Expat in Costa Brava Offers Top 10 Tips for Holiday Lets

Cheese still lifeSally Veall is a British expat living in Costa Brava, Spain, where she also lets out an apartment. She has offered her top ten tips for renting out holiday homes for those considering the move:

  1. Registering your property

“Register the apartment or villa for tourist rentals with your local town hall. In effect, you are asking for a license to let. This inevitably involves a fee, which varies from town to town, but may be as much as €300 per property.

“The authorities can ask to come and view the property. Some local authorities are restricting the number of private rentals, for example, in certain districts of Barcelona. If your property is accepted, you will be sent a letter notifying you of your registration number. This is vital. If you continue to let the property without it being registered (as many Spaniards and expats have been doing) you may be liable to fines of between €3,000 and €30,000.”

  1. Your guests’ details

“Inform the police of your visitors’ passport details, date of birth, etc., just as hotels and campsites have to do. You can do this online once you have set up an account with them. In Catalunya you need to send the information to the Mossos d’Esquadra. Other areas have not yet brought this requirement in, but it will eventually be required throughout the country.”

  1. Local taxes

“Collect the local taxes from each individual over the age of 16. There is a tourist tax in most areas – in mine it is €0,40 per person per day. It doesn’t sound a lot, but believe me, it adds up over the weeks. For example, four adults staying for seven days amounts to €11.20.”

  1. Your income

“Declare your rental income. Remember, the authorities are looking at international rental websites.”

  1. Managing agents

“Use a managing agent if you don’t live permanently in Spain. They can take much of the hassle of rentals, so look for one that has a good reputation locally. Ask around.

“Normally they will charge 15-20% of the rent received and although this can seem a lot of money, good managing agents are worth every penny. They will ensure that your property is well maintained, supply cleaners, meet and greet visitors and be on call if there are problems.”

  1. Managing yourself

“If you decide to manage it yourself, be prepared to work hard. You will need to answer all enquiries from prospective renters, keep a calendar of arrivals and departures, maintain the premises to a high standard, welcome your guests and check everything when they depart and be on 24-hour call for emergencies.

“I have been doing this and I just know that in the summer months that is my ‘job’. Occasionally, I ask a specific friend to meet my guests and to be on call if I go away for a few days. Obviously I pay her for her time. She is very capable and I have no worries when she is in charge, but it isn’t always easy to find someone like her.”

  1. Presentation

“Present your property well. Take really good photos for your advertisement, not only of the interior but also of the surroundings. Cleanliness is next to godliness they say and tourists from all over the world expect high standards.

“Think of small things you would like to find if you were staying in your home and make sure they are there. Little extras count for a lot and earn good reviews. I always provide a bottle of good local wine and a variety of olives for my guests for their arrival. They are on holiday and they want to relax after a long journey.

“And, don’t forget insurance – using an established UK insurer that specialises in cover for people who let overseas properties is often a preferred option.”

  1. Welcome packs

“Offer a welcome pack for an extra charge. Sometimes visitors arrive late, the shops are closed and they don’t want to go out to eat. A basket of essentials is always welcome – eggs, butter, bread, tomatoes, salad, water, beer and/or wine.”

  1. What’s on

“Information about what is happening in your area is gratefully accepted. Leave the district’s calendar of events, leaflets about local attractions, music festivals, sports and pretty breaches. Mention all these in your advert. Direct guests to local tourist offices for more options. Don’t forget to mention local markets of all descriptions. Holidaymakers love markets!”

  1. And finally…

“Finally, remember that your guests are on holiday, so make their stay as easy and comfortable as possible. If you can arrange for a babysitter for parents with children, it will give mum and dad a night off.

“This year in Europe we have lost most UK TV channels via satellite, so suggest alternatives online to your guests. I get comparatively few British guests, mostly they come from Scandinavia, Germany and the Netherlands, so they are happy with Sky News, which is still available through my satellite. TV seems to be of minor importance to people from these countries. I have Spanish TV of course.”1

If you are considering an overseas property investment in Spain or across Europe, keep these tips in mind!

1 http://www.rightmove.co.uk/overseas-magazine/holiday-lets-in-spain-give-yourself-the-edge

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