IN PRAISE OF SPAIN

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Spain is so much more than this

Once you get away from the 'Costa's', which foreigners created, it really is a very beautiful country.  

 

 

 

A typical 'white' village nestling in the mountains

      

                                                                  

Northern Spain, Basque country, is amazing and a wonderful cruising ground. In southern Spain and with Gibraltar at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea you can have the best of both the British and Spanish worlds.  The countryside and national parks are breathtaking in the splendour and size - in the winter you can ski in the morning then drive to the beach and swim in the afternoon.

 

 

 

If you become a resident there is a National Health System, which is considered to be one of the best in Europe, and a living standard which is both high and inexpensive.

 

Bilbao, with the Guggenheim Museum in the foreground  

The countryside and mountains are spectacularly beautiful.

 

This is a very lovely and cultured country with a wonderful proud history. There are 500 million people speaking Spanish  as first or second language - 2nd only to Mandarin!

If you decide to live permanently or mainly in Spain, then you should Register yourself  into the system. It's madness and expensive not to. 

When you eventually sell your Spanish apartment or house, if you are not in the system, you will pay an extra 10-15% sales tax.  Your motor car will become illegal and if you are involved in an accident, even if it's not your fault, you stand the risk of being prosecuted for not having an MOT, no Road Tax, and possibly insurance which is not truly valid.  You will also have to pay an annual non resident's tax on your home.

It is a hassle to become a legal Spanish resident, and there are costs involved  but it is a one off operation and the benefits, not least of which is an excellent National Health service, properly insured vehicles for less than the 'dodgy' insurance offered to 'expats'. 

There are marinas every 10 kilometers or so along the Mediterranean coastline - some fairly inexpensive and some only for the rich and famous. If you come to live in Spain then you must register your boat. If you do it when you first arrive you can avoid the 12% matriculation tax on it's current valuation. If you fail to register your boat (and you can still keep it British Flagged and sail it under British rules) then one day the Guardia Civil will impose fines which will make the matriculation tax look like peanuts!

Home Ronda Vejer de la Frontera Boat Import to Spain Car Import to Spain How to Register Northern Spain banking in Spain Building in Spain Ronda is where I now live and is a beautiful town up in the mountains and about an hours drive from the sea. Wonderful place to be in.

Vejer de la Frontera is a white hill town near the entrance to the Straights of Gibraltar. Probably the most unspoilt of all the hill towns - white villages in Southern Spain

Boat Import tells you how to handle the importation of your boat legally into Spain and how to avoid paying the 12% matriculation tax.

Car Import tells you how to change the plates to Spanish registration, and if its a near new car how to avoid the 12% matriculation tax -

How to Register gives full details of how to 'clock into' the Spanish system if you are going to become a resident

Northern Spain is just that - a wonderful cruising area for yachties and far removed in every way from the 'Costa's'

Banking in Spain give some helpful info on what can be expensive and complicated.  With the current 'crises' it's quite a 'cash' society so you need easy and cheap transfers.

I have just been to the bank to pay a three thousand Euro fine to Malaga Cultural department because,

 the building works carried out for me by

 

 

 

 

 

 

RP- Ronda Properties - Serrania Property Services and their builder Augustine  

were totally illegal!.

 RONDA PROPERTIES - La Serranía Services 
Inmobiliaria-Real Estate
 

Calle San Jose,1 
29400 Ronda, Málaga 

 

 after they finished the new terrace it leaked!

    

They had used the cheapest possible waterproof membrane and because it was laid on top of a maze of electrical wires they perforated the membrane.

I have now had to pay to have a new legal staircase put in, the terrace totally rewired and retiled.

if you want to know more about this horror story then read:

ROLLED IN RONDA

However these people are not Spanish rather  English and Columbian, so I cannot blame Spain for this!

no apology, no regrets, no offers of reimbursement  just 'give us more of your money'! 

 

If this is how they treated me over a building project that I had obtained all planning permissions for,  I do wonder what it is like to buy a house, farm or flat through these people?

 

ROLLED IN RONDA  

 We live in the old town and wanted more outside space and decided that a roof top terrace on top of our lovely old house would be perfect.  A local Spanish friend introduced us to a French speaking architect who was helpful as three years ago we did not speak much Spanish but previously we had lived in France.

 It took over twelve months to get planning permission from both the Ronda Town Architect and the Malaga Cultural department Architect but eventually the permission came through but sadly our Ronda architect go so busy with a major Russian building project he asked us to transfer to a technical architect to oversee the project. 

 We had one unsatisfactory builders quote and approached an English speaking Estate Agents here in Ronda partner called RR - Ronda Properties - Serrania Property Services'This is what we do' they told us.  We have an excellent builder on our books that does all our work and we will bring him round tomorrow.  They arrived together and I presented them with my 4 centimetre thick planning permission book and building licence.

 It was impressive that they arrived again the next day with staircase constructors, electricians and plumbers.  The only problem was that the staircase man said the planning of the interior access was not practical and he and the builder suggested that an outside staircase would solve the problem.

 'But is that in line with the planning permission' I asked. 

'Yes of course it is'

 then RR Ronda Properties - Serrania Property Services, informed me he had a meeting planned that afternoon with our technical architect and would 'run it by' him to make sure, but I should not worry as they  did dozens of these roof terraces and there would be no problem...  A phrase I came to loath  ' No Problem'. No Problem

 The builder produced a quote and said if we paid cash the IVA would be deducted.  (At this time we did not know that when you come to sell your home in Spain the 'profit tax' of 50% can have all home improvements deducted from it and save much more than the IVA.)   The works could start the following Monday and would take three weeks.  Payment was 50% up front and 50% on completion.

 Monday dawned and the scaffolding came in and the roof tiles started to come off. I was surprised when the builder asked me to go with him to the town hall to organise permission for a 'skip'  and did not want to sign or indeed pay for it himself.

  I and not a great believer in health and safety but the actives of the workers balancing on a scaffold tower held together mainly with string worried me.  I checked with my Spanish Lawyer about who was responsible if a worker had an accident whilst working in my house.

  You are totally responsible for any injury to a worker in your house. 

 But provided the registered/legal builder is properly insured then they are responsible for their employees.

 I called my the RR Ronda Properties - Serrania Property Services to ask if the builders were properly registered and legal and they said no but no problem as they, the RR Ronda Properties - Serannia Property Servicess had taken on the legal role of 'constructors' and were in control of the project.  The final part of the roof tiling came off leaving the house open to the elements and the workers walked across wobbling scaffold boards clutching tools and my old roofing tiles.

 Then the  technical architect came by and started shouting that the works were totally illegal and it must all stop.  With no roof on the house and the old roof joists being demolished, I stared at him with disbelief.

  But  RR Ronda Properties - Serannia Property Services told me he was confirming with you that the revised project was OK with you.

  'Nonsense' he said 'I am reusing myself from all this and will inform the town hall that that I am no longer associated with the project'.

 I looked at the sky and just hoped that it would not rain! 

 The work continued and the RR Ronda Properties - Serranía Property Services and the builder assured me there was 'No Problem' and that the architect was over reacting. 

 More works with cement being poured, then a few days later a couple of representative arrived from the town hall and demanded to see the works.  We were horrified as there was not a 'hard hat' - work boots - safety harness or indeed a secured scaffold plank to be seen. The site was an accident waiting to happen.

 More and more cement was poured and tiles laid when a letter arrived from the town hall telling me that the works do not conform to the planning permission and must stop.

  I pass this onto the RR Ronda Properties - Serrania Property Services and the builder who tell me 'its no problem' the works will be completed tomorrow and will I please arrange payment.

 

 

 When I stopped laughing, I told them that the final 50% would only be paid when the Town Hall signed off the works as required in the building licence. The RR Ronda Properties - Serrania Property Services and the builder said we will finish the works as a sign of good faith and if you pay us now we will undertake the paperwork to sort the problem free of charge.

 A week later I received a letter from Malaga Cultural Department stating that I was to be fined for illegal building works and there would be a further fine if the existing works were not re-instated to the original condition. 

'No problem' the RR Ronda Properties - Serrania Property Services said - happens all the time. Just make the final payment and we will sort all this out. No Problem!

 It was hard to know whether to laugh more or burst into tears.  I decided to take 'Malaga' seriously and employed an excellent new architect to arrange the re-instatement of the works.  He negotiated planning permission to re-instate much of the roof with Malaga and a new legal registered construction company were employed to remove the staircase and replace the demolished roof as required by Malaga Cultural Department.

 This all took almost nine months but the good news was that 'Malaga' only imposed a fine of Three Thousand Euros yes 3000€ for the illegal works.  I suggested that the RR Ronda Properties - Serrania Property Services, who were the legal constructor and advised us  pay this fine but he just walked away.

 The reinstatement of the roof cost me ten thousand euros 10,.000€ and I suggested that RR Ronda Properties - Serrania Property Services the builder pay for this work but they declined.

 We then applied for planning permission for the terrace again and nine months later it came through, as well as the licence for building works from Ronda Town hall.  These works which are legal and different from the 'bodge' which the RR Ronda Properties - Serannia Property Services constructed, but are going to cost another sixteen thousand euros 16,000€!

 There is a moral in this somewhere but I cannot find it.  I tried to do everything legally. Get the required planning permissions, licences but made the basic error of believing an English speaking RR Ronda Properties - Serannia Property Services when he said that it was 'No Problem' - We will take care of it all.

 There is no sign of RR Ronda Properties - Serrania Property Services paying the fine for their illegal works or for the cost over run for which they caused by organising illegal building works. 

Rather sad - never trust!

 Ronda April 2016

I highly recommend  builders,  who recovered the terrace disaster and installed the  inside staircase with all the works done to the highest standards at very, very reasonable prices.

They cover the entire Andalucía area and Carlos speaks perfect English & German. Email:-  jcsalas@salasduran.com

 

BANKING in Spain

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You will need to open a bank account. 'Barclays Spain' all have at least one person who speaks English. I have

Transferring money from the UK to your Spanish bank account or to pay for property etc can be a minefield and unnecessarily expensive. I expect there are other good ones, but over the last 15 years or so, I have found HIFIX  to be inexpensive, easy to use, very fast with payments and cheaper than anybody else.

The big difference with HiFix is that they guarantee there will be no charges at the receiving end.  With bank transfers and indeed companies like MoneyCorp, the bank that receives the money frequently makes a substantial charge for doing this. Worse still if you pay a bill to a lawyer or individual  or even your own account in your new country, you can end up with a charge at the receiving bank - so will still owe the recipient money.  It is for this reason I use HiFix. 

Follow link to www.hifxonline.co.uk  and when you register quote code XHH359 and my name Michael Briant. You will receive a £25 M&S voucher to spend online or in store as a thank you for using HIFX for your international transfers. .(They will also send me a £25 M&S)   Thank you.

There are no charges for transfers of over £3000 - below that its £9 per transfer. More importantly the exchange rate is displayed as per the UK money market so you can choose to buy your Euros as you see the rate rise or fall. They have very efficient staff to help you at first then afterwards you can do it all on line quickly and easily. There are no charges at the Spanish end of the operation unlike normal 'swift' transfers and the money normally arrives within 2-3 days.

 

You go to HIFX and choose either to send a fixed amount of Euro to Spain or the Euros that a fixed amount of Pounds will buy.

You do the deal with HIFX at the moment you see the best rate of exchange displayed and HIFX issues a 'note' telling you how much you now owe them.

 You go to your UK bank account and make a 'normal' transfer to HIFX for no cost and that's it.... Simple huh?

HIFX tell you by email or text that they have received the funds from your UK bank and that they have sent the funds to Spain and its eta...Normally a couple of days.

You can of course use this system for the currency of any country in the world.

Ronda Vejer de la Frontera Boat Import to Spain Car Import to Spain How to Register Northern Spain banking in Spain Building in Spain Ronda is where I now live and is a beautiful town up in the mountains and about an hours drive from the sea. Wonderful place to be in.

Vejer de la Frontera is a white hill town near the entrance to the Straights of Gibraltar. Probably the most unspoilt of all the hill towns - white villages in Southern Spain

Boat Import tells you how to handle the importation of your boat legally into Spain and how to avoid paying the 12% matriculation tax.

Car Import tells you how to change the plates to Spanish registration, and if its a near new car how to avoid the 12% matriculation tax -

How to Register gives full details of how to 'clock into' the Spanish system if you are going to become a resident

Northern Spain is just that - a wonderful cruising area for yachties and far removed in every way from the 'Costa's'

Banking in Spain give some helpful info on what can be expensive and complicated.  With the current 'crises' it's quite a 'cash' society so you need easy and cheap transfers.

Home Sailing La Rochelle Guide Book Property Buying and Selling in France The Boat Shop Directing Actor Contact Sailing info la Rochelle La Rochelle Who is Michael Briant IN PRAISE OF SPAIN Ronda Hose Sale Marbella Flat Advertising

 

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