The Cost of Living

The good news is that running and maintaining a property in Spain is generally much cheaper than doing so in the UK and your payment obligations are:


  • Consumption of electricity and water is metered and the charges are roughly similar to those in the UK. Electricity is charged monthly and there are minimum rates applicable which relate to the potential power your property is registered for and water is charged quarterly.



  • If you have a mortgage it is compulsory to have building insurance and the bank will insist on being the beneficiary of the policy, they have the right to see these policies to ensure the wording is correct. Generally premiums for property and contents insurance are not dissimilar to rates charged in the UK and there are many companies offering comprehensive policies in English.



  • This is the main property tax and is equivalent to council tax in the UK, the collected money is used to pay for local amenities and services, etc. The amount of tax is calculated by reference to the valor catastral (Ratable Value) registered in the tax office. The valor catastral takes into account the value of the land and buildings and reflects the position and use, although in practice the value attributed is far less than the real value.
  • Properties are re-valued every 10 years and the amounts increase annually according to inflation. Rates for IBI vary from area to area but typically are set between 0.2% and 0.4% of the valor catastral. The Spanish Government will be increasing the valor catastral to keep it in line with current property prices, so taxes have been increasing over the past couple of years.

Signing on the Empadron

Registering at your Local Town Hall for your Empadronamiento allows you to send your children to the local schools, buy a car, get a medical health card plus many other important things.
To register all you have to do is go to your local Town Hall and ask to sign on the empadron, they will ask you to complete a form with your name, place of birth, parents’ names, age, current address, marital status and last UK address.
You will be asked to present a copy of your residencia, passport and proof of your address such as a rental contract, house deeds and in some cases a copy of a utility bill, gas, electricity, water or telephone bill.
It might sound like a lot of fuss if you don’t need to sign onto the empadron but it is important for the community in which you have chosen to live as the more people registered the more funding they get in order to provide doctors, schools, police, medical services and community projects etc.
If you are not registered you will also not be eligible to vote in the local elections, which affects your ability to have a say about the way your community is run, as the ex-pats have only been here a short time it is important that we have a voice to make sure that the right candidates get elected and try to wipe out some of the corruption which is still quite evident in some areas.

Do you need an expat solution? Then... Contact Us!