The costs of owning a property in Spain

Owning a property in Spain comes with a whole bunch of costs

Spanish property ownership costs

Owning property in Spain comes with costs, as it does everywhere. Some of these will be maintenance costs, such as cleaning, repairing, reforming, utility bills, rubbish collection, and so on. These will be determined by the size and type of the property you buy. Obviously a large villa with a garden and pool will require much more effort and cost to maintain than a small apartment. For cleaning a figure of 10 Euros an hour is fairly typical throughout Spain.

Apart from the general maintenance costs referred to above, there are a number of costs in the form of taxes and fees that property owners in Spain face.

Property Ownership Tax (Impuesto Sobre Bienes Inmuebles – IBI)

A local tax on the ownership of property in Spain, irrespective of whether the owner is a resident or not. Calculated on the basis of the valor catastral (an administrative value that is usually lower than the market value, sometimes considerably so) set by the town hall the tax rate goes from 0.4% – 1.1% of the valor catastral depending on the Spanish region.

Annual Wealth Tax (Impuesto Sobre Patrimonio)

This tax has been changed several times in recent years. For the latest situation see Spanish Wealth Tax (Patrimonio)

Personal Income Tax (Impuesto sobre la Renta de No Residentes – IRNR)

Non-residents who own property in Spain have to pay an annual income tax that varies according to whether the property is rented out or not.

If the property is not rented out, non-resident second-home owners pay an ‘imputed’ income tax based on the cadastral value of their property. At the time of writing the tax rate was 25% of 2% of the cadastral value (valor catastral). So for a property with a cadastral value of €100,000 the imputed non-resident income tax would be €500 per year. Tax rates change over time so check with a Spanish tax expert for the latest rates.

If non-residents rent out their property and receive an income in exchange, they are obliged by law to declare this income and pay taxes on it. The taxable base and the tax rate will be determined by the laws as they apply to each person’s particular circumstances (taking into account the double taxation treaty – if any – between Spain and the country of origin of the non-resident). In many cases non-residents simply pay a flat rate of 24.5% of the gross income they earn from their property in Spain, with no deductions allowed. This is the case for non-EU nationals, including the British after Brexit. Tax rates change over time so check with a Spanish tax expert for the latest rates.

Residents in Spain will have to pay the income tax based on their income earned during the year. The tax rate depends on the level of income.

You should also check the website of the Spanish Tax Agency in English.

Community Fees

Owners of property that is part of any development, building, or complex in which common zones are shared with other owners are by law obliged to be members of the community of owners, known as the Comunidad de Propietarios. This will entail paying community fees for the upkeep of the common areas, and any other services that the community vote for. The fees will vary according to the magnitude of the common areas, the costs of maintaining them, and the services that the community vote for. A budget for annual community expenses is approved by majority vote of all owners (or representatives) who are present at the annual general meeting of the Comunidad de Propietarios.

Insurance

Household insurance will vary according to the circumstances of the owner and the type of property. However it should be born in mind as a cost that all property owners will face.

You are strongly advised to take out building insurance when you buy a property in Spain (if you use a mortgage your mortgage lender will insist that you do). Insurance premiums in Spain are considerably lower that in the UK, and you can get a quote rapidly from any number of insurance brokers (see www.spanishpropertyinsight.com for insurance brokers). If you wish to quantify your insurance premium before you buy you should find out what information insurance companies require to prepare a quote, and then gather this information during one of your visits or from the estate agent. You should also consider taking out content insurance, and mortgage insurance if applicable. If you plan to rent out your property you will need an insurance policy that reflects this.

Utilities costs in Spain

The owner of a rural property with a private well, solar panels, butane tank deliveries, a mobile phone and broadband satellite internet connection will not have to pay any utility charges. However most British people, who own properties in villages or urbanisations, will have to pay for water, electricity, gas and a telephone line. All utility connections involve a fixed fee for the connection, and a variable charge according to use. When buying a resale property you should be able to find out the utility running costs from the vendor.

Spanish Property Maintenance costs

All properties incur cleaning and maintenance costs that will depend upon the size, age and location of the property. A garden and a pool will also increase the time and expense of looking after a property. In many areas where the British tend to buy there are companies that offer a full cleaning and maintenance service.

Rental management costs

If you rent out your property you will need to hire a company to manage the marketing and rental of the property, though it is now possible to do some of the marketing and booking yourself via the websites that have sprung up to offer this service over the last 5 years. If you use a local company to provide you with the full service you will probably have to pay around 30% or more of the gross rental income to the company. As a non-resident you will not be able to deduct any of this fee for tax purposes.

Spanish Mortgage costs

If you take out a mortgage to buy your property you will have to meet monthly mortgage payments. These will depend upon the conditions of the mortgage you have taken out.

Before you even start looking for property for sale in Spain you should have a clear idea of the costs of ownership, so you don’t find yourself in financial distress after buying. Working out your Spanish property ownership costs and budget should be one of the very first things you do.