Owning a second home in Spain is a dream for many people. There are many responsibilities and financial obligations to owning your holiday home. You will need to maintain your vacation property to keep it in top condition for your holiday. The property will require regular checking and maintenance for it to be kept in tip-top condition for your visits, no matter how frequent.
We detail the most important points:
Whether you are enjoying your holiday home regularly or just for infrequent visits, you will still need to pay for basic services.
– Community Charges
Failure to pay these can result in your property actually being sold to pay for overdue fees. The Horizontal Property Law, which governs these cases, allows the community of owners to seize the property quickly and easily for only a few thousand euros being owed.
– IBI Tax
Your local council could embargo “block” your bank accounts for failure to pay
Should you fail to pay and the electricity is cut, you will incur charges for reconnection, all fees owed will have to be paid and they can insist on a deposit before reconnection.
If your installation is over 20 years old, the supply company can insist on a new “boletín” before reconnection.
If your installation does not meet the current regulations it could mean a full new electrical installation.
If you are fortunate to have a mains gas supply the failure to pay can result in similar sanctions to that of the electricity supply companies.
You will incur reconnection charges and all outstanding bills must be paid in full before reconnection
Squatters and Burglars
It is a fact that removing squatters in Spain is a lengthy and difficult legal process. Squatting is not just an issue in urban areas but increasingly so in unoccupied rural properties. Installing a monitored alarm system could be advantageous. For around €30 per month, you can have a system with cameras and recording facilities that are connected to a central communication hub that can contact emergency services on your behalf. If a camera is triggered you instantly receive a video so you are fully aware of what is happening. There are plenty of big-name security companies providing this kind of service. Timers to turn on lights and devices can give the impression of the property being currently occupied. Ensuring the property looks clean and well maintained also shows the property gets regular visits from tradespeople even when unoccupied.
Despite Spain having a warm Mediterranean climate, it does rain and winters can be cold and damp, especially inland. Ensuring good ventilation will help reduce moisture damage and mould ingression. There are solar products on the market that operate wall mounted fans all year round to remove excess moisture from an unoccupied house.
Rain ingress can soon cause major expensive structural problems. Wooden roof trusses can rot in older properties, window frames, anything wooden is at risk. You could also find yourself with a bill from your neighbour underneath your apartment if your property leaks into theirs.
Pool and garden maintenance
Any house with gardens and pools requires constant regular care. Leaving a garden untended until a few days before arrival is not only not cost-effective but highly damaging to the garden. A garden requires different care during different seasons and the lack of all year round care cannot be fixed with a quick tidy up. Winter and Spring require weeding and feeding whilst in Summer and Autumn, it will need regular irrigation to survive.
Your pool is a major investment. Failure to maintain your pool can quickly become an expensive repair. It is better to have your pool full all year round to stop the pool coating from becoming damaged. It also allows a pool maintenance company to run the pumps and filters regularly. A pump stood for a length of time can easily seize leaving a substantial repair bill that could have been avoided.
If you have ever seen the damage one single mouse or rat can do, then you certainly do not want them on your unoccupied property. Cockroaches can breed very quickly; in fact, one female German cockroach is capable of producing 35,000 young. Processionary caterpillars are a notifiable infestation and require specialist management. Regular cleaning and placement of traps can ensure the horrors of an infestation are not awaiting you on your arrival.
For no obvious reason, electrical appliances do not seem to like being left alone. Ovens suddenly trip out, air conditioning no longer works or lighting circuits no longer function. How disappointing upon arrival to find you have no sockets or lights working and then have to find an electrician on a Saturday afternoon in August. It is always better to have everything regularly checked for functionality during unoccupied times.
I cannot stress enough the importance of good holiday home insurance. It is not expensive as the value of the contents is often much lower than a habitual home. If you are part of a community, home insurance is essential, as it will cover damage to other community members and will cover any legal disputes with neighbours or the community of owners. Make sure you tell the insurer it is a holiday home and is regularly unoccupied as your cover will be null and void if you fail to disclose this.
Your holiday home in Spain was a significant investment. Whenever you or family and friends want to enjoy its use, it is a much more enjoyable experience to find the house clean, well maintained and ready for use on arrival.
As you are elsewhere this cannot be done by you. The answer is to use a reputable Property Management Service. The service provides peace of mind that your property is in top condition during your absence. The small cost is easily mitigated against any or all of the points above.
Have a great holiday in your second home.