Moving to Spain During Brexit

With frequent flights available from the majority of cities in the UK, Spain has always been a desirable destination for Britons. For years the public has scanned travel magazines looking for a holiday or permanent home in the sun.

Consequently, for those who have been making plans for many years, the dream was not over on the morning of June 24, 2016, it just meant that the long-term future looked a little different. Britain woke up to the reality of Brexit subsequently followed by the triggering of article 50 and finally the news of the withdrawal date from the European Union, March 2019.

Some who had been planning a life abroad, and also a proportion of the expatriates that had already made the move, became apprehensive. It was the end of freedom of movement, as provided for in the European Union Directive that had facilitated easy access to move and reside in all the member states.

Yet, equally, it has also been clear that large numbers of you have not been deterred, and have actually speeded up your plans to purchase abroad – before March 2019 – rather than put them on hold.

Future regulations concerning post-Brexit entry and residence in Spain are unknown. Furthermore, as members of one of the EU28, UK nationals have enjoyed the advantages afforded to us in the EU Directive that Britain is planning to dissociate itself from. So what happens to those who just under a year from now consider settling in Spain, planning to either enter the employment market, set up a business or retire? 

Envisaging the hypothesis that from March 2019 UK nationals will be settling in the EU with a new status – ‘third country citizens’ – will this be compatible with setting up a business or entering the labour market? Yes, it will. Moreover, UK nationals will be able to enter Spain for at least 90 days without the requirement of a visa. Contemplate that this option is currently attainable for citizens from 43 non-EU countries.

Mallorca beach

By taking up an occupation, you will be making contributions to the Spanish social security system providing healthcare for you and your family and contributing towards a pension. You may no longer be an EU citizen, nevertheless, you will be protected by EU Directives, which will include social coordination on the same basis as EU citizens.

The regulation covers all the usual tributaries of social security: sickness, maternity/paternity, old age pensions, pre-retirement and invalidity pensions, survivors benefits and death grants, accidents or occupational injuries at work, including the European health card for you and your family. The coordination rule applies to non-EU as well as EU workers and includes pensioners, civil servants, students, the unemployed and job seekers who will be covered by the legislation of the country, the same right and obligations of nationals of the country with no discrimination. 

Retiring to Spain? The UK government has based its agreements with the EU Commission only on those pensioners who have already made the choice to settle in Spain, disregarding the evidence that numerous post-Brexit state pensioners will also wish to make the move. 

Notwithstanding the lack of information forthcoming from government bodies, we can provide some positive aspects of healthcare and pensions. On the latter, the UK government has pension reciprocal agreements with 18 non-EU countries.

Pensioners get a yearly increase in their state pension in all those nations; the exceptions are New Zealand and Canada. The government has promised to honour the increase to those pensioners residing in the EU so one must contemplate that this would include those retiring abroad after the withdrawal date.

Britain provides for state pensioners’ health cover in Spain. This is due to a bilateral agreement between Spain and the UK. The agreement only involves the EU in the coordination of social security such as the provision of the S1 form.

Moreover, it would be unrealistic to consider that all state pensioners would retire in the UK and not wish to move abroad. After another long, cold British winter with an increasingly over-burdened NHS and a growing cost of living, the dream of owning a property in Spain has certainly not died.

Retirement communities in Spain…

Facts about Spanish Retirement Villas

Looking for senior housing often involves seeking a new home that has many of the features of your old home, but with additional services, such as on-site medical staff, exercise facilities, security, meals, recreational activities, and more.

Retiring to a Spanish villa will offer all these amenities along with many other perks. Those interested in this type of retirement home typically desire the following:

  • Relaxed lifestyle
  • Pleasant climate
  • Luxurious surroundings
  • Excellent heath care
  • Variety of recreational activities


What are the benefits of Spanish retirement villas? Those who live in this type of retirement home easily sing its praises.

  • Good climate – This is especially beneficial for those seniors who suffer from various medical conditions, such as arthritis, rheumatism, and emphysema.
  • Community lifestyle – Living in a retirement villa means never having to be alone. The beautiful climate and the feeling of community will encourage a more relaxed way of life.
  • Cost of living – One of the prime motivators for retirees to move to a Spanish villa is the cost of living. Many seniors are able to enjoy a higher standard of living.
  • Excellent medical services – Not only does Spain offer exceptional medical services, but for the majority of those who are of retirement age and receive a pension, services are free.
  • Numerous activities – Whether you are an avid golfer, birdwatcher, or you favor some other pasttime, you may feel as if you’ve hit the jackpot at a Spanish retirement villa.

To find out more about the options and locations available please don’t hesistate to contact us

email: or call us on Head office +34 965 021 300 Uk 0203 393 4554

IBI tax

Many are not aware that non-resident property owners, on buying property in Spain, you automatically become liable to pay IBI tax on the following year. No one will notify you about this tax, so it is up to you to find out how much you owe and comply with the Tax Authorities.

IBI tax is of crucial importance because it has associated a valuation for tax purposes of your home known as ‘cadastral value’ (valor catastral, in Spanish) which is used as the benchmark to calculate all your property-related taxes.

IBI Tax – Definition

The Impuesto sobre Bienes Inmuebles (IBI, for short) is a tax that applies to both residents and non-residents. In some parts of Spain, it is known as SUMA. All property owners must pay this tax every year.

This is a local tax levied by the town hall where your property is located. It is paid once a year (normally due in August through to November). This is Spain’s equivalent of the United Kingdom’s Council Tax. It varies from one town hall to the next. It is based on the rateable value of your property (0.4 – 1.1% of cadastral value per annum); for cheap properties (think rural land) it can be as low as a few euros, in sought-after prime locations they can command several thousand euros/year.


  • IBI tax is used as the benchmark to calculate all property-related taxes.
  • On selling, a buyer’s lawyer will demand copies of the IBI invoices for the previous 4 years.

When is it due?

  • Town halls are empowered to rule on this, so it varies. Normally, it is payable once a year, typically from August through to September. Whoever owns the property on the 1st of January is liable to pay this tax, by Law.

Consequences of IBI tax non-payment

  • It may lead to your property being impounded and sold off in a public auction. Spanish town halls, besieged by dropping revenue, are becoming increasingly adept at pursuing aggressively this local tax post-credit-crunch; particularly for high-end property.
  • It is not possible to file and pay NRIT and NRIIT taxes, as it requires for its calculation IBI tax. This in turn attracts fines, delay interests and surcharges.
  • On selling, a buyer’s lawyer will practice a huge retention to safeguard against any unpaid IBI tax.
  • As a seller, you may forfeit the 3% sales proceeds tax rebate (plus legal interests). On selling, when a seller is non-resident in Spain, buyers must withhold 3% of the sales proceeds by law and pay it into the Spanish Tax Office. Non-resident sellers are entitled to a tax rebate on the 3% (subject to criteria).


Non-payment of IBI tax is the daftest way to lose ownership of your Spanish property.

If you haven’t been paying this local tax, you should contact us our sister company Expat services can put you in touch with trusted associates to ensure you and your property are both legal and protected…


Progress report! Retirement Village- Murcia

More exciting news today as we visit Murcia and check on the progress of our retirement development ?We of course just had to show you the local sights and sample some of the local cuisine! ?❤️ These properties will be available in December and start at just €85,000!
To plan your retirement in a place of tranquility, nature, sun, sea and mountains register you interest:


For full details visit:


Retiring In Spain- Retirement developments from Jennifer Cunningham Properties

Spain is an idyllic country to retire to. The cost of living is less than that of many other European countries but it is close enough that travelling around Europe is still very much an option. The climate is only mild at the worst times of year and in particular areas such as Jávea, it has been voted one of the best climates in the world. The climate attracts many retirees that suffer from an illness affected by the weather.

Due for completion in December we are excited to offer this luxurious developement in Murcia. Boasting specialised facilities built with retirement in mind these are only available to people over the age of 55. This eco-friendly retirement home complex consists of bungalows for either couples or singles. Enjoy the independence and tranquility of your own villa but also the possibility of choosing nature, sea or cityThe village comes complete with health clinic, library, restaurant/cafeteria and a hairdresser/beautician among other services. Special attention will be given to security and privacy. There will be staff at hand 24 hours a day. gym, training programs, shops and a range of activities all on offer. Hiking will be another option, with many paths and sceneries to walk and visit from the complex. Aside from the mentioned activities we have secured special deals with different businesses including the local golf courses.

Over the next few months we will be constantly updating you with the latest information and progress regarding the  development here on the Blog

To register your interest and to find out more please email:

As part of the Jennifer Cunningham Expat Services. This also means that you are never far from the information that you need when moving to, or living in, Spain. You can find full details on our retirement property page. Our reputation across Spain is testament to the service we have been able to provide for many years. Trust that we will go above and beyond to make sure your retirement is everything you wished it would be.

Brexit: What does Britain leaving the EU mean for the Ryder Cup?

The European golf players’ kit and uniform are inspired by the blue background and gold stars of the EU flag. In the past the EU anthem, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy,  was played to commemorate Team Europe’s victory over the US team. But six  of the dozen players in this year’s winning European team are British, while the Thomas Bjorn  comes from Denmark.Given the importance of British talent to Team Europe, here is a look at what Britain’s exit from the EU could mean for the Ryder Cup.


What does Brexit mean for the Ryder Cup?

Britain’s decision to leave the EU could challenge the sense of European unity which is championed at the biennial showdown.  But after the Brexit vote in June, Clarke insisted that “we’re still one continent” as far as the European Ryder Cup was concerned.

He said: “It makes no difference to us whatsoever because the UK is always going to be part of the European continent.

“So we’re going there as Europe. We will still use the European flag because that is our continental flag, and that is what we’re going to do.”

Nevertheless the continued use of the EU’s flag and anthem will anger some Brexiteers who believe the EU has wrongly assumed the trappings of statehood. Leading Brexit campaigner and keen golf Nigel Farage has previously asked what on earth the Ryder Cup has got to do with the European Union.

“I’ve been to Ryder Cups but I find it very difficult to go along and to see the European Union flag covering the players and covering their golf equipment,” Mr Farage told Channel 4 News.

“That is not what this is about. We don’t want this being hijacked by an increasing unpopular EU.”

But British golfers does not need to be worried about being expelled from the Ryder Cup because team selection is based on geographical, not political borders.

A spokesperson for the European Tour confirmed: “The criteria for being European in Ryder Cup terms is a geographical one (ie from countries who make up the continent of Europe) not a political or economic one (ie countries who make up the EU).

“Therefore the result of the UK referendum has no bearing in Ryder Cup qualification terms.

“In terms of the flag flown to represent the European Ryder Cup team, we consider that the blue and gold flag of Europe represents the continent of Europe and, as a broad symbol of Europe as a whole, we therefore plan to continue to use it.”

Your Guide to Renting in Spain

Your Guide to Renting in Spain

The survivor's guide to renting in Madrid
The rental market is booming. That means prices are on the rise and the competition for affordable lodging in desirable zones of the capital is steep.

Relocation Expert Mary Clare Bland from Moving2Madrid for the lowdown on how to avoid the common pitfalls when searching for an apartment.

1. Make sure you have the time and resources to finding an apartment. 

The Madrid apartment market has often been challenging, and with the recent real estate recovery, the challenges have been amplified. Make sure you have at least three weeks (this has been researched) of searching full-time to find a place.  Landlords don’t like to have apartments vacant, so it’s not recommended to starting looking more than a month in advance.

2. You must speak at least basic Spanish to find a place.

If you don’t, find a translator or use a professional buyer’s agent. The same is true if you don’t have the time to dedicate to a proper search. We’ve heard of people searching for literally years if they don’t speak Spanish and perform the search in a focused manner.

3. You’re going to have to “kiss a lot of frogs”.

Although things are changing, much of the apartment stock in the city is quite old. Many places still have appliances and bathroom fixtures from the 1950s, water heaters without the capacity to take a hot bath and ancient kitchens

4. Make sure the apartment has heat.

Photo: olly18/Depositphotos

Like many homes in southern Europe many buildings in don’t have central heating. However, the wind can blow down from the mountains in winter and it can get quite cold.

This is such a problem that the city has introduced new Airbnb regulation requiring owners to provide heat. Buying electric heaters can be a solution, but they are often quite energy inefficient in a country where power prices are relatively high.

5. Check the apartment’s energy certificate.

Apartments are now required to have them, and the rankings go from A (the best) to G (the worst). Many of the older apartments are a G, which can result in very high electricity bills, especially if you have to fork out for electric heating or plug in air conditioners..

6. Check if it has central air conditioning. 

You will want more than a fan to keep you cool in summer. Photo: AF

Spain can be extraordinarily hot in the summer (45 degrees or more) and very few apartments have central air. And even if the apartment does have it, the air often doesn’t function well. Test it and make sure it works well, especially if you’re from a cooler country or a place with very strong air conditioning like the US or Hong Kong.

7. Start your search online. 

8. Keep in mind that Spanish landlords and real estate agents are not user-friendly. 

They often don’t return phone calls, or fail to turn up for viewings. Sometimes they don’t bother to tell you the apartment has already been let until you phone up to ask why they are not on the doorstep. In fact, they can be downright untrustworthy and have been known to lie on occasions. Be persistent and do your due diligence.

9. Decide if you want it furnished or not. 

Photo: podsolnukh/Depositphotos

Part of this is based on personal preference (you might have furniture that you love and want to ship). Otherwise, you should base your decision upon the amount of time you are planning to be here. If you are here for less than a year, you will find many furnished options. If you are planning on staying more than a year, your choices will be limited to 20 percent of the available apartment stock if you want something furnished. Those numbers are for the center. If you want something in the suburbs, there are very few furnished apartments which this will limit you to less than 10 percent of the market. It is harder to find larger apartments that are furnished.

10. Have all necessary documents available before you start your search. 

Photo: photography33/Depositphotos

The apartment market has become a seller’s, and landlord’s, market. They are performing stricter credit checks and if you don’t have your supporting documents readily available you can easily lose your dream apartment to another bidder. We recommend you have as many of the possible in hand when you start your search:

  • Copy of Passport
  • Copy of NIE
  • Copy of your work contract showing, contract length, position and salary
  • Letter from your company conveying your employment status
  • Tax slips
  • Bank statements
  • Portfolio with lists of assets
  • Reference letters from former landlords
  • Pension plan statements
  • Letter from your bank confirming that you are economically capable to pay x amount per month

11. If you like somewhere don’t attempt to negotiate

It’s a seller’s market right now and if you find an apartment you like, you need to focus on quickly signing a contract to make sure you don’t lose it, so bear that in mind if you are tempted to negotiate. If it’s a good place then there is likely to be someone in the wings who is prepared to pay the asking price.

12. Be prepared to pay upfront and keep in mind that things can move quickly

Once you have found a place you like, then it’s standard on signing the contract to hand over one month rent in advance and the equivalent of a month’s rent for a security deposit. If you have gone through an agency then the usual fee is the equivalent of one month’s rent but it can be more.

Should I sell my buy-to-let property?

You are both the property owner and the landlord, and the process may be a little more complicated than selling your own home.

Buy-to-let landlords are set to face increased tax bills as changes to mortgage interest relief are being phased in. If you are considering selling a buy-to-let property, there are certain questions you need to ask yourself before you make the leap.
Should I sell my buy-to-let property? 

A buy-to-let property is a good long-term hold. You can make a steady stream of profit over the years and there are ways to reduce the higher tax burden. However, all investments are a gamble and you don’t know what obstacles you might come up against in the future. You may wish to cash in on your investment now and receive a capital gain.
Should I sell with tenants in situ?

This is at its core a financial decision. On the one hand, selling a vacant property may help you achieve the highest possible price. Yet, no tenants mean you won’t have any rental income while you’re selling. You may have to cover costs such as mortgage payments, utilities bills, and council tax out of your own pocket. It’s a good idea to seek professional advice from a local estate agent concerning the current state of the property market, and talk to a financial adviser about your personal financial situation.
Am I liable to pay Capital Gains Tax? 

If you make a profit from the sale of your buy-to-let property, then you will be liable to pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT). There are several factors which affect how much CGT you will need to pay, for instance, if you own the property through a business or if you paid for renovations to be made to the property. Again, you may decide to get professional advice to provide clarification on the issue.

Do I need to renovate the property before putting it on the market?

Renovations can, of course, increase your return on a property. But you need to establish how much work and what kind of work will add value to the property. If you don’t have the budget for extravagant renovations, then be sure to take care of the basics at least. Carry out any repairs that need doing and ensure the property is presentable to appeal to investors. You don’t want any superficial details, such as garish wallpaper or leaking taps, to put people off. Spruce up the property, and make sure it looks its best.

All in all, it’s difficult to give clear-cut answers to these questions, as it depends on your property and your individual financial situation. But now that you know the most pertinent factors you’ll need to consider before selling a rental property. Many of these factors are complex issues, so you may wish to consult expert advice.

91% increase in home completions for the first half of 2018

Spanish home builder Taylor Wimpey España has reported a 91% increase in home completions for the first half of 2018, when compared with the same period in 2017. The company has reported a strong first half of the year and expressed optimism regarding the rest of 2018 and beyond.

The news comes against a backdrop of continuing positive growth in the Spanish property market. The latest Tinsa data shows a price rise of 4.3% nationally in July, with urban areas, the Balearics/Canaries and the Mediterranean Coast all recording positive movement.  Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España, says:
“We are delighted to report such a positive start to 2018 and to see the Spanish property market performing so well. We have worked hard over the past several years to ensure that our customers are not only provided with a great product, but also with superb customer service. This approach has supported the positive results that we have achieved in terms of completions and has positioned Taylor Wimpey España well for the future.”
Taylor Wimpey España report that their customer satisfaction rate is currently running at 98%. The company’s blend of outstanding beach and golf homes, together with impeccable service, has delighted buyers from across Europe (and beyond) so far this year.
German buyers were the largest nationality group for January to June, accounting for 25% of Taylor Wimpey España’s total reservations, followed by Britons (at 14%), Scandinavians (10%) and Russians (9%).
Interestingly, most British buyers seem un-phased by the impending Brexit date when it comes to buying Spanish property. Instead, they are focusing on the myriad benefits of living in Spain, from its climate to its golf courses.
One development to particularly benefit from this is Horizon Golf. The 55 spacious townhouses are located within La Cala Golf Resort’s famous Campo Asia golf course. The gated development boasts communal swimming pools and beautiful gardens, while each house benefits from large terraces and solarium of over 50 m² with panoramic views.  Pritchard continues:
“There’s definitely an air of ‘keep calm and carry on’ when it comes to Britons buying Spanish property at the moment. Brexit’s there in the background, but few buyers are seeing it as much more than a possible future irritation. They’re not letting Brexit get in the way of their dream of holiday home ownership.”
In terms of regional focus, buyers remain positive about the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca, as well as the largest of the Balearic Islands, Mallorca.

5 things you must do once you’ve bought a home in Spain

You’ve just bought your home here on the Costa Blanca – What do you do? – your first reaction will undoubtedly be elation. After all, you’ve acquired a property that, apart from the bricks and mortar, represents the culmination of several months, or even years, of research and perseverance and a lifetime of hard work…So once the Sangria has set in and the tapas ticked off we’ve 5 things you must do once you’ve secured your dream home, so that you can start to live the lifestyle you always promised yourself:

1. “Empadronamiento”

The Empadronamiento, also known as the Padrón Municipal de Habitantes, is a municipal register or census record, similar to an electoral roll. To register on the Padrón is to “empadronarse“. Registering on the empadronamiento places a resident of a town on the list of local inhabitants. Registration with the Padrón Municipal de Habitantes is obligatory for anyone planning to reside in Spain for more than six months per year. Residents may register individually or as a family.

The Certificado de Empadronamiento may be required to achieve the following:

  • Buy or sell a car
  • Register a child in school
  • Apply for the NIE (Numero de Identification de Extranjeros)
  • Apply for residency (Residencia)
  • Get married
  • Vote
  • Apply for a local health insurance card

2. Health centre and hospital care

The same as in many other countries, the public versus private healthcare debate divides people here in Spain and you will find advocates of both camps providing convincing arguments for using one over the other…

If you are entitled to public healthcare, then once you’ve got your town hall registration papers you need to go to your nearest health centre, where – upon presenting your documentation– you will be assigned a family doctor.

Private health, by nature, comes at an additional monthly cost, depending on age and medical history. We can offer help and advise on obtaining both the necessary papers for public health care with our associates at Jennifer Cunningham Expat services or provide you insurance quotes and information for private healthcare cover with Jennifer Cunningham Insurances.

3. “Hacienda”

Both Hacienda and Agencia Tributaria are names given to the Spanish Taxation Department, with which you must register and also lodge your annual tax declaration by the end of May each year. If you work in Spain, either as an employee or self-employed, you will pay your taxes through Hacienda. We work with a trusted team of financial advisers to ensure you are following the correct procedures and your tax affairs are both legal and fruitful.

4. Bank

This may sound obvious, but you will have to open a bank account in Spain. Again, this is something that may be a little daunting if you’re Spanish isn’t brilliant, but you are likely to find speakers of various European languages working in banks on the Costa Blanca. Again our associates can ensure you have the necessary paperwork and assist you with this.Even if you are buying a second residence or holiday home, it is a good idea to maintain a bank account in order to avoid any currency exchange fees and, of course, to facilitate the payment of any bills, rates and monthly maintenance costs your property will incur. Our currency experts over at Expat services can also ensure you are getting the best rates possible when transferring from a UK bank account to a Spanish account

5. Bills

Putting bills in your name is relatively easy. Usually it’s just a case of phoning the electricity and water supplier and, together with the latest utility bills from the previous owners, your ID documents and some information from the property’s title deeds (to prove you are the homeowner), you should get it set up in no time. If your home is a new build, there are some different steps you need to take – for example, obtaining a First Occupation Licence and an energy connection certificate – but the majority of people get this sorted pretty early on and it’s quite a streamlined process.