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A Foot in Two Campos

Thoughts from a brand new home-owner in the Axarquía region of Málaga. I hope there might be some information and experiences of use to other new purchasers, plus the occasional line to provoke thought or discussion.

42 - How Many 5s Make 21?
17 January 2013 @ 18:03

There are seven houses in my little street. Possibly six. Maybe even eight. It’s a bit hard to tell with Spanish families living next door to each other ….. or just in a different part of the same house. Anyway, I’ve always reckoned there are seven. I think.

So it always seemed slightly odd that mine was number 21. It’s not even as though I’m on the corner of the bigger road. I’m half way up one side of a cul-de-sac. Still, the escritura (deeds to the property) and the catastral (similar to the land registry) and the bills from the ayuntamiento (town hall) all say 21 so it must be right.  Who am I to argue?
Except that nobody else in the street has a high number. In fact, out of the six remaining properties (or thereabouts), three of them are number five. When I was expecting a parcel, I left a note on the front door asking the delivery people to put it in to number 5 (opposite) or number 5 (adjacent)! They actually put it in to number 3 (further up the hill) but never mind.
I have tried asking the neighbours about the numbering. They mostly just laugh. They don’t seem bothered, so why should I be?
Then I bought a car from a proper car salesroom. No problem, they put down my address as number 21. That’s what’s on my NIE (foreigner’s identification document). Then they wanted to see my Padrón (registration at the town hall). No problem, I’ve got that, I got it when I moved in, back in July. No, they need one issued within the last three months. Fine, I can get an up-to-date one from the town hall. I took the old one in. Salvi explained that the one I had was the one to confirm my water supply to that address, not the one that confirms that I live there. That should have been issued at the same time by his colleague Antonia, but wasn’t. No problem, the file (amazingly) still had the full set of paperwork that needed to be supplied, so I took it to the next desk and gave it to Antonia.
“Yes that’s all fine”, she said, “but there isn’t a number 21 in your street.” I showed her that the town hall sent all my bills and correspondence to number 21, and that the water Padrón issued by the town hall was for number 21. “Yes that’s all fine”, she said, “but there isn’t a number 21 in your street.”   I showed her that the escritura and the catastral were for number 21. “Yes that’s all fine”, she said, “but there isn’t a number 21 in your street.”
There was a danger of this beginning to become repetitive. I asked her what number she thought I was. She said she’d go and look and make a decision.   Next day, Antonia said that I was number 1. She was also going to explain to number 5 next door that they are actually number 3 (good luck with that!).  
So she then proceeded to issue me with a Padrón certificate at number 1. All other documents relating to my house call it number 21. Fortunately the car salesroom either didn’t notice or didn’t care that my Padrón had a different house number from that which I had given them. I’m hoping that any other Spanish officials that look at my documentation will be so used to mis-matching house numbers that they won’t care either.
The postman doesn’t look at the numbers, he knows where everyone lives. The number 21 over my front door is staying. I might write number 1 on my letter-box though, just for Antonia.                                                                                                                   
© Tamara Essex 2013

Like 0


Gerald said:
18 January 2013 @ 16:53

Brilliant Tamara, even I am beginning to understand that the Spanish are not understanable !! Lovely house by the way!

steve lee said:
19 January 2013 @ 07:20

Absolutely spot on! I live at No 13. The two houses opposite are BOTH no 26s! And when we got here our house was known as "old No 11". The street is called Abdon Y Senent but all the locals know it as Cemetery Road. :>)

midasgold said:
19 January 2013 @ 07:40

The theater in Paloma Park has a numbering system that starts
in the MIDDLE of SOME rows - if you arrive when others (covering said numbers } are sat , it's a nightmare looking for the correct seat.
My street has similar problems with the numbers - Pedro
had a tea break and lost count.
I think the Spanish brain was put in upside down !

robert black said:
19 January 2013 @ 08:24

Hold on Tamara
Don't just treat it as a joke. It could get serious. I had a battle with the town hall that lasted long after I had sold the house. They insisted that I owed IBI taxes on a house that didn't exist.
What had happened was that the planners disallowed the last 3rd last house because they wanted to widen the corner. So for years I was paying my taxes OK but with the wrong catastral number.
You must go to the office of Catastro. It will be in the nearest city. Sometimes the planning department of the town hall can help but what you need is a "plan catastral" (I think that's the name). It is a plan taken from the computer that shows your house and the land you own. It also gives the "superficie" or square area that your taxes are based on.
As long as the plan in Catastro corresponds with what you are sitting in you are OK. If not you need to get it fixed. For this you need an architect and notario.
Although everybody makes a great fuss about having the "escritura" they normally have several errors. It is really just a proof of ownership.
Also your NIE and padronado should have the same address. It will cause you or your family problems in the future if you don't get it fixed. But don't expect a quick fix; it may take a couple of years.
And while you are at it make sure the number of the meter for gas, water and electricity actually corresponds with the one on your bill.

johnzx said:
19 January 2013 @ 09:03

I have always understood that the Cert of Empadronamiento is the address where you live. That should be the one on your car papers and DL. When I tried to change the address on my DL as it did not conform to ‘my address’ I could not do so until the town hall changed the address on the padron. But even then I had a problem because my postMAN would only deliver to the address he said was mine. My new DL was returned marked ‘unknown’ by the MAN. Fortunately my letters are now delivered by a postWOMAN !

Susan said:
19 January 2013 @ 09:10

Here in Catalunya the houses used to be numbered in the order they were built, so you could have a number 1 in the middle of street with even numbers next to it, and a real mix all the way through! I don't know if thats the same elsewhere in Spain, or even if they still do that here--------=

David H said:
19 January 2013 @ 10:05

Robert - Are you sure about the NIE and padron needing the same address?
The address on my NIE was issued by a lawyer and is nowhere close to where I live or have ever been.
I presented the NIE certificate when applying for my padron. I have also presented my NIE certificate for a variety of transactions without comment.
With regard to correct addressing; the one on my padron is a shortform town hall database version and the only one they are prepared to use. Correos, on the other hand, disapprove and has formally notified me that they will return-to-sender any mail that is not addressed with their longer official version!
To date, I have never been sent a letter by any business or public body that has used the Correos official address, and, to the best of my knowledge, Correos hasn't returned-to-sender any of my post, however scrappily addressed.

George said:
19 January 2013 @ 10:56

I honestly believe the Spanish are responsible for the majority of tree loss due to their mad obsession with paperwork. We have copies of copies in triplicate and copies of paperwork which don't tally with any of the others so I wouldn't worry about any of it. As was previously mentioned, it can take years to sort things out - if ever

Pamela said:
19 January 2013 @ 17:22

We were numbered 32 and 34 and were told that it was because the street was numbered from the top and the bottom and we ended up with two numbers - all sorted with the town hall and utilities though. At least with the Spanish systems you will never be short of material for your excellent blog Tamara - I look forward to reading it each Sat. Thanks.

Dudley de Mello said:
19 January 2013 @ 18:33

Hey , these stories are all true. The apartment I live is No. 2, my water meter was marked No. 5 and my electricity meter was marked 17, it took me a long time to get everything sorted,and my mail went to No.14 box for some reason, Just crazy, and they seem to have the don't care attitude when you complain.All that is needed here is a little bit of common sense. I really feel for all you guys, take care and God Bless.

Dudley de Mello said:
19 January 2013 @ 18:44

Hey , these stories are all true. The apartment I live is No. 2, my water meter was marked No. 5 and my electricity meter was marked 17, it took me a long time to get everything sorted,and my mail went to No.14 box for some reason, Just crazy, and they seem to have the don't care attitude when you complain.All that is needed here is a little bit of common sense. As what Robert Black has said do not treat these as a joke it can get serious. if any of you have these kind of issues get it sorted quick before it escalates. Take Care All You Nice People And God Bless.

Patricia (Campana) said:
20 January 2013 @ 23:05

I always enjoy reading your blog, Tamara.

Saddened to see now that your blog page has been invaded by the usual "Spanish-bashing".

"Brains upside down". How insulting.

Every other country is eprfect of course.

David said:
21 January 2013 @ 17:29

Very funny and oddly familiar! We also live at 21, according to the number on the gate but the town hall thinks we live at 53 in an entirely different road. There are also only 5 houses in our cul de sac,,, or is it 6?

Christopher Gamble said:
26 January 2013 @ 10:49

My flat only exists as far as Endessa are concerned by its temporary planning code name from the 1970's. No matter how much logic it was not possible for Endessa to change heir system to accommodate this fact. This meant that the bills of the person who died fifteen years ago were still being sent to an address that has never really existed. And to upgrade to a new fuse box to reconnect electricity was not possible as the address does not exist. So my flat electrics are by proxy to me at my actual address which is the surrogate for an address that has never existed. Spain is a damn awful place when it comes to bureaucracy with logic and finding an office open to deal with such issues demonstrates the ludicrous lack of anything customer service and the difficulties inward investors face just doing business.
I dream of a time now that forced change is upon the Spanish political system and the rude awakening of the need to elevate business above public departments and the removal of layers of corruption that we can all look back on these days and smile about how quant Spain used to be! LOL

Jen5 said:
26 January 2013 @ 11:27

I agree with Robert Black this could prove to be a big problem. When we bought our holiday home offplan it was plot25, the number in the street is 31. We even got given the wrong keys by the developer when we first arrived and had to goto a hotel.
The outcome was that the police were sent to the houses on our urb and it transpired the developer had not registered the sale of the houses at the Town Hall. A solicitor sorted it out for us all. Although when my friend paid the IBI for us two years ago she had to bring it to town hall attention again and they were supposed to have corrected it. This year we had a neighbours IBI with his name on but our house number put in our letterbox which has been by paid by a Spanish friend who brought the mistake to the attention of the town hall in September but they said it would take 2 yrs to sort out. The outcome is when our agent went to the town hall to get the info to do our tax he was told we had not paid and we had been fined 100 euros. The town hall are trying to refund the fine and our agent is trying to contact our neighbour whose IBI we have paid so he can reimburse. Presumably our IBI sitting in house no 25 which I think is empty and has locked gates. Having worked in a bank for over 30 years I can't se why the town hall can't just debit the neighbours IBI back and credit ours. Much as I love Spain and the people I find their attitude to this sort of thing very frustrating.

Patricia (Campana) said:
26 January 2013 @ 18:56

Bureaucracy can be trying no matter where one lives. I haven't found it any more exasperating in Spain than elsewhere. Then again, even though I have lived in Spain most of my life I still use the services of a gestoría for any bureaucracy that needs sorting out. If the "gestor" can do the necessary with relative ease then evidently there is not such a huge problem. WE have empoyed the same (small) gestoría for decades, and he hasn't failed us yet.

As for the direct debiting, I suspect there are good reasons for not wishing to direct debit (at least certain items). One reason could be (hello!!) no money in the account. You might be surprised (or not) to hear that the Spanish don't have a very high opinion either of the "honesty" (not to mention the intelligence lol) of many extranjeros, and with good reason. In many cases I have heard exasperated "funcionarios" say: "They (the extranjeros) only hear what they want to hear when we explain something to them. And I can tell you I have had that experience myself, first hand, in dealings with "extranjeros".
Not to mention when they'd say to me: "Well, back in England (or wherever) you can do it like this".

My reply would be: "Well, no you are here, so let's just get into gear and into the system". Simple.

Don't worry about the investors. Real, savvy investors are very capable (as I also know) of engaging the services of professionals to assist them in the various areas.

Jen5 said:
27 January 2013 @ 11:41

Patricia I am sorry I did not make myself very clear. I did not mean the town hall to debit the neighbours bank account. I meant why can 't they transfer the credit which was paid to their IBI in error from there to ours but as you say they do not operate the same systems as the UK. Anyway hopefully it will all be sorted out soon.

Rob said:
16 February 2013 @ 22:43

Sounds very typical Spainish, my NIE is correct but my wife's is wrong to the point of embarrassment, wrong name address etx, but no body seems to care. Second lesson I learned is everything gets done best when you hire a Gestoria, worth every penny.

One big surprise was how advanced the Haciandia is, everything is digital, including our house measurements. A few clicks of the mouse and the Gestria was able to bring up detailed measurements of the house.

But soon I'll be complaining (again) about German bureaucracy, next month we join the mass exodus, moving back to Germany (for work). While the Bureaucracy is a pain it is very efficent.

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