Newsletter February 2016

to the February Newsletter, this year I hope to be able to provide clients with more information about any new laws or changes which I hope you will find helpful and informative.

I also have a very exciting development.  I will be working in collaboration with an amazing website which was set up in 2004.  The website not only gives Malaga flight details but is a one stop shop for all kinds of information for residents and non residents in Spain.  A quick look at their facebook page gives all their information.  I will be providing assistance and articles on their page for all insurance related issues.   Please log on and like their page!!

Holiday Rental Laws
 There has been much talk over the last few months with regards to holiday Rental Laws in Spain.  Almost every Autonomous Community in Spain has ruled on what is known as ‘viviendas de uso turístico‘ or private holiday rentals. These are laws which seek to regulate short-term touristic lets from private individuals and bring them in line with minimum (hotel) lodging standards. A touristic let is generally defined by two elements:
• A dwelling that is offered on a short-term rent to tourists employing the media (internet, newspapers, magazines, travel agencies etc.). There is great diversity in the offered lodging and may range from a letting a whole detached villa in a luxurious seaside resort to renting a single room in a Bed & Breakfast.  

Excluded Properties
In general, properties that meet the following criteria would be excluded from regulation:-
• Property that is rented to friends/family without any compensation (monetary or otherwise).
• Property that is let to the same person/s for a period that exceeds three months in a year.
• Rural property which falls under its own regulation.
• Landlords who own three or more properties in the same development or ‘urbanización’ fall under a different regulation:  
• No more than fifteen people can live in the same property.

Touristic lets are generally obliged to meet the following criteria which by no means is a closed list (I only highlight the main ones). For an accurate list you should check the touristic rental law of the Autonomous Community where your property is located.
 • Full compliance with planning, health and safety, security and disabled access amongst other laws; both at a national and regional level.
• Rooms must be ventilated and have blinds or shutters.
• Free internet service available in every room.
• Air conditioning unit in every room (as a fixed fixture, not a portable device).
• When properties are let during the winter season (October through to April) a heater must be made available in every room that is let (as a fixed fixture, not a portable device).
• First aid kit and fire extinguisher.
• Cleaning service at the start of new lodgings.
• Rooms must have adequate furniture.
Adequate home insurance in place as rented accommodation
• Complaints book.
• Touristic guides, maps of the surroundings (books).

My advice is that landlords would do well to seek tailored legal advice and determine if their property complies fully with all laws. Failure to comply may lead to stiff fines. Fines range from hundreds to over a dozen thousand pounds
E.g. landlord has not applied for a touristic letting licence from his town hall or the property is unregistered at the special register for touristic properties.
E.g. landlord is reported because he does not have a ramp built for disabled access.
E.g. landlord does not have a wi-fi connection set up.
E.g. landlord has not attained a Licence of First Occupation from local planning authorities
This is not a full list but a summary of the requirements necessary to abide by the law, each  community/town hall may have slightly different legislation in place so if you do rent out your property it is best to check local laws.

Insurance for Rental Properties
Many clients do not realise that it is also against the law to rent out a property and not have adequate home insurance.  We hear horror stories frequently from clients that have had their properties vandalised by tenants, items stolen and also rent not being paid.  What can you do if this happens to you?   We cannot offer reimbursement of rental income in Spain but what we can offer is peace of mind with a policy specifically set up as a rental property including landlords insurance so that in the event something happens you have access to free legal advice and cover to evict the tenants swiftly, to sue for reimbursement of costs or replacement of goods and assistance in the repair and cleaning of the property.  It is also important to cover yourself as the Landlord with liability cover should a tenant decide to sue you.  You only need to cover the buildings and contents that belong to you.  Personal furnishings and effects that belong to the renter must be covered by themselves under a separate policy.

Fitting the correct  car seat is a very important facter when considering the safety of your child.   Lets look at the regulations and the law here in Spain concerning What type of car seat should be fitted for babies and children of what age group.

Firstly, as in most other countries in the EU, the term ‘children’ is taken to mean those under 12 years of age, and those who may be older who are less than 135cms tall.
There are basically 4 different styles of safety device used in motor vehicles :

1.) Forward facing car seats
2.) Rear facing car seats
3.) Booster seats
4.) Seat belts

Age : up to 18 months / Approx weight : up to 13 kg
Fitted facing away from the direction of travel for maximum support and safety in the event of an accident, and secured by straps over each shoulder, leg and fastening between the legs. Often classified by the manufacturers as “Group 0” or “Group 0+”

A baby seat should never be fitted on a front passenger seat when the car has an airbag activated.

Age : 18 months to 4 years / Approx weight : between 9 – 18 kg
Similar fixing to the above seat, but forward facing. Classified by the manufacturers as “Group 1”. Should only be fitted in the rear seats that are directly behind one of the front seats - IE Not in the middle.

Age : 3 to 12 Years / Approx weight : between 15 – 36 Kg
When the child has outgrown a Group 0 or Group 1 seat, but is still too small to safely use the fitted seatbelt then a Group 2 seat, Which is essentially a seat that lies on top of the fitted car seat with a supportive base, back and head and utilises the cars standard seatbelt through a position locator, could be the answer. For slightly larger children, a Group 3 seat is a booster cushion that elevates the height of the child to enable them to safely use the standard seatbelt.

Age : Over 12 years / Over 135 cms tall
The child should only ever use the car’s fitted seatbelt when it can pass over the shoulder joint and not touch the neck. If not they should remain with the Group 3 Booster cushion. No child under the age of 12 should be permitted to sit in the front passenger seat.
The only exceptions to these regulations are when a child is travelling a short journey in a taxi and in an urban area.

What are the legal penalties ?
As the driver of a vehicle, you are legally responsible to ensure that any child passenger is using the appropriate safety device for their size and/or age. Any driver who is found to be in breach of these requirements could face a significant fine and a deduction of 3 points.

Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) has proposed changes to the General Traffic Regulations, which will allow Mopeds & Motorcycles to travel on the hard shoulder when traffic is stationery, providing that the speed is kept below 30km and the driver exercises extreme caution.

Further proposals will permit Mopeds & Motorcycles bicycles to weave across lanes and between other road vehicles to reach the front of a queue at traffic lights or an intersection - again, on the condition that this is done with "extreme caution".

Although both have been common practice in Spain, this is first time that they look set to become legally permitted as part of the general traffic regulations, which will also be renamed as the "General Regulation of Urban and Interurban Traffic", will contain a detailed section specifically for motorcycles, mopeds and bicycles.

Notable other proposals allow riders to move around the centre of the road with a maximum speed of 50 kilometers per hour, and for bicycles to overtake other vehicles on either side.
It also suggests that bicycles can be ridden on pavements more than three meters wide (providing the density of pedestrians allows this, and with priority given to pedestrians) and when a minimum distance of one meter can be kept between buildings.

It is also proposed that Taxis be allowed to transport children without the requirement for providing special Car Seats, in urban areas of large cities.

Funeral Plans
Having had several enquiries over the last few months with regards to Funeral Plans I have now taken on board Golden Leaves as our preferred provider.  Living in another country one is never really prepared is something happens to a loved one.  Many clients take out life cover and others pay an annual payment, however nothing can prepare us when something dies.  Golden Leaves speaks our language and one phone call deals with everything.

Funeral insurance V funeral plans which is the best for you.
Funeral planning is important here in Spain as the process is very different from the UK. The funeral director has to be paid on the day of the funeral.

Funeral Insurance....this is paid until the insured passes away. The monthly payment normally increases with age and this means you could pay for your own funeral several times over. Normally insurance would be with a Spanish company and in my experience, they have very few English speaking staff to deal with the claim or contact at the time of need, but some do exist.

Funeral Plans.....Pre-planning and pre-paying at today's prices means you can choose the funeral you want yourself and the director's fee is pre- paid, no matter how prices rise in the future. There is no medical or age restrictions. An English speaking person only a phone call away 365 days a year 24/7.

Taking out a pre-paid funeral plan more importantly protects your family and spares the emotional and financial burden of organising your funeral, with all the decisions and problems this can entail, at a time when they can least cope.

Thinking about purchasing a pre-paid plan can be an uncomfortable thing to do. But pre-planning your funeral is actually a thoughtful and responsible way to show that you care for your family and friends.  If you would like more information about the Golden Leaves Funeral Plans please contact us.

Whatever your needs, whatever your budget, whatever we can help with EU Insurance is here for you to provide peace of mind.
From cars to home (all risks available), commercial through to liability , life cover, pet insurance, health, travel, savings, pensions, contact us for more information:
0034 952830843/676098464

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