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Finding solutions for the expat community

Hi, I’m Patrick Vine. I have been living and working in Spain most of the time since 1980. I’ve seen a few changes over the years and learnt a lot about living in Spain; I have fallen into a few pitfalls and have avoided a few. I am married to my fantastic wife Inés and we have 3 children.
On these pages I hope to bring a cheep if not free solutions the expat community living in the Vega Baja area of Alicante. Many of the solutions will be applicable to other areas of Spain but please feel free to check what I post and send me an email if you have learnt something that could be of use to expats living in Spain.
I will be dealing with many subjects, illegally built properties, registering your property with the rates office (pools outhouses, villas etc), how to change your car number plates to Spanish plates, how to apply of free legal assistance, and many more. I am not a lawyer nor do I pretend to do a lawyers job, I do enjoy finding ways of getting a job done with the least amount of cost possible. I know that many people have paid large fees to professional services to get very simple paperwork processed which could have been by them-selves free of charge.

Energy Performance Certificate (CEE).
17 June 2013

Energy performance certificates from 140€ apartments & 180€ for villas/town houses.

The spanish government recently passed a bill that will require all existing homes in Spain that are for sale or rent to have an “energy performance certificate” from the 1st of June 2013. Once the new regulations have come into force in Spain all homeowners who want to sell or lease their property must make this “energy performance certificate” available to the prospective buyer and/or tenant.
The owner of the home, building, or business premises will be responsible for obtaining and paying for the certificate, which they will need in order to sell or lease their home. In addition to the certificate, each home will also receive a series of recommendations to improve the energy performance of the home and enable it to go up at least one level in the energy efficiency scale.
Expat Solutions has a team of qualified & experienced domestic and commercial EPC Engineers/Architects & technitions who will provide a fully registered and approved EPC – energy performance certificate.
We provide a fast, personal and simple way of obtaining the EPC (energy performance certificate). Just contact me to arrange a convenient day and time.

The BOE (Oficial State Publication) cin be found here:-

This is the law published by the government dictating the conditions to be adhered to.

What is an energy certificate? It is a report that describes how efficient a home is in terms of energy consumption. It assigns an energy rating to each home on a scale which ranges from “A” (the most efficient) to “G” (the least efficient). In most cases properties in Spain will be graded between E & G becuase of the type of building materials used and lack of insulation.

  • Who can issue an energy efficiency certificate? Just Qualified Engineers registered in colledge of Spanish Engineers/architects(Arquitecto Tecnico, Ingeniero or an Ingeniero Tecnico Colegiado).
  • Will the technician need to visit the property? Yes. They have to visit the property to take measurements and collect information about the property before drawing up and certifying the report.
  • How much is the EPC certificate? Depending on the size and type of your property bit aproximatly between 140€ for a apartment  & 180€ for a town house/villa.
  • Who needs an EPC certificate?All properties that are being sold or rented out (even short term rentals).
  • How long is the energy certificate valid for? The certificate is valid for 10 years. This means owners will not have to obtain a new certificate during this period unless they renovate or change the property in any way.
  • Can I obtain an EPC before the 1st of June? Yes, however it will not be obligatory until the 1st of June, if your home is on the market to be sold then it is best to have it provided as soon as you can as to prevent any extra stress at the time of the sale.
  • Will I be fined if i do not have an EPC? It has been published that the government will fine all properties listed for sale or rent that do not have an EPC. According to the consumers & users defence law (Real Decreto Legislativo 1/2007, 16th of november) it will be considered a material infraction.
  • Will a low rating affect the sale of my home? Can I sell it without any problems? You are free to sell your home. The only way it will affect a sale is how the rating influences the buyer.
  • If I want to sell my home and it has a poor energy rating, such as D, E or F, am I obliged to make any improvements? No, you are not obliged to make any improvements even if your property has a low rating. With ther certificate there is added some advice on how to improve the rating.

Excluded buildings

Monumental officially protected buildings and special architectural or historic properties where compliance with the requirements would unacceptably alter their characteristics and appearance. Churches & places of worship and for religious activities; temporary buildings with a limmited time of use of two years or less. Industrial warehouses, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings with low energy demand and nonresidential agricultural buildings which are in use by a sector covered by a national sectoral agreement on energy performance; residentialpropertieswhich were built with the intention to be used less than four months of the year and stand-alone buildings (casitas or farmers tool houses) with a total floor area of less than 50 m2.

If you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me by email ( or phone me on 617354758.

Like 0        Published at 22:51   Comments (0)

How to register extensions, pools, garages etc, with the Rates office.
02 September 2011

If your pool, extension or house does not appear on your rates bill what should you do?
This is a simple process to register your property at the rates office. Recently I have had a number of people ask me about doing this and the steps are as follows:-
1. Appoint an engineer, architect to draw up plans of the property including the extensions. The plans will show the property, extension, pool or garage on your plot, the plot in relation to other plots in the area. The engineer needs to be registered with the school of engineers in Spain, or if an architect then it is important that he is registered with the Spanish school of architects. A British registered architect is not recognised in Spain. If you draw your own plans to be presented they will not be accepted by the Spanish rates office. The cost of this service should not exceed 400€. The rates office may require an antiquity certificate from the technician which certifies that the extensions are more than four years old and are exempt from any fine for illegally building without the appropriate licences. This piece of paperwork is also very helpful if you require the extension, pool outhouse or garage included on your deeds. The price of this certificate is now  included in the price as of 2nd of may 2011. (It was 150€ before).
2. Take the plans with a the original deeds (escritura) copy of your passport & or residencia, utility bills, photos of the property & last rates bill to the Suma office with a filled in 902N form & the rates office will send these to the Catastro office. You can download this form here.
You will get a copy of the application form from the Suma office with a tracking number so you can follow the progress of your petition.
(If you later wish to have the extensions added to your deeds then this paperwork will be useful).
This process will take a year before the property, extensions etc. are registered and then you will have to pay the rates for the extensions etc. for the last 4 years.
If you do nothing about your unregistered property then you will get a letter from the Tax office or Catastro asking you to put your property in order so they can charge you the proper rates. Then you will need to do the above process quite soon.
If you do nothing once the tax office or Catastro office has written to you then you will face fine.
You can check on line if your property is registered at the Catastro web site. Click here to access web site. Enter your Catastro reference number and view your property.
If your property shows up just as a plot then it has not been registered. The house may appear but not the pool or garage.
If you have difficulty in understanding Spanish or would prefer to employ our services to undertake the registering of your property then please contact me on 617354758 or send an email to if you are in the south of Alicante or the north of Murcia. If you live outside the area then you will need to seek someone who has a understanding of this and is not abusive in the charges.
My charge for this to administrate this service is 100€ which includes appointing an engineer or architect, organising inspection of property paperwork measuring of plot etc. Presentation of paperwork at the rates office of plans, deeds and filling in of necessary forms.

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