apartments – such as those at Blue Cove – to contemporary villas offering spacious living indoor and out at Las Villas de Dalt de Sa Rapita.

“We are delighted that interest in Spanish second homes has grown so considerably over the past year, despite the many challenges that the pandemic has delivered. Being able to travel freely and enjoy unrestricted second home ownership is going to feel so incredibly welcome after the events of 2020. By continuing to deliver thoughtfully designed homes in prized locations, we will ensure that there is no disruption on the supply side as demand increases over the course of 2021.”

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España

For more information please contact Taylor Wimpey España today on 08000 121 020 or visit https://www.taylorwimpeyspain.com/. If you reside outside of the UK you will need to call 00 34 971 706 972.

BREAKING NEWS! Spain allows British expats to apply for residency post-Brexit

BREAKING NEWS! Spain allows British expats to apply for residency post-Brexit

Spain
  • Brits who missed TIE residency document application deadline can still apply
  • CostaLuz Lawyers highlights positive implications of the decision
  • Those with family links in Spain may also be able to apply for residency

Brexit may be well and truly done, but British citizens residing in Spain who have yet to complete the necessary paperwork have just been thrown a lifeline by the Spanish authorities. The government has announced that those who can prove they lived in Spain prior to 31 December 2020 may still apply for residency there.

Immigration officials have been instructed to follow the same procedure as they did for those applying for residency before the December deadline, though with particular attention paid to documentation that proves the individuals’ residency pre-dated the end of 2020.

Keith Rule of pioneering law firm CostaLuz Lawyers comments:

“This is excellent news for UK citizens who, for whatever reason, have yet to make their residency in Spain official. They can now apply for the TIE residency document without fear of reprisals or penalties for having missed the 31 December 2020 deadline. The move is a key signal of the value that Spain places on its long-standing relationship with the UK and a positive indicator for post-Brexit relations.”

The Spanish guidance states that British citizens arriving in Spain as of 1 January 2021 can also apply for residency in certain situations, such as if they have a family link with a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement.

“All of this spells good news for a close relationship between Spain and the UK over the coming years,” continues CostaLuz Lawyers’ Keith Rule. “There are hundreds of thousands of British expats living in Spain, while some 18 million Brits spend their holidays here each year. Making it easier for residents to obtain the TIE, despite missing the deadline, should be well received by both expats here in Spain and policymakers back home in the UK.”

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

CostaLuz Lawyers wins millions for retirees who thought their money was gone for good

CostaLuz Lawyers wins millions for retirees who thought their money was gone for good

Spain
  • Spanish law firm has won nearly 500 cases for those who lost off-plan deposits
  • Total wins for property owners now exceed €25 million
  • Returned funds have given many retirees a significant boost

Losing tens of thousands of pounds can transform a dream retirement into a nightmare. Yet losing such sums became an all too familiar tale back in the mid-2000s, when the Spanish property market crashed. The global financial crisis meant that many second home buyers’ dreams of a sun-kissed retirement on the golf course or the beach instead turned into protracted legal battles.

For Brenda Wilkinson from Belfast, the dream was to buy a property overlooking the 18th hole at Sierra Golf in Murcia. Her husband was a keen golfer and the couple were looking for a holiday home that had the potential to serve as a retirement property.

Brenda paid £42,000 to Iberian International as a deposit but a visit to the site in 2008 to finalise the purchase revealed a poorly constructed home with an ‘underbuild’ that was full of mud. A neighbouring owner confided in Brenda that her own property was a mud-filled disaster.

Despite feeling pressured to sign the paperwork, Brenda refused, instead writing a list of complaints to the company. Nothing was done as a result of her complaints and, despite paying a solicitor, Brenda was unable to get her money back.

Brenda’s experience echoes that of John and Noleen Parkes, from Norfolk. Now in their mid-seventies, the couple paid €77,000 as a deposit on a property in La Marine, Alicante in February 2008, where they planned to live. When their developer failed to deliver, their lawyer informed them that there was no effective form of redress and that their money was lost.

Yet there was hope on the horizon. Brenda, who turns 64 this month, came across CostaLuz Lawyers, as did John and Noleen. The firm had grabbed property press headlines back in 2012 with a class action court victory over Finca Parcs, which saw almost €1.5 million in ‘lost’ deposits returned to Spanish second home buyers, many of them from the UK.

“We were delighted to act on behalf of Brenda and of John and Noleen, to try and win back their money and hopefully make a difference to their retirement plans. The Spanish justice system can move slowly but we were confident that both cases stood a good chance of successful outcomes, given the injustice of the claimants’ experiences.”

Keith Rule, www.costaluzlawyers.com

Both court cases, as expected, took several years to navigate the legal system. Brenda was delighted when, in June 2019, she received her full £42,000 deposit back. Additional payments awarded in October 2019 and August 2020 took that total up to over £50,000 including interest and costs.

In John and Noleen’s case, which has so far spent six years working its way through the Spanish legal system, CostaLuz Lawyers has already won back 75% of their deposit. A parallel court case is still being pursued and John and Noleen are confident that this separate and final case will also be brought to a successful conclusion.

“Many of our friends, whilst supportive, I suspect have quietly thought we were delusional in ever thinking we would recover our deposit. But we have done it. To say we are pleased and relieved is an understatement! We are very grateful and appreciative for the work CostaLuz Lawyers has done, and is continuing to do, on our behalf.”

John Parkes

While the deadline has now passed for those who lost off-plan deposits in the mid-2000s to initiate legal action, the CostaLuz Lawyers team remains busy with around 200 cases still in progress. The company is also working with those who have lost money in a range of other situations, from timeshares to mortgage prisoners trapped in negative equity for over a decade. In total, the company has won over €25 million for those who paid deposits on homes that were never finished or built, making a huge difference to many claimants’ retirement plans, often as much as a decade after they thought their money was gone for good.

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

Rising enquiries signal renewed confidence in Spanish second homes as dust settles on Brexit deal

Rising enquiries signal renewed confidence in Spanish second homes as dust settles on Brexit deal

Spain ,
  • Taylor Wimpey España reports 30% increase in leads
  • 2021 likely to see release of pent-up demand for second homes
  • Growth in home working leading to different ways of using holiday properties

As the dust settles on the UK’s last minute Brexit deal with the EU, it seems that Brits who have been keeping one eye on the potential of owning property in Spain are already swinging into action. Leading Spanish home builder Taylor Wimpey España has begun the new year with a flurry of enquiries from Britons interested in buying homes in Spain.

The firm has reported a 30% increase in leads in the first week of January 2021 when compared with the same period in 2020. In addition, website traffic from the UK is up 57% over the same timeframe.

And Brits aren’t only looking; just one working day into January, Taylor Wimpey España had already sold its first property of the year – to a British buyer.

While COVID remains at the forefront of many minds, the beginning of vaccination programmes across the globe means that there is room for cautious optimism for the travel industry as a whole over the course of 2021. As the world’s second most popular international tourism destination (based on World Bank data) this is particularly important for Spain.

Yet even without the added complication of COVID-19 thrown in, the UK’s departure from the EU was always going to impact the way that second homeowners use their holiday properties.

We’ve seen buyers changing their expectations about how and when they plan to use their second homes. The events of 2020 have accelerated the pace of those changes – and 2021 will likely do so further – but those shifts in usage had already begun. One key trend, for example, is that buyers are now looking to use their second homes to work from, as well as for leisure purposes.”

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España

The traditional two-week holiday is a thing of the past. The rise of freelancing and remote working had already opened many people’s eyes to the possibility of extended stays overseas, even before the pandemic. With more people now working remotely than ever, doing so for a couple of months somewhere sunny is much more realistic. Second home owners who may previously have used their home for a week or two here and there can now seriously consider alternating three months in the UK with two or three months in Spain.

Second home owner Philippe Codeville, for example, plans to spend four to five months of each year in his apartment at Grand View, at the Costa del Sol’s La Cala Golf Resort. With panoramic views of the golf course and the mountains of Mijas, plus an on-site communal pool and gardens, the sunny homes have proven popular with those looking to reconnect with nature and spend more time in the fresh air. For Philippe, the beauty of the location and the ability to be so close to the sea while still living somewhere calm were key factors behind his decision to buy at Grand View. Along with the chance to hone his golf skills, of course.

Immersing yourself into an area for months at a time rather than weeks provides a wholly different experience of it. This is what many second home owners in Spain are now seeking – a greater connection with the country and its culture. Fewer trips mean fewer flights, as well, which is an increasingly important consideration for families seeking to reduce their carbon footprint. All of this is contributing to longer stays.”

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España

For longer stays, the amenities available in the local area become more important. Grand View is an easy win in this respect. La Cala Resort delivers three 18-hole golf courses with Club House, Golf Academy and practice range, plus a hydrotherapy centre and spa, tennis courts, a running track, a gym with qualified trainers and a professional football pitch. The charming town of Mijas is just a few minutes’ drive away, while Marbella and Fuengirola meet the needs of even the most demanding of shoppers.

Just one key-ready property remains for sale at Grand View, priced at €314,000 plus VAT.

For more information please contact Taylor Wimpey España today on 08000 121 020 or visit https://www.taylorwimpeyspain.com/. If you reside outside of the UK you will need to call 00 34 971 706 972.

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

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

Spain
  • 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