Tag Archives: law

Driving in Spain: changes to traffic laws

Car in TenerifeNew traffic rules came into play on 21 April affecting pedestrians, drivers and cyclists in Spain.

If you’re planning on holidaying in Spain, or visiting your Spanish holiday home, it’s worth making a note of the changes so you’re not caught out with a fine.

Driving in Spain

New speed limits

In some urban areas, e.g. around schools, speed limits have been lowered from 50kph (31mph) to 20kph (12mph).

Children in cars

Only children over 1.35m tall (4ft 5in) can travel in the front seat of a car. Children under this height must sit in the back.

The only exceptions are if other children are already sat in all of the back seats, or if the vehicle doesn’t have any back seats.

Traffic fines

Police can now issue fines without having to stop your car or identify you as the driver.

You qualify for a 50% discount if you pay a fine within 20 days of receiving it. You also have 20 days to contest a fine.

Other changes to traffic laws

Helmets on bikes

All children under 16 must wear safety helmets when riding a bike in an urban area, otherwise the parent or guardian faces a fine of €200.

Pedestrian offences

If you commit an offence as a pedestrian (e.g. crossing a road at a non-designated crossing), expect to be breathalysed for alcohol and drugs.

More on traffic laws

Find out more about the changes to the Spanish traffic laws. The AA’s website is a useful source of information on the traffic laws in all countries.

Published: 26 April 2014

France: changes to Chambre d’Hôte regulations

Regulations for B&Bs in FranceRunning a B&B in France? The French government has recently redefined what they class as a chambre d’hôte (bed and breakfast) under the Chambre d’Hôte regulations. Depending on how you run your B&B, it may mean that you need to apply for hotel status.

What is a ‘chambre d’hôte’?

You need to comply with the regulations if your lodging:

  • Is a B&B in France, i.e. providing overnight accommodation plus breakfast
  • Is in your own home, i.e. the house you live in – your permanent residence (this is the recent change)
  • Has no more than five bedrooms for 15 people

If you’re running a B&B that’s not in your own home and/or has more than five bedrooms for 15 people, you’ll need to apply for hotel status instead.

How to comply with the regulations

Changes to Chambre d'Hôte regulations

Here’s what you need to do if you run a chambre d’hôte:

  • Provide at least three services, e.g. breakfast, cleaning, linen changing and reception
  • Each bedroom must have direct or indirect access to a bathroom and toilet
  • Bedrooms and bathrooms must be cleaned on a daily basis
  • Prices for your B&B must be displayed outside the building, in the reception area and in each room.
  • You need to conform with safety and hygiene regulations – your local chamber of commerce can give you details about what these are
  • You must have adequate building and household insurance

How to register your French B&B

First of all, inform your town council (mairie) about your chambre d’hôte business. Who you need to register with depends on how you run your business:

  • If your B&B is your main business activity, you must register with the Registre du Commerce y des Sociétés (RCS) – you can do this via your local chamber of commerce
  • If it’s an additional business to one already registered with the RCS, you don’t need to register your chambre d’hôte
  • If you run your business on a self-employed basis, you need to register with the URSAFF social security agency

Social security and tax payments

If you’re registered as self-employed you must pay 12.2% of your turnover in tax.

If you’re not self-employed the rate you pay depends on your turnover (2014 figures):

  • Under €4,881: you don’t need to register or pay social security payments, although you must pay CSG/CRDS social tax at 15.5% on your net income.
  • Over €4,881: you pay 46% of your net income. But if you’re registered as a small company (micro entreprise) then you qualify for a fixed cost allowance of 71%, so in practice you don’t need to make social security payments until your turnover reaches €16,831.

Do I need to pay VAT?

If your annual turnover is less than €82,200 you have no VAT obligations. If it’s higher then you’re liable for 10% VAT as long as you provide at least three services listed above in the Chambre d’Hôte regulations.

What about local business rates?

Whether there are any other business rates to pay depends on your local council – contact them to find out.

Additional rates may include:

  • Business rates (most councils don’t charge them for chambres d’hôtes)
  • Taxe d’habitation (not all councils charge this)

Please note: this information is intended as a guide only and should not be used to take fiscal decisions. We strongly recommend consulting an expert for advice that’s best suited to your chambre d’hôte lodging.

Published: 26 March 2014

Change to Ley de Costas coastal law in Spain

26 April, 2013
Ley de Costas coastal law in Spain

The Spanish government has relaxed the strict Ley de Costas law of 1988, which was designed to protect the coastline from over-development and erosion, as well as keep it open to the public. The protected land area has been decreased from 100 metres back from the public maritime border to just 20 metres. The land beyond the 20-metre point will now fall under more lenient municipal planning laws.

For more on this, visit: www.spanishpropertyinsight.com

Hotels vs holiday rentals: Spanish government’s new draft law

25 April, 2013

spain villa If you own a holiday rental property in sunny Spain you should be aware of the Spanish Department of Housing’s new draft law, says the Association of Holiday Rental Managers in Madrid (Asotur). If it’s passed, the regulation of residential rentals in Spain will be handed over to the 17 regional governments, some of whom may restrict short-term residential lets in tourist hotspots to boost business for local hotels.

However, the full details and scope of the law are yet to be released. We’ll post here again once we hear more about it. In the meantime, you can read more by visiting www.spanishpropertyinsight.com