THE rental market in Spain continues to grow as holidaymakers from around the globe look for their fix of sun, sea and sangria.
But while investing in a Spanish home continues to be seductive, new rental regulations introduced this month are proving a headache for budding landlords.
We spoke to Sarah Schroeder from DT Solymar Casitas Vacacionales, a new letting agency based in San Pedro de Alcantara, who says the regulations , while a pain, can prove to be advantageous.
The company was opened in Spain after years of success in Germany, where strict EU guidelines have made having an agency the standard for all homeowners.
With over 30 years experience, Solymar now wants to help homeowners in Spain make as smooth a transition as possible when turning their villa into a rental money maker.
Q: So what are the new regulations for homeowners looking to let?
A: As of this May, they will have to have individual rental contracts for every tenancy and meet the list of new requirements. These include a window in every bedroom and sitting room, air conditioning, proper furnishings, complaint forms, first aid kits, tourist information packs and a list of instructions and rules for tenants. If you don’t comply they can really come down hard on you with hefty fines so it’s really something you need to be aware of.
Q: Does this make having an agency more essential?
A: Yes, I think our services are needed more than ever. If you are a homeowner who lives abroad it can be quite troublesome to sort out every new contract or have someone reliable there for the cleaning and to fix things that go wrong or break etc, etc. It’s also very important to have someone around to communicate with all year round and who can inform you if things are bad or give you peace of mind by letting you know that things are all fine.
Q: How will this affect those looking to let?
A: Obviously it can be a pain for homeowners, but ultimately I think it can be beneficial for renters and tenants. Ultimately, homeowners are getting a legal framework that they can fall back on and they get a structure that ensures good quality and reliability, this is something that can actually push up the price of their rental. It’s almost like a stamp of approval. Tourists will obviously have an improved service but they can now have more confidence in renting knowing they will be looked after, especially if there is an agency like ours that is attached and that is nearby and that can get someone over to quickly fix things that go wrong.
Q: What are the other benefits of using an agency?
A: It offers year round security as there is always someone there to check on your home, I have heard strange horror stories of people renting properties where they have come back and found things broken or things in an absolute mess, with an agency you can avoid those nightmares. If you do have to repair your apartment, if it is registered as an investment and you use an agency, the costs are tax deductible which is obviously a huge plus.
Q: What makes you the perfect choice for homeowners?
A: Well for starters we are fully legal and regulated and our experience in Germany since 1979 also means we have experience in making sure your home meets the new requirements so you can avoid any hefty fines.
Q: Do you cater to all expats and in which areas do you provide your services?
A: Yes, we started in Germany where use of an agency is standard. We have a big customer base there so we of course have a lot of experience with people wanting to turn their homes into holiday rentals. We decided to create a new company in Spain because the market is big here and the new regulations mean you need an agency to make the rental process easier. At the moment we are focusing on the British because they are the largest client base here so we are making sure we are English-speaking friendly. We currently operate in La Cala, Mijas, San Pedro, Marbella, Estepona and everywhere in between.