IT has been a rather hectic week trying to catch up with new legislation Spain has recently introduced.
In particular the ‘measure of all measures’ that might help the country take off again is permanent residency in exchange for buying a property over €160,000.
Prior to this very brave proposal, last week the Spanish government acted swiftly to provide some protection to the ever-increasing numbers of bank mortgage-loan borrowers facing eviction.
This followed the commotion caused by a spate of suicides, by bringing in emergency measures to protect the most financially vulnerable.
All of it at a time when the government had just passed new regulations to speed up the eviction of defaulting tenants.
Judges’ associations, among other interest groups, have been quick to criticise the new measure by stating it does not reform the law, but only brings temporary protection and does not protect everyone.
Protection is also limited to two years, during which time penalty interest rates will keep running (up to 30% with some loans).
Bizarrely, a family with three children will be given protection – but not one with two – and finally, a single mother with a sole child will still get kicked out.
The second legislative novelty that has been tagged as absurd is to the implementation of a court fee system that will make it very expensive to sue in Spain – especially if you have to appeal!
Thirdly comes the excellent news that the government is to give residency status to non-EU investors buying property worth over €160,000.
Pending the publication of the terms of the proposal, it is not difficult to forecast a very significant boost to the economy by this unprecedented ‘automatic’ residency programme.
Cynics already say a majority of investors will be looking into buying an EUresidency card rather than property.
A minority even see a government-led conspiracy to sell the country to foreign money.
Whichever the opinion, so far this year 400,000 foreigners have left Spain due to the lack of opportunities – so a few thousand new investors is no bad thing.
Q. I am an Iranian citizen and wish to invest in Spain, can I?
A. You certainly can. International sanctions only apply to a number of individuals from your country, listed on the EU Council Regulation 267/2012.
This means that you can buy property, set up companies and open bank accounts.
And in respect to banks, if you have been rejected on grounds different from those that are applicable to any citizen of any country, i.e. just because of your nationality, you should report it to the Bank of Spain as this is discriminatory, and therefore illegal.
Q. I have an 11-month contract expiring next June, and the landlord wants me to pay summer rates or leave the apartment. Is this legal?
A. It is not legal for a landlord to operate in this manner. Currently, you have the right to extend your rental agreement to five years, during which you are protected from any attempt to evict you.