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El blog de Maria

Your daily Spanish Law reporter. Have it with a cafe con leche.
www.costaluzlawyers.es

Legal tip 250. Legals on rentals. Part II. Period and extensions
30 March 2010

 

The contract period of a rental agreement can be freely established by the parties.

However, be aware that are are very important differences in the rules about contract extensions depending on the temporary or permanent use of the house.  Be careful because having an imposed  tenant in your house obligatorily for 5,8 years depends on that, or… on the other side, if you are a tenant and want to use the house as a permanent dwelling for your family, the permanent use of the house needs to be  reflected.

There are rules of automatic contract extensions imposed by Law which are applicable when you rent a house as permanent dwelling. These automatic extensions of the Urban Renting Act (URA) are not applicable to temporary lettings.

Permanent:  Automatic extensions for 5 years-3 years.

Temporary: NO automatic extensions.

Reiterated Case Law state that we are before this kind of lettings if the house is rented for vacations, weekends, feast days… and with no pretension of covering the need of a permanent residence of the tenant. Therefore, the temporary character of the use is the key to differentiate one from another.

Important to note that a 11 months rental contract can be a permanent contract ( with rights for extensions and permanency) if the contract mentions the permanent character of the use. On the other hand, a one year contract can be temporary. Be careful as there is a general misunderstanding that a 11 months rental contract is always temporary against a one year contract which is always permanent.

Have a good Easter break you all!

Maria L. de Castro

www.costaluzlawyers.es

Caños de Meca beach ( Cádiz) by CPGXK at Flickr.com




 



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Legel tip 249. Legals on rentals . Part I
29 March 2010

The property rental contract is a written agreement which basically needs to contain:

  • Identity data of both landlord and tenant
  • Description of the property
  • Renting time period
  • Permanent or temporary use of the house
  • Any other pertinent clauses

There is no legal prescription of any particular format or sort of document: any kind of written document is valid as far as the mutual agreement of the parties is enough as the “cause" of the renting rights.

There is an official form contract which is sold  at any tobacconists in Spain. The  rental contract can also be done before a Notary Public (on a public deed) in order to have it registered in  the Land Registry, this way your tenant/landlord position can be opposed against third parties. Not very frequent though.

The most common way is to write an ordinary private document on plain paper.

To be continued tomorrow with Part II: rental period

El Palmar ( Cadiz Province) beach by Sunnysilky at Flickr.com

 

 



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Legal tip 248. Arbitration and property rentals
26 March 2010

Every rental agreement can have a jurisdiction clause by which the parties expressly submitt the resolution of conflicts arising from the same to an specific Court. They can also submitt the contract life to arbitration. This has been our advise always.

If you want to read more on rentals, click here

According to the leading company in rental arbitrations in Spain, Arrenta, "20% of rental contracts have arbitration clauses to prevent and resolve conflicts between landlords and tenants, representing an increase of about seven points compared to the rate of last year, when it stood at 13%" . In addition,  Arrenta notes that this year one of  four leases agreement are submitted to arbitration rarther than Courts.

Good for tenants, landlords and good for Judges and Court officers too. Good for all.

This increase in arbitration clauses is attributed to the crisis, which has "triggered distrust of the owners." According to  Arrenta, "85% of homeowners fear not collect income or suffer damage in the house" so that they do not  risk to sign a lease unless there is additional coverage for their peace of mind. In addition to arbitration, contracts include guarantees for the cashing of rental debts and insurance against vandalism.

Arbitration is an alternative way ( we all love alternative ways here in Costaluz) to  the ordinary justice system whereby, in case of dispute between the rental parties, a third, neutral and impartial person will resolve the dispute with a decision which is mandatory, non-appealable and enforceable.

A final decision is obtained within a faster timeframe. This allows an average saving of six months compared to going to courts.

When you are renting with the aim of living in the house permanently, make special attention to sign a " contrato de arrendamiento de vivienda" regardless timeframes expressed in the contract.


Zahora ( Cadiz Province) beach by Basilievich at Flickr.com


 



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Business tip 11. A company for internet design, website ranking, strategies and the internet market.
25 March 2010

Experts in increasing sales via the internet..

 

“Spain is 5 years behind with regard to internet businesses” (Rodolfo Carpintier)

 

Carpintier is considered to be one of the leading figures of the internet in Spain and an authority in the field of internet businesses, following his role in setting up the first European internet provider (ISP) to obtain 50,000 paying clients.

 

The main obstacle for entrepreneurs is obtaining the initial finance to set up their business. 

 

Creating a web design business, specializing in web-site design and the subsequent research into their profitability for small and medium businesses involves issues such as web-site ranking and on-line advertising.   For this, the business must have at least one web designer and a professional in the field of web-site ranking, possibly the same person.

 

At the outset of the project we need to establish the client’s needs and with our previous experience in creating websites, this will help us to make our business effective, attractive and profitable for our clients.

 

Web pages have to be an accessory to the business, a tool which works positively for our clients and being a system in itself for capturing new business, for taking orders, for offering services etc.

 

We need to make sure our clients realize that by using our services to design their web page, they will receive an complete, independent, publicity and marketing tool. 

 

Being consultants in web design and website ranking, the study of existing web pages is another level from which we obtain information on the potential profitability of your web page or the improvements that can be introduced to maximize results. 

 

A clear example in Spain is the creation of websites for homeowners associations.  We are all well aware of how confusing and uncomfortable resident’s meetings and the subsequent decision making can be.  The tool we have devised can be used to make these meetings easier,  quicker and more effective. 

 

In the website designed by the company we set up, we can put a notice board for announcements of meetings and forums to deal with issues that affect the community. 

 

In setting up the business, for tax issues we will have to register it in group 845, “electronic operations on behalf of a third party”.  This grouping includes the provision of research services and procedure analysis for technical processing, programming for electrical equipment, data entering on computer input media, as well as the sale of programs, data processing on behalf of a third party and other independent data development and indexing.

 



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Legal tip 247. Polaris asks for an extension
23 March 2010

The developer Polaris World has requested a one month  extension  to the Mercantile Court number two in Murcia in order to finalize the negotiation of its debt, said yesterday a spokesman for the company just three months after the  preconcursal communication.

 

The reason lies in the conversations that Polaris has  with banks and creditors on the valuation of assets of the company for the coverage of  its debt, which stands at about 83 million.


"Polaris World has many assets to backcover this debt", the spokesman said,  via land, houses, hotels and golf courses. He added that the insolvency status will be avoided,which is the goal that has been marked by  Polaris, but that there is "a logical back and forth in such negotiations" and therefore there are all reasons to use this term that the Bankruptcy law provides. Thus, "we must wait until 22 April with the conviction that the agreement with creditors will be signed", the spokesman stressed.

Let´s hope the best for the company for the benefit of all creditors involved.



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Legal tip 246. Newest regulations on Consumers Protection II: deceptive and aggressive practices
23 March 2010

Acts of deception.

It is considered unfair  as deceptive  any conduct containing any false information or information which, although accurate, due to its content or presentation  can deceive or is likely to mislead recipients, being susceptible to alter their economic behavior

Misleading omissions.
 
It is considered unfair the omission or concealment of information which is necessary for the recipient to adopt or to take a decision of economic meaning with the proper knowledge of the facts. It is also unfair if the information provided is unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous, not offered at the right time, or not given to identify the commercial intent of this practice, when this is not apparent from the context.

Aggressive practices
 
 It is considered unfair that behavior that taking into account their characteristics and circumstances, is likely to diminish significantly, by harassment, coercion, including the use of force, or undue influence, the freedom of choice or conduct of the recipient in relation to a good or service and therefore affects or could affect their economic behavior.
 

Acts of comparison.
 
Public comparing, including comparative advertising, by explicitly or implicitly reference to a competitor is permitted if it meets the following requirements, among other ones:
-    The goods or services compared must have the same purpose
-    The comparison is done in an objective way
-    No goods or services may be presented as imitations or replicas of others that have a protected mark or trade.

Acts of imitation.

1.    Imitation of others´ benefits and business initiatives is free, unless they are covered by exclusive rights recognized by law.
2.  However, the imitation performance of a third party is deemed unfair where appropriate to generate the association by consumers regarding the provision or involves abuse of the reputation or the toil of others.

Part I of this serie of articles here

Maria L. de Castro



Chipiona ( Cádiz)  lighthouse by Eugenio R at Flickr.com



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Business tip 10. Companies within the Tánger-Med port
23 March 2010

Companies within the Tánger-Med port.

Maritime transport is responsible for shipping 85% of international trade and the largest concentration of commercial ports is in the Mediterranean.  The Straits of Gibraltar are a strategic gateway for international trade, reducing sailing time between the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean and South East Asia.  In this region there are five commercial ports: Algeciras, Ceuta, Gibraltar, Tangiers and Tánger-Med.

Tánger-Med port is a crossroad point for world maritime trade, situated at a strategic point for international business.  In the field of logistics, Tánger-Med acts as a network of road and rail infrastructures and as the intersection and transfer point for direct shipping lines.  

This super-port is made up of the following: two container terminals with an initial capacity of three and a half million containers, a hydrocarbon terminal  with a storage capacity of five million tons per year, a ro-ro terminal (roll on/roll off method for transporting wheeled cargo such as cars, trucks and trains), a bulk cargo terminal measuring four hundred linear meters and with fifteen hectares extension area, a Logistic Activity Zone (LAZ) and a passenger port with capacity for one million cars, seven hundred thousand trucks, twenty-five hectares of ro-ro  parking space, a passenger terminal and a railway station.

The importance of Tánger-Med port lies in the significant land, sea and air connections, the creation of additional service areas such as the LAZ, and substantial industrial parks and the presence of leading world businesses such as Maersk.

Due to its proximity to Europe, Tánger-Med will benefit from the flow of trade between north and south and will enable local industry to establish off-shoot businesses to support the shipping trade.

Once established as a stopping point on the Straits of Gibraltar, it will be able to offer a world-class service and will become an international reference point in the world of shipping-related services such as shipping repairs, supplies, provisioning, bunkering etc.

In its first twelve months of operation, the Moroccan port of Tangiers handled one million containers,  30% of that handled by the port on the Andalucian shore and its goal is to triple this amount.  

Maersk administers the first of the Tánger-Med terminals as well as another in Algeciras and when comparing hourly productivity of the two ports, the African port exceeds the Spanish port by 10%.

On land within the port area, a large industrial and logistic system is being created, an example of which is the Renault factory being built in Melloussa to manufacture up to 400.000 vehicles per year.  Linked with the Tánger-Med portal system, it will be able to take advantage of the ground-breaking logistical infrastructure being developed in the north of the country which will allow Nissan Renault to make use of one of the four main automobile industry centers of the Mediterranean region.

In addition, a new city is being constructed in between Tangiers and Tetuán to house the thousands of workers who will be brought into the area.

King Mohammed VI named the new city Chrafate (Beauty) and within 10 years time, it is predicted that it will be home to 150,000 people.

However, although the Spanish play practically no part in the port activities (with the exception of operating the tug boats), they play an active role in the Export Processing Zone where they have the second largest presence after the French.  There are also American companies there, such as Delphi, manufacturers of cables for cars which closed its plant in Cadiz to relocate to the African coast.

Morocco boasts numerous reasons for offering increased productivity.  Labour costs are reasonable, optimum tax conditions, accessible to markets in Europe, political stability etc.   An internal report from the EU reveals that “compared with Eastern Europe, the Moroccans have the upper hand.   Salaries in Eastern Europe are now relatively high, whilst Moroccan workers are young and extremely adaptable.  It is possible to recruit a high-calibre team of staff from amongst the numerous people who apply for jobs and there are no problems when it comes to staff training and productivity”.

The method of creating a business is practically the same as in any other European country.   Initial activities are done through the tax office which entitles the company to tax benefits depending on the nature of the business being established.  Enrolling the company to the social security system is done in the local governmental office, the national social security bank.

By Jesús Castro

www.costaluzlawyers.es



 



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Business tip 9. Ancestral research
22 March 2010

Ancestral Research.

In an effort to promote the study of history in all things related to ancestry, in particular the ancestry of British families and their links with other countries, particularly Spain, during the time of the Spanish empire, ancestral research is being carried out in Spanish archives, searching for British pioneers who emigrated from Spain to the Americas in the 16th to the 19th Centuries.    They are looking for the various blood lines which have affected the social, intellectual, moral and psychological make-up of the nations of the American continent.  Not only is this to satisfy historian’s curiosity, but it is also a way to preserve the memory of the founding fathers of various nationalities and to discover their names, their stories and the lives of those men who contributed to the history of the varying countries.

The main source of information in this research is the General Archive of the Indies (Archivo General de Indias) in Seville.  In these files are passenger lists to the Indies - the lists of the people who boarded boats travelling to the New World.  Included in these lists are the names, points of origin and destination and family details which are the key pieces of information for anyone researching  American ancestry as these people were the link with the British families in America who left Spain where they had been integrated for generations (since the 15th Century).

The documents which make up the files of today take up more than 9 kilometers of shelving.  There are around 43,000 dossiers including over 80 million pages and 8,000 maps and sketches which mainly originate from the municipal organizations which were in charge of the administration of the Spanish colonies.

The following are some examples, with the Spanish version of the names:

1767/05/05:       Passenger information and travel permit to the Indies for Cornelio Coppinger, from Ireland, travelling to Havana.

1723/06/29:       Passenger information and travel permit to the Indies for Nicolás Juan de Geynan, merchant from Cádiz, son of Tomás Geynan, of Ireland and Elena Gadding of Ireland, travelling to New Spain.  Also appears as Nicolás Juan de Gainan, Geinan, Guynan and Jeinan.

1786/04/04:       Passenger information and travel permit to the Indies for Brother Andrés Darcy, chaplain to the Hibernian Infantry, from Ireland, travelling to Havana.

1679/03/19:       File on the estate of Father Andrés Lince, Presbyterian, from Jalveo (sic Galway) in Ireland, son of Pedro Lince and Juliana Lince, residents of the same city, died in the village of Quezaltenango, bishop of Chiapa.  Heirs: the Irish School and Head of Studies of the San Pablo School of Seville.  Father Thomas Butler of the Society of Jesus and Brother Domingo Lince from the Santo Domingo Order claim the estate.

1756/11/19:       Passenger information and travel permit to the Indies for Enrique Hayden of Ireland, travelling to Havana.

1776/02/23:       Passenger information and travel permit to the Indies for Jaime O’Daly of Ireland, with Carlos Boon, negro slave from the island of San Eustaquio and Ignacio Sanz Albaro from Tortoles, son of Matías Sanz and Baltasara Alvaro, travelling to Puerto Rico.

1749/04/26:       Passenger information and travel permit to the Indies for Juan Galdon of Ireland, travelling to New Spain.

1787/06/20:       Passenger information and travel permit to the Indies for Francisca de Paula de Brikdale, wife of Bernardo Ologhlin, captain of the Hibernian Regiment based in Havana, with her child Juan Beard, of Ireland, travelling to Havana.

 1768/03/22:       Passenger information and travel permit to the Indies for Miguel Ofelán of Ireland, with his wife María Ana Darrooh of Lima, and their children José and Diego, travelling to Lima.

1723/06/30:       Passenger information and travel permit to the Indies for Pedro Bartololmé Cranesborg, trader from Morón de la Frontera and resident of Puerto Santa María, son of Lucas Cranesborg of Ireland and of Margarita Aylvardo, travelling to New Spain.

1770/01/10:       Passenger information and travel permit to the Indies for Tomás Shee, captain of the Irish Regiment and Corregidor (town councilor) in the province of Yauyós, travelling to Peru.

If anyone is interested on ancestral research regarding his family,you can contact us at web@costaluzlawyers.es as we can direct you towards an specialist on this.

 By Jesús Castro

www.costaluzlawyers.es

 



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Legal tip 245. Newest regulations on Consumers Protection I: proffessional diligence and good faith
22 March 2010

Consumers forces in Europe are pressing our national legislation to european, commun standards. Good!

A couple of abstracts of very recently passed Law 29/2009  which modifies Loyal Competency and Publicity regulations for a fuller protection of Consumers and Users:

In relations with consumers and users,  those conducts of a professional employer which are contrary to professional diligence, are deemed contrary to the requirements of good faith.

Proffessional diligence is the level of competence and care expected of an employer following the practices of a honest market. Are against good faith, those practises which distort or may significantly distort the economic behavior of the average consumer or the average member of the target group practice.

 Distorting the economic behavior of the average consumer means using a commercial practice to appreciably impair his ability to take a decision with full knowledge of the facts, thus making a decision on their economic behavior that would otherwise would not have taken.

 Commercial practices which can reasonably foresee the economic behavior of a clearly identifiable group of consumers or users particularly vulnerable to such practices and the good or service to which they relate, due to  filing a disability, have affected their ability to comprehend or  due to age or credulity, will be assessed from the perspective of the average member of that group.

 

Sanlúcar de Barrameda ( Cádiz) Beach by H. Sánchez at Flickr.com

 

 



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Business tip 8. Golf events organiser company: low expenses involved
19 March 2010

Forming a business for the organizing of  golf events.


With over three hundred golf courses, Spain is the first destination in Europe for the practitioners of this sport.

 
Business contacts related to Golf are very frequent  too. It is also a good channel to develop relationships with customers. The high education level of its practitioners and the average purchasing power of their followers, reveals the reason why many  large companies, join their names to the sport.

 
Organization of private tournaments tailored-made has become a good business idea. This activity entails:  sponsorship of golf tournaments at private clubs, organizing of competitions and business meetings,  golf courses at different levels, arrangements of private travels to various courses. These can also manage accommodation, transfers between golf courses, airports…

Taxes and Social Security requirements

1)    If the activity is developed by an individual person: the taxpayer must register and pay tax on the Group 854 "Experts in organization of congresses, assemblies and alike” and sign up  as a self-employed person.

2)    If the activity is developed by a company: the taxpayer must register and pay tax on the 989.2  "Services of organizing conferences, meetings and alike". In this case a Limited liability company needs to be formed.

By Jesús Castro

 

www.costaluzlawyers.es



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Business tip 7. Freelance English teacher in Spain: no VAT
19 March 2010

Classes should be taught by individuals not by companies. These is the legal treatment:


1 .- The teacher must sign up for the general treasury of social security in the autonomous regime.
2 .- The teacher needs to be registered for taxes under the Second Section (Professional Activities) within the Economic Activities Tax catalogue.
3.-  Tax treatment:

A) Provision  20 of the VAT Act establishes that these services are exempt from VAT provided they are not registered for taxes purposes as a company.

2) Income tax must be reported on the annual income tax


It requires the keeping of books about expenses, revenues, capital goods and amortization tables among others.

 

By Jesús Castro

www.costaluzlawyers.es

 



 



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Legal tip 244. Three key ideas on the European Enforcement Order
18 March 2010

Some of you may have heard of an European Regulation by which a debt in any of the State members is directly enforceable in your country, against your assets.

Well, let me specify to you some points regarding this order as it is not as aggressive as it seems. The main contribution of the order is its potential for the unifying of Case Law along the european territory.

Three key ideas to take into good account:

1) The claim needs to be uncontested

2) The European Regulation stablishes minimum standards with regard to the service of documents (the document instituting proceedings and, where applicable, the  summons to a court hearing) to ensure that the rights of the defence are respected. Only the document service methods listed in the Regulation are allowed if the judgment is to be certified as a European enforcement order.

3) The competent court in the enforcing Member State may, subject to certain conditions, refuse to enforce a judgment if it is irreconcilable with an earlier judgment given in any Member State or in a third country. In certain cases, it can also stay or limit enforcement.



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Legal tip 243. What is that of the European Judicial area?
17 March 2010

The Minister of Justice, Francisco Caamaño, stressed in  the opening the seminar "Brussels I: the reform of international litigation in Europe", held in Madrid, that the free movement of judgments and  public documents  on  goods, persons, services and capital is "an instrument of economic policy and a mean to advance on the creation of a European judicial area".

In his speech, the justice minister stressed that "the  fewer obstacles  there are in order to recognize and execute decisions in a Member State from another, the more citizens and companies will save. Similarly, he added that they are working on simplifying administrative burdens affecting the mutual recognition ".

 

 

 

 

Francisco Caamaño stressed that "this is the objective to be pursued, as it is recognized both by provision 81 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the Program of Stockholm, approved in December by Prime Ministers and Heads of State meeting at the European Council.

I will tell you more on the European Executive Title tomorrow.

Maria

Playa de Roche ( Cadiz)  by Bolorino at flickr.com

 



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Legal tip 242. Big claims in favour of consumers
15 March 2010

On " El Economista" today: 

On the occasion of  Consumer Rights World Day tomorrow, the main associations that bring consumers  together have asked that Consumers should not be the most damaged parties of the economic crisis, and  have called for improvements in services such as finance, telephony, electricity and gas.

The president of the Consumers Union of Spain (UCE), José Angel Oliva, has complained  that the behavior of firms that raise prices or reduce the quality with the excuse of the crisis is added the behaviour of public authorities, who, with the crisis as excuse,  put the interests of economic sectors or their own budgetary interests first  to those of citizens.

"Consumers are paying the crisis: we lose our homes, our work, we do not get credits and regulations that should protect us are used against us", according to Oliver.

Yes... a crazy, upside down understanding of Law and Economy. It happens when economy is only-benefit centered as it has been the case during the last decade or decade and a half.

A person-centered use of Law and Economy is needed. Who wants to come with us?

This is what we have been observing since the financial crisis started, particularly within the Off Plan Real Estate sector in Spain, our principal area of work: those who put deposits on off plan purchases have very low protection ( according to existing Case Law on Bankruptcy Act) if the developer enters into Insolvency:

In the avobementioned sense, our proposals and efforts so far have been the next ones, specially taking into account that, in many occassions, these deposits are a life-long amount of personal and family savings:

1) Off plan buyers have a most preferential credit: against the assets of the company; preferential to the most preferential insolvency credits, according to provision 84.2.6 of the Bankruptcy Act.

2) Banks which prove to have omitted diligence care when securing on the existence of Bank Guarantees according to Law 57/68 are liable for the refund of deposit, legal interests and legal costs accorcing to Provision 1.2 of Law 57/68.

And we are keeping the battle up!

Hierbabuena beach in Barbate ( Cadiz) by Denegro at Flickr.com

 



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Legal tip 241. Buying a resale property. Part II
10 March 2010

and.... the rest of the article ( If you want to see part I, click on here 

6) Charges on the house:  It is very important to verify which charges exist on the house, and check out if it is free of charges, loans and encumbrances.  In order to check that out, again, the most useful instrument is a Nota Simple.

The mortgage can be fully paid before the transaction and be cancelled by the owner or  the buyer will have to subrogate that mortgage, which means that he will have to accept it and become the debtor of the remaining debt against the Bank which has granted the mortgage.  It is necessary then to know on interests’ rates, recovery time, and commissions and of course the amount still owed. It will be convenient to ask in the bank as the Nota simple doesn’t reflect all these details.


7)  Community of owners fees. If it is a resale house, you need to have information on the situation of the house regarding payments to the Community of Owners. Ask it to the Property Manager/ Administrator or the President of the Community, get  copies of the Statutes  and  internal rules of the building too.

8) Price, deposit and payment method:  The contract will specify the price of the house and the payment method. There is no VAT to be paid on resales. You will have to pay the Transfer Tax which is of 7% of the property price.

9)  There are certain kinds of houses which have official value, the Treasurey Department of the Autonomous Community has this information, check the Nota Simple to see that your house is not VPO.

10) Public deed signing date: Very important to have a determined and clear date for signing the Public deed before a Notary,  and if  time extensions are agreed, these need  to be  clearly communicated and agreed between the parties.

11)  Related expenses:  Need to be mentioned  and how-who will pay them:  

Plusvalía (a tax over the value rise of the property from one to the next transmisión)
Notary Deed.
Registration in Land Registry.
Transfer taxes
 
If nothing is specifically mentioned or if it is agreed that expenses will be paid “according to Law” , the seller will pay Plusvalía, and most of the Notary Deed and the buyer will pay the copies of the Notary deeds, the registration of the Property in the Land Registry and the transfer tax. 
 
 
12)  Choosing a Notary: The buyer has a right to free election of Notary.

13)  The private contrat is sufficient to link the two parties  to what is agreed in the contract clauses but it is not sufficient in order to register the property in the Land Registry or to ask for a mortgage. You need a  Notary public deed for these two.
I will write on Notary deeds in a future article.

14)  Cancellation clauses and penalties for delay (equilibrium) .It is convenient to put the parties in balanced conditions in the event of cancellation of the contract and establish equivalent compensation for these cases of cancellation.

15) Agreement on juristiction  or  submission to arbitration. 
 

Chipiona beach ( Cadiz, Costa de la Luz, Spain)  by Werkmens at Flickr.com



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Business tip 6. How to set a rural bed and breakfast in Spain
09 March 2010

 

 

Transforming a house in a rural tourism house.

Rural tourism is a consolidated activity in Spain. A Bed and Breakfast Rural house, is a sort of hostel in a typical village and family atmosphere that welcomes tourists and provides accommodation at convenient prices.

 The work required to enable a building to serve a a rural tourism accommodation is simple, if the house is in good conditions.The administrative formalities are reduced to the submission of certain documentation at City Hall and in the Tourism department of the corresponding autonomous region.

 However, before opening a rural tourism business, a number of matters need to be addressed:

 1.- Financial and economic study on the rehabilitation of the property.
 2.- The seasonal character of the business, which causes the occupation is not constant, but focused mainly on short holiday periods like Easter, Christmas and certain long weekends (puentes).
 3.- Not  every rural house can be used as a rural tourism house . Along with the requirements of each Autonomous Community themselves,  it is important to take into account environmental conditions, the contiguity of natural parks, winter resorts, coastal areas....
 4.-Cultural attractions, or access to activities of active tourism, can help to achieve a more lasting occupation during the year and  are critical to the profitability of the business.

 In general terms, with differences due to regional laws, a tourism rural house must have:

 1.- Running water.

 2.- Electricity, either by traditional or alternative ways whish secure the adequate supply of electricity, meeting the security measures required by REBT (Low Voltage Electrotechnical Regulations).
 
 3.- One bathroom for every five seats.

 4.- Medicine cabinet
 
 5.- Heating for bedrooms and bathroom.

 6.- Dining room

 7.- Lounge for guests use

 8.- A fire extinguisher on each floor.

Bedrooms can be single, double or triple, they must have enough room to ensure guests' comfort. The bathroom needs to at least be equipped with  water seal toilet, sink and shower or bath. The house needs to have good lighting and direct ventilation to the outside or an uncovered patio  and have a decor in keeping with the surroundings. It will at least have a living-room with adequate furniture and a kitchen with stove, refrigerator and washing machine.

It is generally located in a small town, of  usually less than three thousand inhabitants or in an undeveloped area of larger municipalities.The architecture of the house must respect the characteristics of traditional architecture of the region. It will be convenient that the house is open a minimum number of months a year, usually nine. July, August and September are communly mandatory.

Tourist services for the exclusive use of guests can be offered and also the gastronomy if you chose to have it, must respect the peculiarities of the area.

One of the major drawbacks of rural tourism in Spain, is the lack of control over the lodgings. This causes the existence of illegal establishments that do not meet the required conditions and worsen the image of this type of tourism.
 
By Jesús Castro
www.costaluzlawyers.es

 



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Legal tip 240. New measure to protect british in Spain. Important!
08 March 2010

The consulate will monitor the Planning interests of British in Andalucía and Valencia

The autonomous communities of Andalusia and Valencia will have a British consular official in Malaga and Alicante, which will be devoted to inform and warn citizens of the United Kingdom on the various issues that may affect them, mainly in urban affairs, as it has been announced by the Secretary of State for Regional Cooperation, Gaspar Zarrías.

Zarrías, together with the counselor of Housing and Planning of the Government of Andalusia, Juan Espadas, met on Sunday at the British Consulate in Malaga with British Minister for Europe, Chris Bryant, and the British Ambassador in Spain,
Giles Paxman.

Secretary of State Zarrias reported that some months ago he had several meetings with British representatives in order to implement procedures for collaboration and cooperation between both countries as there are a million of UK citizens living in Spain.

The agreement will be effective, he said, within a month, and will allow an officer to be present at the Consulate in Malaga and Alicante so that the British people can know and have information about urban issues, health or
social welfare, among others.

"We intend to work preventively to provide information as once the problem gets into the judicial machinery, solutions are more complicated “he said, referring to the status of eight British families living in the town of Albox, Almeria, which are affected by court orders for the demolition of their homes.

At this point, the British Minister for Europe, questioned on the legal safety of Spain, said that if the homes "fall for legal reasons, it does not help," hence, he continued, the importance of this measure.

"It is better to seek a solution before it gets to court and although in the case of Albox,  they hired the services of a Spanish lawyer, they are still threatened by demolition-judgments and that seems  unfair to many Englishmen," he said.

 

 
Both Zarrías and Espadas stressed that legal certainty in Spain is "total and absolute." “British know that the rule of law works here, law exists and everything is done according to law," declared Secretary of State for Regional Cooperation, who reiterated that the launch of this service is precisely to provide information
"before trouble producing actions are carried out”

 

 

 

 Conil beach by Victor Kaposi at Flickr.com

 



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Legal tip 239. Buying a resale property. Part I
08 March 2010

We wrote the original version of this article a long time ago ( someone even copied it entirely and published it under his name in a paper magazine in Costa Blanca... what a face!). I need to admitt it was not that good then! :)

We have made some addendums now and are offering to you a new, updated, more complete version of it. As sales seem to be slowly happening again, thought it would be interesting writing..... and reading :): 

Some aspects of the private sales contract to be carefully checked out:

1) If you don’t master Spanish sufficiently, ask the owner to provide translation of the contract or look for a translator yourself and pay these services 50-50. Need to add that the most advisable tip is to have a bilingual lawyer in charge of your purchase of course.

2) Date and place of contract.

3) Check who is signing on behalf of the selling party: It is imperative to obtain a Land Registry “Nota Simple”  of the property to check the current owners and any speciality involved in the ownership. There is an English version of this service at: www.registradores.org).

  • If the transaction is between two individual parties, the document must be signed by all the registry owners, themselves or through sufficient proxies.
  • If a house is part of the marital community, the document must be signed by both husband and wife. The character of the good ( either if commun or privative) is mentioned in the Nota Simple.
  • If the seller gives power of attorney to another person to sign the private contract, the authorised person will have to present the authorised notary copy, it means. The power of attorney must grant enough power for the sale, so it is very important to check, by reading the power of attorney deed, that the authorised person can sign the sale (these mentions are among the faculties stated in the deed).
  • If the seller are the heirs of the Land Registry owner, it is necessary to check on the probate documents together with the sales one themselves.  They will have to adjudicate the Inheritance before you signing the final Notary deed for the transmission of ownership. 

In al the cases where the sellers are not the registral holders of full ownership on the property, it is advisable either to

(a) Wait for the Land Registry changes to be produced and have contract sellers  coinciding with  Registry owners

or

(b) Place a cancellation condition clause by which if the contract sellers can not finally register their rights, the purchase will be cancelled with devolution of principal plus legal interests.

If you can wait, I would better advise you to to do as (a)

4) If the hosue was rebuilt or renewed make sure this was done with the required Work License from the Town Hall and that the “ Decalaracion de Obra Nueva” has been made before a Notary and duly registered in the Land Registry. Again, ask for a Nota Simple to do so.  Catastro´s descriptive and graphic note is also needed here to see how the Land Registry description of the house is equivalent to Catastro´s and to reality. If Catasro or reality and Land Registry do not match, there are some Registry procedures needed and it would be advisable to have them paid by the seller.

5) If you are buying a country house, check on water, phone and electricity providers. If a well is part of the contract, be sure that it has been legalised. If there is a river passing by, be sure that you have irrigation rights properly registered in the corresponding Confederacion hidrografica.

( to be continued, probably tomorrow)

By Maria L. de Castro

www.costaluzlawyers.es

Chiclana ( Cadiz) By Sidi Guariach at Flickr.com



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Legal tip 238. Please help us! This is serious !
05 March 2010


It is always very important to know why a worker loses the passion for his work: its achievement, its improvement. Why new ideas and reforms are not carried out as natural part of the work process.

This same test needs to be made regarding the judiciary, as so much depends on the way they are eager to develop or not their work.

And Judges lacks passion, they are apathetic in Spain. You all know, we lawyers check it every day in Courts.

Apathetic Judges drive to lack of Justice and to huge detrimental effects to commun citizenship. One of the both most basic rights and important public services seem to be a joke sometimes.

It is not just a matter of lack of organisation or laziness, it is an structural problem the Government needs to take seriously and that Europe can of course press to achieve. Please help us! This is serious. 

There are alredy many Judges pro-actively working for this situation to be solved. If you have interest, these below are the main goals that more than 1000 judges associated in Spain are working for: Let´s offer a hand to them for the benefit of all:

1). Democratic election of all the organs of internal governance of the judiciary


2). Maintenance held by judges of their strictly judicial functions.


3). Developing a new body of Judges according to the European average of 20 judges/100.000 inhabitants.


4). Investing in justice according to the European average of 3.5% of
budget,
rather than 1% today, and whose goal will be achieved gradually over a
maximum of five years.


5).Immediate  achievement for the judges of a human workload.

 
6) New legal status that  will ensure:  personal and family life, social dignity and
equal rights and benefits with the other members of the
civil service, the enjoyment of an effective plan for preventing occupational risks
and professional contingencies and, so particularly the substantial improvement of  their current retirement conditions.


7). Economic independence.

By Maria L. de Castro

www.costaluzlawyers.es

  Conil Beach ( Cadiz province) December by J y L at Flickr.com



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Legal tip 237. SPANISH SUPREM COURT BEATS BANKS
03 March 2010

Thirteen standard clauses provided for various contracts between banks and savings banks and customers using its services relating to loans, savings, current account deposits, credits, debit and credit cards have been declared  null and void by the Supreme Court Decision 792/2009:

The decision affects the following clauses:

1.- Those which prevent consumers to know what fees he will be charged.
2.- Those which force the consumer to bring proceedings in courts other than those corresponding in function of their domicile or other  accorded  by law.
3.- Those which force the user to bear all expenses involving a judicial process, ie both their bills as those of the barrister and solicitor of the bank, whatever the result.
4.- Those which shift the responsibility to the consumer in case someone forges a check and cash it.
5.- Those which allow the bank or saving bank to escape responsibility for the malfunction of an ATM, although the receipt indicates that the transaction has been executed.
6.- Those which reserve to the Bank the possibility of terminating a contract of mortgage loan for any reason.
7.- Those which enable the Bank to collect  a mortgage loan if its registration is refused when the refusal is the entity´s fault. 
8.- Those which free the institution from responsibility for damage caused due to transmission failures during an online operation.
9.- Those which allows the Bank to  compensate a debt  for any account holder, but the outstanding debt is only of one of the co-holders.
10.- Those which allows the bank to be exempt from any responsibility for the economic damage suffered in the time interval between the loss or theft of the card or savings account and the reporting by the affected party. In this regard, the Supreme Court reasoned that the exclusion of liability in all cases by the bank is "disproportionate and excessive." He keeps saying that it is equally unfair to exclude the Bank from liability when there is a misuse of the personal identification number by limiting  liability to cases of force majeure or coercion. Noted that "it is well known that in certain circumstances, banks can warn misuses using the diligence that is due them in harmony with their expertise and  technical equipment."
11.- Those which leave the bank to early terminate a loan due to the borrower's assets decline.
12.- Those which prohibit the sale of a mortgaged property. 
13.- Those which free the bank or saving bank to communicate credit transfer to third parties.
 
 
Cullera, Valencia, Spain by publikaccion at Flickr.com
 
 
 
 


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Management tip 2. Promoting Confidence
02 March 2010

Not yet...I am not disclosing here the secrets of our management style... we will... but not now. Very soon.

I just wanted to communicate today two reasons for hope:

1. - One comes from the Government:

 The Official credit Institute will lend up to 200.000 € to small and medium companies (SME). The Institute will work similarly to a Private bank. Banks and Financial entities will just play the role as marketers of the product. Market will rule the granting of the same.
  
2. - The other one comes from us: civil society:   

http://fundacionconfianza.es/

 Confidence Foundation ( Fundación Confianza) aims to launch a project that promotes values in society,  to act as levers for the recovery of confidence disappeared with the crisis. We want to be one of the engines to return to society the illusion, the pride and the credibility. All this through activities that will highlight entrepreneurship and personal development as a model in building the collective success.


They want to achieve a change in the general attitude of the population to tackling the crisis. Confidence foundation does not deny the reality of the economic situation, but also argues that the effort, ingenuity and talent are qualities widespread among the Spanish people. We know that the sum of these qualities is what allows us to face great challenges (as we have done in the past) and everyone's attitude will be essential to reverse the situation facing the country today.

Any of you, English speaking residents in Spain want to take part in the project? I can forward your ideas, examples, testimonies to Fundacion Confianza.


 

 



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Business tip 5. How to set a property management company in Spain
02 March 2010

The services of the property management company or multiservice company  for communities include an extensive menu of professional services such as access controls, security guards to prevent theft and vandalism and exercising control over postman visits and carriers, counseling to address the neighbors, professional gardeners, full service for pool cleaning and maintenance throughout the year, maintenance and keeping of facilities, repair of large and small faults both in individual and communal areas.

All services must be performed by skilled professionals and executed in a short space of time.

Please note before beginning the project:

1) Administrative procedures. (At least before two authorities: local and national)
2) Initial assessments.
3) Feasibility of the project.
4) Marketing and publicizing the company: Internet, magazines, specialized guides, associations.
5) Minimum Insurances Required

Regardless the billing of each customer service is carried out directly by providers, the consulting company, in accordance with applicable Law, needs to coordinate the management of the resources for the effective execution of the same.  

The activities to be declared before the Tax Man would be the following ones:  

- Surveillance and security of buildings.

- Messaging

- Cleaning

- Management of Audiovisual for meetings.

- Recruitment of receptionists and telephone operators.

- Maintenance of technical installations.



We may choose between:

- Paying taxes by the 849.8: Multi intensive staff. In this case all the services need to be provided by just one taxable person

Or

- Paying taxes for each and every one of the activities actually performed. Each of those activities is classified for taxes purposes under a different chapter:

As examples:

-Chapter 849. 4: Monitoring and building security.

-Chapter 849.5:  Messaging.

-Chapter 922:    Clean.

-Chapter 849.2:  Audiovisual management.

-Chapter 849.6:  Recruitment and telephone receptionists.

-Chapter 849.9:  Maintenance and upkeep of technical facilities.


By Jesus Castro

www.costaluzlawyers.es

 

 

 

Zahara Dreams by Maricruz Suarez at Flickr.com




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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