Living in Spain - L.A.Info

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Thinking about buying a property and moving to Spain ?

The following is my personal opinion and advice regarding buying a property and moving Spain.

Spain is a great choice of a country to live in especially the Murcia region.
Murcia is considered one of the healthiest places in Europe from the Spa Waters of the Mar Menor to the region's fruit and vegetable farming, and is known as the Fruit Basket of Spain.
Today 27/06/20 I returned from the local market in Los Alcazares with enough fresh fruit and vegetables to last over a week at a cost of about 15 euros which would have cost more than double that in the U.K. and wouldn't have been as fresh.
The cost of living is low and the weather is perfect for a healthy stress free lifestyle, so who wouldn't want to live here.

For anyone considering moving here, or to any other area in Spain I would read the following information if only to give you some idea of what to expect before committing or signing anything, as the laws in Spain are a totally different minefield to the U.K.and E.U. laws.

Once you have decided on the area you want to live in, I would strongly recommend looking for a rental of at least 3 to 6 months in the area you are wanting to move to, to enable you to see if it's the right area for you.
A lot of people sell up, move to Spain and jump right into the deep end and soon find out the mistakes they have made later, and find out that the dream house or business they bought on an impulse is not so easy to sell should they want to move to another or better area away from the barking dogs or noisy neighbours.

The cheapest properties available to buy are usually on the golf urbanisations in the middle of nowhere, often no shops, no public transport and some even resemble an open prison camp with the security at the gatehouses.
( fine if you want to play golf everyday ) but forget about trying to sell the house if you don't like where you've picked.
If you look around the urbanisation you'll see dozens of other houses for sale, and even more that have never ever been occupied since they were built.

If you're dream is the Spanish Villa with a beautiful pool in the countryside, again recouping your money if you decide to sell will be equally difficult.
You should also consider security issues with this choice, as you are liable to get burgled with no neighbours or police around to act as a deterrent, and you most probably won't even have an internet connection for you're alarm system.
( nobody would hear it anyway.) Regarding internet connections, Spain is at last catching up with the U.K. and other countries with communications, Los Alcazares now has a fast fibre optic system with various supply companies, so a satellite installation is no longer required to watch you're favourite programmes, you can now use a firestick or I.P.T.V. box .

My advice would be rent a house in a small town where there is an expat population, so you can meet people who have lived there for a while and can help give you general advice and experiences that they have encountered.
You should also make you're stay include some winter months, as it's not all sun and sea in Spain.
The winters nights are generally dark and cold, but the sun still shines most days, so you can still sunbathe.

Keep you're money in the bank and when you have experienced the real problems and advantages of living in Spain, start looking for the type of house you want in the area you want to live, not the house that the salesman is desperate to sell you.

NOTE: Until the U.K. finally leaves the E.U.
All this information may significantly change.

What is the difference between a Residencia, N.I.E. and the Padrón? (Certificado de Empadronamiento)

The law concerning Residencia in Spain was amended again in April 2012, meaning that Residents cannot now access medical care unless they are receiving a pension from another EU/EEA state or are working in Spain and pay into the system here. If you are on holiday here, then it is still possible to obtain medical care by presenting your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
EU/EEA citizens must apply for their Certificate of Residency (Residencia) within three months of the date they entered Spain and present proof upon this application that they comply with one of the following:
  • They work in Spain.
  • They have sufficient funds to be able to live in Spain without the need to work.  They must also have private medical insurance or cover provided by their pension entitlements.
  • They are studying in Spain and have sufficient funds to be able to live here without the need to work.  They must also have private medical insurance.
  • They are the spouse or child of a person who complies with one of the above.

Without a Residencia - you are not legally entitled to stay in Spain for more than 90 days before returning to the UK or your home country, without applying for a Permanent or Temporary Residencia Permit.

**You may also reside here if you have a temporary incapacity or have been redundant after working here for more than a year and are searching for work, if your job ended after working less than one year but you are looking for a new job or you are doing a professional course.

The N.I.E. (número de identificación de extranjeros) is your tax ID number that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Even if you sell up, leave Spain and come back to buy again in twenty years’ time you carry on using that number.
Anyone intending to sell or buy a property in Spain, and heirs coming into an inheritance in Spain, need an N.I.E. by Spanish law for tax purposes. Even the purchase of a car or opening a bank account will prove difficult without a tax number.
You must apply for your NIE number or Certficado from National Police Stations. Unfortunately, just to confuse matters further, different Police stations will use different systems and even different paperwork. This can be true of Police stations that are located only fifteen minutes away from each other!  One may require you to be there at 7am to queue for a ticket to be seen that day, whilst another asks that you queue on a Friday to obtain an appointment for the following week. You may only need to complete one solicitud (application form) or you may be asked to complete two to have one stamped to present when you go to collect your NIE certificate or Certificado.
The same will be true of whether you receive the NIE number or Certificado the day you apply for it or you need to go back for it two weeks later.

Padrón (empadronamiento) and do I have to register?
Although you may have read or have been told that you do not need to  register on the padrón, the British Embassy advises that it is  obligatory by Spanish law to register on the padrón at the Town Hall  where you reside.
By registering, you will actually be benefiting your community  because your local government and Town Hall receives funding depending on how many people are registered on the Padrón.
The Padrón is a good way for the Town Hall to  know how many people are living in their area. You may also be  asked to complete census forms which allow you to vote in your local  elections.
On the Padrón should be the names of all persons living at the  property.  You can still be on the Padrón for a certain address even  though your name is not on the escritura (title deeds) or rental  agreement.
If you wish to apply for your certificado, register your child for  school, register at your local medico (doctor), transfer an imported  vehicle to Spanish plates or buy a Spanish car then you will likely need  a padrón.
If you are an EU citizen and are on the Padron you will be able to vote in municipal elections  even if you are non-resident… in fact, you can be elected to office.

To apply for a Padron,
You need to go to your local Town Hall.  You should take with you  your passport, a utility bill, a copy of your escritura and your NIE  number (Numero de identidad de Extranjero). Should you not have a NIE  number then there are  many businesses spaecialising in this field who can help you to obtain your NIE number very  quickly.
Some Town Halls now charge a small fee for processing your  Padrón.  It will not matter if your NIE number shows a different address,  however your escritura/rental agreement should be your correct address.
You will receive a certificate showing your property details as well  as the names of all who reside there. Usually this is a fairly quick  process and you will be given your certificate to take away with you.

Must I renew my Padrón?
You may be asked for an up to date padrón i.e. dated within the last  three months, by certain services or authorities e.g. the medical centre,  Trafico, Social Services.
If you need one, then it is simply a case of  asking your Town Hall to reprint your padrón.
Some local authorities are currently checking the accuracy of their  padrón registers so you may be sent a letter enquiring as to whether you  wish to remain on the padrón.
If you do not answer to this, you may  find yourself being removed from the padrón.
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