Blog / News

8 tips to avoid holiday rental scams in Spain

Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, July, 1. 2024

Marbella-based Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers has over 21 years' taxation & conveyancing experience at your service. We offer a wide range of over 50 legal and corporate services. Our team of native English-speaking lawyers and economists have a long track record successfully assisting expats all over Spain. You can review here our client’s testimonials.

Copyrighted © 2024. Plagiarism will be criminally prosecuted.

1st July 2024

Summer has arrived, and with it the holiday season is at its peak.  

Scammers are also at their peak, as a new rental season is upon us to fleece unsuspecting punters.

The best way to avoid falling for a scam is to be aware of it.

I have collated below eight tips that may help you avoid being scammed on renting a holiday home in Spain.

  1. Fake listings. Scammers use enticing photos from legit sites for their phoney property listings. When you arrive at the property, it's either not up for rental or it's occupied by someone else.
  2. Bait and switch. The property shown in the photos is not the same one when you arrive.
  3. Property is listed below the market rate As they say, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. You know that €2,000 a month villa in Ibiza you are being offered? Yep, it’s a scam.
  4. The person you are dealing with is not the owner. This is normally a telltale sign you are being scammed. Excuses given will be that they have been left in charge of the property as the owners live abroad, etc. Always ensure the person you are dealing with is the owner, realtor, or property manager.
  5. You are asked to pay in cash or by other exotic means which are not traceable (i.e. Bitcoin).
  6. You are asked to make overseas payments to a country other than Spain.
  7. Always in a rush. Pay up or give up. They typically give you under 24 hours to pay them as they have “a long waiting list”.
  8. You are asked to pay in advance the full rental price without meeting them in person or physically touring the place yourself. Virtual property tours are a huge red flag.

 

Available services from LNA:

 

At Larrain Nesbitt Abogados (LNA) we have over 21 years’ experience assisting clients buying, selling, or renting properties. We can also offer you a competitively priced accounting service to file your landlord taxes every tax quarter nationwide. We are also specialized in immigration & residency visas. You can contact us by e-mail at info@larrainnesbitt.com, by telephone on our UK line (+44) 0754 3838 218, or Spanish line  (+34) 952 19 22 88, or by completing our contact form to book an appointment.

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2024 © Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt. All Rights Reserved.

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Taxation: changes to non-resident’s rental income

Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, June, 21. 2024

Marbella-based Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers has over 21 years' taxation & conveyancing experience at your service. We offer a wide range of over 50 legal and corporate services. Our team of native English-speaking lawyers and economists have a long track record successfully assisting expats all over Spain. You can review here our client’s testimonials.

Copyrighted © 2024. Plagiarism will be criminally prosecuted.

21st June 2024

Earlier this year - without prior warning - the Spanish Tax Office changed the tax rules for non-residents.

Non-residents, on renting their Spanish property, used to file a tax return every tax quarter. This is no longer the case.

Going forward, all non-residents who rent their property out will need to file only one tax return a year, on the first two weeks of January. This matches what tax residents need to do on submitting their tax once a year.

So, for example, if a non-resident rented out during 2024, they would now have to file a tax return on their rental income on the first two weeks of 2025.

We offer the following tax service:

Holiday Rental Accounting Service (HRAS)

 

Available services from LNA:

 

At Larrain Nesbitt Abogados (LNA) we have over 21 years’ experience assisting clients buying, selling, or renting properties. We can also offer you a competitively priced accounting service to file your landlord taxes every tax quarter nationwide. We are also specialized in immigration & residency visas. You can contact us by e-mail at info@larrainnesbitt.com, by telephone on our UK line (+44) 0754 3838 218, or Spanish line  (+34) 952 19 22 88, or by completing our contact form to book an appointment.

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2024 © Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt. All Rights Reserved.

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10 common mistakes on renting property in Spain

Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, June, 4. 2024

Marbella-based Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers has over 21 years' taxation & conveyancing experience at your service. We offer a wide range of over 50 legal and corporate services. Our team of native English-speaking lawyers and economists have a long track record successfully assisting expats all over Spain. You can review here our client’s testimonials.

Copyrighted © 2024. Plagiarism will be criminally prosecuted.

 

Tenant’s top five

  1. A verbal contract is better than a written one. No, not really. Although verbal contracts in Spain are equally valid to written ones, the problem lies when there is a disagreement. It is very difficult to prove what was actually agreed in a verbal contract i.e. landlord pays for the utilities. It is in the best interests of both tenant and landlord that rental agreements are always put in writing. Tenants have the right to demand a verbal contract is put in writing by their landlord.
  2. Offsetting the security deposit against any unpaid rental. This is unlawful. The security deposit serves its own legal purpose and at no time can be used to compensate rental shortfalls.
  3. I can always leave the property giving 30 days’ notice. Yes and no. Yes, but depending on the agreed penalties, you may be held liable to pay a penalty for leaving ahead of time. If you leave before the first six months are up, you owe the landlord the full six months by law.
  4. Deducting damages from the rent. You simply can’t do this.
  5. The property is being sold and I’m being asked to leave. Actually, following new laws from 2019, you don’t have to. Long term tenants are protected by law and may not be removed from a property even if sold on. However, a tenant is free to reach an agreement with the buyer (or landlord) to leave ahead in exchange of a suitable ‘compensation.’

Landlord’s top five

  1. Shutting off the utilities. Landlords often feel the impulse to do this on their tenant slipping into arrears or becoming a non-paying tenant. You should know that your tenant can report you to the police. Doing this may be labelled as either coercion or harassment, or both. Your tenant can prosecute you criminally on doing this and you may find yourself being remanded in custody. So, maybe you ought to think twice before walking down this path. Even if the utilities are under a landlord’s name and he discontinues them, he can still be prosecuted, as it’s legally equated to a physical utility’s shutoff.
  2. Changing the locks. Same as above, it may be regarded as either coercion or harassment, or both. Your tenant may prosecute you criminally.
  3. Taking justice into your own hands. Landlords may feel tempted to take justice into their own hands and break-in their own property assisted by some square-jawed tattooed acquaintance as ‘backup.’ This is seldom a good idea and may land you and your ‘friends’ in a Spanish jail for unlawful entry (trespassing). The only – legal – way to evict a non-paying tenant is to hire a lawyer and initiate a formal tenant eviction procedure through the Spanish law courts.
  4. Entering the property under the guise of a ‘routine check’. Although it may be highly tempting to take a quick peak from time to time, especially after a noisy summer party that’s kept the whole neighbourhood up all night, it is seldom a bright idea. When a landlord lets a property, he loses possession. Access to the property can only be authorized by a tenant, in writing, regardless if they are up to date or not with the rental.
  5. Eleven-month contracts are short-term and watertight. I’m afraid not. This single blunder is responsible of many legal problems at a later date. What qualifies a rent as either short or long-term is not the fact that it is labelled one way or the other, or even by its duration. What really matters is if the tenant and his family are making use of the property as their permanent place of abode. If this is the case, it’s a long-term contract subject to the protection of Spain’s Tenancy Act.

 

Available services from LNA:

 

At Larrain Nesbitt Abogados (LNA) we have over 21 years’ experience assisting clients buying, selling, or renting properties. We can also offer you a competitively priced accounting service to file your landlord taxes every tax quarter nationwide. We are also specialized in immigration & residency visas. You can contact us by e-mail at info@larrainnesbitt.com, by telephone on our UK line (+44) 0754 3838 218, or Spanish line  (+34) 952 19 22 88, or by completing our contact form to book an appointment.

Larraín Nesbitt Abogados, small on fees, BIG on service.
2024 © Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt. All Rights Reserved.

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Ten easy steps to buy property in Spain

Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, May, 31. 2024

Marbella-based Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers has over 21 years' taxation & conveyancing experience at your service. We offer a wide range of over 50 legal and corporate services. Our team of native English-speaking lawyers and economists have a long track record successfully assisting expats all over Spain. You can review here our client’s testimonials.

Copyrighted © 2024. Plagiarism will be criminally prosecuted.

8th of June 2024
By Raymundo Larrain

 

  1. Hire a lawyer
  2. Apply for a NIE number
  3. Open a bank account
  4. Do you need a visa?
  5. Sign a reservation contract
  6. Hire a surveyor
  7. Exchanges - signing an arras contract
  8. Completion (notary)
  9. Property registration
  10. Post-completion:
  • Utilities
  • Taxes
  • Padron
  • Community of Owners or EUC
  • Making a Spanish will

 

At Larrain Nesbitt Abogados (LNA) we have over 21 years’ experience assisting clients buying, selling, or renting properties. We can also offer you a competitively priced accounting service to file your landlord taxes every tax quarter nationwide. We are also specialized in immigration & residency visas. You can contact us by e-mail at info@larrainnesbitt.com, by telephone on our UK line (+44) 0754 3838 218, or Spanish line  (+34) 952 19 22 88, or by completing our contact form to book an appointment.

Larraín Nesbitt Abogados, small on fees, BIG on service.
2024 © Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt. All Rights Reserved.

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PODEMOS, Spain’s junior coalition government partner, propose to increase rentals to 10 years and reduce rental prices by 15%

Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, May, 21. 2024

PODEMOS, Spain’s junior communist government coalition partner, proposes to increase rentals to 10 years and cut down rental prices by 15%

Marbella-based Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers has over 21 years' taxation & conveyancing experience at your service. We offer a wide range of over 50 legal and corporate services. Our team of native English-speaking lawyers and economists have a long track record successfully assisting expats all over Spain. You can review here our client’s testimonials.

Copyrighted © 2024. Plagiarism will be criminally prosecuted.

21st of May 2024

By Raymundo Larrain

 

In previous articles and blog posts, I had (heavily) criticised Spain’s social-communist government’s housing and rentals policies.

Spain’s housing policy is non-existent. Despite being in power for over 6 years, and declaring housing as a national emergency and a priority, the fact is this administration in office has not built a single social home for aspiring homeowners who find it challenging to get hold of the first rung of the property ladder. House prices in Spain have reached an all-time high. There are vulnerable collectives that urgently need the government to address Spain’s housing problem. This government speaks a lot and does nothing. By contrast some regional governments (i.e. Madrid), which are not even ideologically aligned with the government, have built thousands of social housing destined for youth and other struggling social collectives. Classic case of much ado about nothing.

Regarding the rentals policy, the government has indeed proactively intervened approving a set of laws with a declared lofty goal of reducing rental prices. In multiple articles and blog posts, I had analysed these proposed policies and changes (which are now in force) and I concluded they would be counterproductive, even driving rental prices sharply up as in effect they would curtail the housing offer (landlords would withdraw from the market their properties). Unfortunately, I have been proven right time and again.

After enacting the new Housing Act, as was foreseeable, what happened next was that over 30% of landlords withdrew their properties from the market. Following the laws of demand and supply, the result was that rental prices skyrocketed, affecting gravely precisely those vulnerable collectives this new law sought to protect, further marginalizing them and pushing them to the edge. In most Spanish cities, rental prices have increased by over two digits in the last year alone. This sharp increase can be mostly attributed to our social-communist clumsy housing policies. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Not happy with such a devastating result, PODEMOS announced today it plans to push legislation to force long-term rentals to 10 years (12 years if the landlord is a legal person) AND reduce rental prices by 15%. Read like this quickly, without a second thought, it may sound (very) good on paper. Cheaper and longer rentals, whose not up for it?

However, this comes at the expense of other people's private property. When you analise the new proposal, it's in fact a very bad idea and even counterproductive.

You don’t need to be an industry insider, or even an economist, to figure out that if these proposed changes are passed as law they will translate into landlords massively withdrawing their properties from the rental market. A drastic shortage in rentals offered will drive rental prices to new historic highs.

It is blatant for all to see that the ill-advised rental policies followed by Spain's Government have greatly contributed to a huge spike in rental prices nationwide as in effect they are driving landlords out of the market (understandably afraid of these measures), reducing the number of homes on offer.

This administration has proven itself most apt at polarising society, fanning the flames of discontent and capitalising on it politically. This irresponsible attitude has even spilled over to Spain's foreign affairs, by continuously creating smoke screens with other countries (Algeria, Argentina, Israel, Russia, etc) to deflect from burning domestic political issues i.e. daily corruption scandals.

Leaders - great political leaders - strive to create unity, to bring down divisive walls.

Foreseeably, if we reach this critical point of eyewatering rentals, the government will be pushed by society to expropriate the use of empty homes and put them up for social rent at a rental price deemed ‘reasonable’ by our social-communist Overlords. In effect, a planned economy.

I understand that most career politicians are self-serving, but the proposed changes cross a red line. Such changes would unleash hell in Spain's rental market and would seriously marginalize vulnerable collectives (youngsters, elderly tenants, single mothers) forcing the government’s hand to intervene.

So, if the government (surely) knows by now that the populist laws it has been approving, one after the other, are driving rental prices sharply upwards, why on earth is it still doing it then? In short, for political gain. The larger the social discontent it sows, the more votes they garner on polling day, securing their power.

Playing the devil’s advocate, I can only surmise that this is in fact the government’s ulterior motive; to actively intervene and expropriate people's private property amidst a thundering applause of the general (misinformed) public which will wholeheartedly welcome these communist measures of 'mobilizing' (read expropriating) empty property for the 'greater good.' These clumsy set of rental laws are railroading us down a dark path which can only lead to mass expropriations. As I've written several times before, this hard-left wing government carries out social policies at the expense of other people's private property with total disregard for their constitutional rights. We've already seen how this ends in other countries (Cuba, Venezuela, etc).

It falls on the government to build and subsidize social housing, for sale or for rental, to assist ailing social collectives. Taking away from others, who've worked hard all their lives to save money and invest, is not the solution. 

Should this new proposal become law, Spain’s socialist-communist government will create a (major) problem with one hand (prohibitive rental prices no one can afford) and then offer a plausible solution with the other (expropriations), which in effect will limit citizens’ rights and liberties (seriously curtailing the right to private property), gaining even more power and control over society in the process. In Maduro's playbook, win-win.

TLDR; To sum it all up, the new proposed rental changes by PODEMOS, besides being downright stupid, will prove detrimental to vulnerable collectives, driving rental prices up the roof to new highs. This will ‘force’ the government’s hand, which will be all too eager to decisively intervene in the rental market by expropriating (or heavily taxing) empty properties.   

So much for democracy and a market economy. And this is how democracy dies, amid roaring applause.

 

Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790). Founding Father of the United States. Exceptionally gifted statesman, scientist, inventor, diplomat, writer, printer, postmaster, and political theorist. He campaigned from early on for colonial unity, initially as an author and spokesman in London for several colonies. He was tasked to raise funds in Europe for the War of Independence. Malaga’s cathedral only has one tower (known as ‘La Manquita’), as the funds were gifted to 13 struggling colonies in their War for Independence against a mighty overseas empire. He was one of the drafters and signers of the Declaration of Independence of the 4th July 1776. Appointed as the first United States ambassador to France, he exemplified the ingenuity and prowess of a young emerging American nation.

Ben was a politician in his spare time; nobody’s perfect.

 

At Larrain Nesbitt Abogados (LNA) we have over 21 years’ experience assisting clients buying, selling, or renting properties. We can also offer you a competitively priced accounting service to file your landlord taxes every tax quarter nationwide. We are also specialized in immigration & residency visas. You can contact us by e-mail at info@larrainnesbitt.com, by telephone on our UK line (+44) 0754 3838 218, or Spanish line  (+34) 952 19 22 88, or by completing our contact form to book an appointment.

Larraín Nesbitt Abogados, small on fees, BIG on service.

2024 © Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt. All Rights Reserved.

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6 things to watch out for on buying property in Spain

Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, May, 1. 2024

Marbella-based Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers has over 21 years' taxation & conveyancing experience at your service. We offer a wide range of over 50 legal and corporate services. Our team of native English-speaking lawyers and economists have a long track record successfully assisting expats all over Spain. You can review here our client’s testimonials.

Copyrighted © 2024. Plagiarism will be criminally prosecuted.

1st of May 2024

By Raymundo Larrain

On buying property in Spain, you should be mindful the title is clean. It is fairly common the previous owner is in arrears. In Spain, debts follow the property not the debtor. Meaning, when you take over the ownership, you also take on all the existing debts from the previous owner. This is why you should hire a conveyance law firm - like us - to carry out a thorough due diligence on the property ensuring everything is above board.

  1. Tenants. On buying property, the new owner takes on the position of landlord and must respect - by law - the duration of a pre-existing rental agreement. You should know some rental agreements in Spain lock you in for ten years… and you cannot update the rental.
  2. Utility invoices (water, electricity, etc). Outstanding utility invoices are a nuisance as utility companies may shut down the supplies. Reconnecting the electric supply, for example, can set you back 500 euros and you need to wait at least 4 weeks to top it off.
  3. Community of Owners. Properties within a community can be in arrears. The new owner takes on all the debts dating back five years, which can be substantial.
  4. Local taxes. The property can be in arrears with taxes levied by the local town hall. In the worst case, the property can be impounded and sold off in a public auction to recoup the debt. The new owner is held liable for all taxes going back four years.
  5. Title. It is important to acquire a clean title. Mortgages, embargoes, liens, etc can weigh down on a property’s value.
  6. Banned holiday rentals. A new trend is developing in community of owners, whereby they agree to ban holiday rentals outright. There is no point investing in a nice beach pad if you are not allowed to rent it out. It goes without saying that a property which cannot be leased legally has a substantially reduced market values as opposed to other similar properties in the area which can.

I have only listed the basic six, but you should be aware there are far more points to look out for. Which is why we strongly urge you to contact an experienced law firm like ours on buying property in Spain.

Related services offered by LNA:

 

At Larrain Nesbitt Abogados (LNA) we have over 21 years’ experience assisting clients buying, selling, or renting properties. We can also offer you a competitively priced accounting service to file your landlord taxes every tax quarter nationwide. We are also specialized in immigration & residency visas. You can contact us by e-mail at info@larrainnesbitt.com, by telephone on (+34) 952 19 22 88, or by completing our contact form to book an appointment.

Larraín Nesbitt Abogados, small on fees, BIG on service.

2023 © Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt. All Rights Reserved.

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Spain’s President: Golden Visas to be axed

Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, April, 8. 2024

Marbella-based Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers has over 21 years' taxation & conveyancing experience at your service. We offer a wide range of over 50 legal and corporate services. Our team of native English-speaking lawyers and economists have a long track record successfully assisting expats all over Spain. You can review here our client’s testimonials.

Copyrighted © 2024. Plagiarism will be criminally prosecuted.

8th of April 2024

By Raymundo Larrain

 

Pedro Sanchez announced today in Seville he would be scrapping the Golden Visa programme that was implemented in 2013 at the height of Spain’s Great Recession. The programme’s goal was to kickstart the dead real estate market attracting foreign wealthy individuals to buy property in Spain.

Over 10,000 individuals have applied for it (alongside their families) since its inception. Over 70% of visas have been granted to Russian and Chinese nationals. Lately, post-Brexit, there had been a great surge of British nationals applying for them.

Mr. Sanchez argues his reason for shutting down the Golden Visa programme is because “(golden visas) create inflation in property prices and makes it difficult for young Spaniards to access the property ladder.”

I totally disagree with his view.

Almost 70% of Spanish youngsters are unemployed, and those which happen to be employed, earn an average wage of under €25,000/year. You cannot seriously think this is the market segment at which €500,000 luxury properties are levelled at? Give me a break. Besides, golden visas granted last year only account for 0.1% of property sales. Hardly a drop in a wide ocean of property sales.

In other words, no young Spanish person is ever going to be able to afford a 500k property. Additionally, the small amount on sales they represent barely make a tiny dent on overall property prices. Let's get real, golden visas' impact on overall property prices is next to negligible because this is a (very) niche market geared exclusively to affluent foreign buyers which represent a very small fraction of overall property sales (0.1%). These type of properties are neither marketed, nor intended, for under 30 year olds, who barely make ends meet every month.

So, it is clear to me that he is scrapping the Golden Visa programme for other undisclosed reasons i.e. electoral.

This is yet another example of him demonizing rich people as scapegoats of rising property prices to hide his incompetence and pander to his electoral base at a time his popularity is hanging at an all-time low. For a man that blabbers so much on how important social housing is for his social-communist administration, the fact is that he's been six years in power and has built ZERO houses at affordable prices for young ones. By contrast, the Community of Madrid, has quietly built thousands of such specially subsidized properties specifically aimed at youngsters to alleviate the housing problem. So, to quote Elvis, a little less conversation and a little more action please, Mr. President.

Lately, Sanchez is besieged by major (understatement) corruption scandals affecting his hard left-wing coalition government. So much so, that even people within his most intimate circle are allegedly being pointed out to be involved in the gross mismanagement of EU Next Generation Funds. You know, the 120 billion euros our EU Overlords generously allocated to Spain post-Covid-19 which no one knows exactly how or where they are being spent on. Surpise, surprise; who could have guessed? Stimmt!

We could always ask the people who were tasked to oversee these EU funds in Spain; oh wait, both of them quit for 'personal reasons´, deary me.

The corruption wave that now engulfs the government has likely led to this ‘dramatic’ announcement today that, in my opinion, will help zero young Spanish people attain a new home "at affordable prices" and will most definitely have a negative impact in Spain’s economy. But hey, that’s 101 Politics for you.

The bottom line is that if you are a non-EU national, this is your last chance to hop on the Golden Visa train before it leaves, as has been the case already in Ireland, Portugal, and Greece.

LNA offers this blue ribbon visa service in under 3 weeks:

Golden Visa (investor visa)

LNA has a 100% track record attaining Spanish residency

 

At Larrain Nesbitt Abogados, we have assisted hundreds of non-EU nationals, and their families, to successfully attain a Spanish residency permit since 2013.

Immigration & visa services available from Larraín Nesbitt Abogados:

 

At Larrain Nesbitt Abogados (LNA) we have over 21 years’ experience assisting clients buying, selling, or renting properties. We can also offer you a competitively priced accounting service to file your landlord taxes every tax quarter nationwide. We are also specialized in immigration & residency visas. You can contact us by e-mail at info@larrainnesbitt.com, by telephone on our UK line (+44) 07543 838 218, Spanish line (+34) 952 19 22 88, or by completing our contact form to book an appointment.

Larraín Nesbitt Abogados, small on fees, BIG on service.
2024 © Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt. All Rights Reserved.

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Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, March, 17. 2024

Ní neart go cur le chéile.

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Seville, dream city

Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, March, 15. 2024

Raymundo Larraín looks at Sevilla’s highlights as a place to live, visit, and invest.

I continue today with my running series on top places to buy and live in Spain. You can find older entries on this series scrolling down below. These impromptu light-hearted guides are not meant to be exhaustive; they are just there as a lighthouse to shed light on an area’s main highlights and landmarks.

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Featured: Torre del Oro at dusk.

Introduction

Seville was founded on the shores of the Guadalquivir river, in Southern Spain, by the fabled Tartessian civilisation over two thousand years ago. Scholars speculate this advanced seafaring culture, which built huge stone cities in concentric circles separated by large bodies of water, was the source from which Plato drew inspiration for his Atlantis myth, the fabled lost city sunk under the waves.

The mythological city founder is Hercules, whose figure is depicted in the Andalusian flag (shown below), standing between two columns representing the Strait of Gibraltar. The green colour stands for hope and union, while the white stands for peace and dialogue. The Andalusian flag was designed by Blas Infante, Father of Andalusia, who in turn was inspired by the Moorish historical legacy. The green originates from the green flag of the Umayyad dynasty, ruling clan of al-Andalus for centuries, and the white colour symbolized peace or forgiveness for the Almohads.

800px-Flag-of-Andaluc-a-svg

Seville would later be populated by Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians. In 43 BC, it was conquered by Julius Caesar and brought into the fold of the Roman Empire under the name of Hispalis, becoming one of its crown jewels (it was the empire’s breadbasket). In 1091 the Moors (first Almoravids, then followed by Almohads) conquered the city. The Moors ushered in a new era of splendour which turned Seville into the most important city in Spain. Iconic buildings, which have become synonyms with Seville’s beauty, date from this era, such as the Torre del Oro and the Giralda (a remnant of the Great Mosque).

During Spain’s Golden Age (16th and 17th centuries), and the discovery of a New World, Seville would become Spain’s second most important hub. Several landmark buildings were added, such as Seville’s Cathedral, The General Archives of the Indies, the university, la Casa de la Moneda, the town hall, etc.

Seville hosted in 1929 the Ibero-America Exhibition which changed its landscape for ever. Several pavilions became iconic buildings over time. In 1992, during Spain’s mini Golden Age, it hosted the Universal Expo which I had the pleasure of attending several times. The Expo of 1992 poured billions of euros into the city, in effect laying out the city’s infrastructure as we know it for the 21st Century.

Seville stands today as the administrative capital of the Autonomous Community of Andalusia, the largest in Spain, always holding a sibling rivalry with its sister city Málaga, Andalusia’s economic powerhouse.

Seville, culture capital, cradle of artists and intellectuals

This city is the birthplace to several renowned figures, ranging from artists to emperors. I’ve greatly abridged the list to name the main ones. To name a few: Roman Emperor Trajan, Roman Emperor Hadrian, Al-Mutamid (king poet), Diego de Velázquez (painter, Seville’s most universal son), Antonio de Nebrija (grammatist), Fray Bartolomé de las Casas (staunch defender of Native’s Rights and a precursor of the civil rights movement), Lope de Rueda (writer and dramatist), Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer (romantic poet), Juan Ramon Jiménez (Nobel Prize in Literature 1956), Luis Cernuda (writer), Manuel Machado (writer and poet), Vicente Aleixandre (Nobel Prize in Literature 1977), Felipe González Márquez (lawyer and statesman, one of Spain’s finest presidents), Carmen Sevilla (actress and singer), Paz Vega (actress and model), Los del Río (duo of singers, ‘La Macarena’).

It also became the city of adoption by scores of other high-profile artists who, although born elsewhere, decided to live and work in the city such as Federico García Lorca (Spain’s finest poet), and Rafael Alberti (writer).

Its first recorded tourist was American romantic writer and diplomat Washington Irving, during his XIX century Spanish Islamic tour that also took him to Granada. Irving would spend a whole year living in Seville. But rather than read my boring drivel on his exploits, let’s hear it from him:

If you ever come to Seville, do not miss visiting its glorious cathedral … visit it at dusk, when the last rays of sun, rather the last shining of the day, shine through its polychrome stained glasswindows. Visit it at night, when its chapels are poorly illuminated, its immense ships barely illuminated by the rows of silver lamps, and when the mass is prepared on the high altar, between flashes of gold and clouds of incense … I do not believe I have never felt an equal pleasure in any other monument of this kind … It is close to the house where I stayed in Seville and it was my daily resource. In truth, I visited it more than once in the course of the day. A slow wander through that cathedral, especially towards dusk, when the deepest shadows and the light of the polychrome stained glass more confused and vague, produced in me the impression of a walk through one of our great American forests …

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La Giralda

The Giralda (Arabic: ?????????‎) is the bell tower of Seville Cathedral in Seville, Spain. Originally, it was built as the minaret for the Great Mosque of Seville in al-Andalus, during the reign of the Almohad dynasty. This tower is all that remains of the original Grand Mosque. The Cathedral, including the Giralda, was registered in 1987 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, along with the Alcázar and the General Archive of the Indies. It remains as one of the most important symbols of the city, as it has been since the Middle Ages. The tower is one of the most famous monuments of Moorish architecture in Spain and one of the most refined examples of Almohad architecture.

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Torre del Oro

The Gold Tower (Arabic: ????? ????????,) is a dodecagonal military watchtower in Seville. It was erected by the Almohad Caliphate to control access to Seville via the Guadalquivir river.

Constructed in the first third of the 13th century, the tower served as a prison during the Middle Ages. Its name comes from the golden shine it projects on the river, due to its building materials (a mixture of mortar, lime and pressed hay).

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The Alcázar, a 1,000-year-old Moorish citadel

Seville’s city districts

  • Historic city centre (casco antiguo, in Spanish): Major tourist attractions are located here, such as the cathedral, the Alcázar (it’s the oldest royal palace in Europe that is still in use today), the Torre del Oro, the Town Hall, the Palace of San Telmo, the Archivo General de Indias, and the Metropol Parasol.
  • Distrito Sur: This was the location of the Ibero-American exhibition of 1929. You can find several museums here. It’s where the famous Plaza de España is located (detailed further below). If you have a penchant for architecture and aesthetics, it’s worthwhile taking a long stroll down the Avenida de la Palmera and taking in the breathtaking beauty of the 1929 pavilions and lush tropical gardens.
  • Los Remedios: Located on the Isla de la Cartuja, on the west bank, it’s home to the Cartuja convent.
  • Macarena: Located on the Eastern bank of the Guadalquivir river, it houses the Parliament of Andalusia.
  • Triana: Named after the Roman Emperor Trajan (who was born in Italica, Seville). Brightly coloured working-class and gypsy neighbourhood where artisans (ceramics) and flamenco dancers flourish. Several renowned bullfighters hail from Triana. On its northern edge lies La Isla de la Cartuja, which was the location of the famous Expo 92. Several pavilions are still on display.
  • Nervión: Located to the east, it’s an upscale district that serves as the city’s business and commercial centre. Restaurants and great tapa bars abound. Home to Seville’s FC soccer team.

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Feria de Abril

Every year, two weeks after Easter Week, the Feria de Abril is held in Seville, lasting a week. This year from the 14th to the 20th of April. Natives dress up in typical Andalusian bright-coloured costumes. Women look stunning in their flamenco dresses and mantillas. Gorgeous thoroughbred horses are decked up in gala exuding nobility at every step. Horse-drawn carriages patrol the fairgrounds with beautiful women dressed up for the occasion. Pavilions (casetas de feria, in Spanish) sprout all over the city, like mushrooms after a heavy rainfall. In them, you will find great food and flamenco dancing.

It’s truly a sight to behold and you owe it to yourself to visit it, at least once in a lifetime. Sevillians *love* to party and make jokes, and this is the main event of the whole year. If you are looking for a good time, this is it!

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Plaza de España

Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929

Was an exhibition that hosted the pavilions of several American countries. It left us scores of buildings of singular beauty which now dot the Avenida de la Palmera. Truly, if you love architecture, you should pay a visit to these pavilions which are now home to official institutions and important companies.

This exhibition left us as well the Plaza de España, which has been featured in countless movies and shows over time, such as Game of Thrones (Dorne) and Star Wars (Naboo, the prequels).

Fireworks display every night at Lago de España, Expo 92

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Expo 1992

I have fond memories of my multiple visits to the Expo ‘92. Seared in my brain is Japan’s castle built entirely out of wood without using a single nail in what was a feat of human engineering. Chile’s 100,000-year-old iceberg brought from La Patagonia, which was later on returned to its exact location in a heartwarming touch of environmentalism, South Arabia’s magnificent pavillion in which I signed up for Aramco’s magazine (which I’m still receiving three decades on!), Morocco’s beautiful pavilion straight out of Scheherazade’s One Thousand and One Nights, and Australia’s exotic butterflies and wildlife. In short, it was a wonderful showcase of the best each country had to offer to the world.

The whole venue had an avant-garde microclimate installed that released clouds of water in regular bouts noticeably bringing down the sweltering heat. Since, I’ve seen this copied in many other places. It was also there I also saw for the first-time touch screens which were responsive to human interaction. It would take almost two decades for them to be released to the greater public through mobile phones and ATMs. Truly, the Expo allowed us a hopeful glimpse into Humanity’s future, and it looked bright. Every night, the magical water features came to life in its main lake (Lago de España) putting on a son et lumière show. Truly awe-inspiring stuff for young inquisitive minds.

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Alfonso XIII hotel

If you can afford it, this is hands down the best accommodation in all of Seville. Its beauty and style are unmatched. Located right at the heart of the city, within walking distance of everything.

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Seville has many delights other than monuments

Conclusion

Sevilla offers a unique quality of life that is second to none.

I could go on and on for days, and nights, lauding Seville’s mesmerizing beauty, but hands down what sets it apart from other cities – making it truly special – are its people. Sevillians are the most heartwarming people you’ll come across and will make your stay most welcome.

Seville is a dream city, home to dreamers. Do you like dreaming?

Sevilla, ciudad de ensueño, cuna de soñadores.

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Self-portrait of a young Velázquez

Procura que los sueños se vuelvan metas y no se queden en sueños.” – Diego de Velázquez

“Turn your dreams into goals, do not allow them to linger as dreams.”

Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (1599 -1660). Born in Seville during the Age of Dreams, at the apex of Spain’s Golden Age, he was the son of a notary. He became the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV in Madrid. He specialized in royal portraits. His most notable work would be a large portrait of the imperial family known as Las Meninas (exhibited in the Museo del Prado, in Madrid). This ingenious painting introduced a series of contemporary elements which in effect broke away with the past, ushering in a modern era in painting, becoming a major milestone in art history. His works would become influential, to the point of inspiring other leading artists centuries on such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and Francis Bacon. Velázquez is Sevilla’s most universal son and likely Spain’s finest painter.

Other entries in this running series:

 

Please note the information provided in this article is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice. This article may be posted freely in websites or other social media so long as the author is duly credited. Plagiarizing, whether in whole or in part, this article without crediting the author may result in criminal prosecution. Ní neart go cur le chéile. Voluntas omnia vincit.

2.024 © Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt. All Rights Reserved.

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Spanish visa applications: criminal records

Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt, March, 4. 2024

Marbella-based Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers has over 21 years' taxation & conveyancing experience at your service. We offer a wide range of over 50 legal and corporate services. Our team of native English-speaking lawyers and economists have a long track record successfully assisting expats all over Spain. You can review here our client’s testimonials.

Copyrighted © 2024. Plagiarism will be criminally prosecuted.

1st of March 2024

A staple requirement across all visa applications in Spain is that applicants must supply a criminal record over the previous 5 years.

This record should be clean, showing no records of any kind ("no trace / no live trace").

However, at times some applicants made a juvenile mistake which led them to commit a misdemeanour i.e. drunk driving offence. Unbeknownst to them, 30 years on this still shows on their record. If the conviction is spent, you can request to have it removed so your criminal record appears as clean. If unspent, you simply cannot.

As stated, for the purposes of a Spanish visa application, your criminal record must always appear as clean. If there is any conviction showing, whether spent or unspent, your visa application is going to be turned down by Spanish Immigration Authorities.

 

LNA has a 100% track record attaining Spanish residency

At Larrain Nesbitt Abogados, we have assisted hundreds of non-EU nationals, and their families, to successfully attain a Spanish residency permit since 2013.

Immigration & visa services available from Larraín Nesbitt Abogados:

 

At Larrain Nesbitt Abogados (LNA) we have over 21 years’ experience assisting clients buying, selling, or renting properties. We can also offer you a competitively priced accounting service to file your landlord taxes every tax quarter nationwide. We are also specialized in immigration & residency visas. You can contact us by e-mail at info@larrainnesbitt.com, by telephone on our UK line (+44) 07543 838 218, Spanish line (+34) 952 19 22 88, or by completing our contact form to book an appointment.

Larraín Nesbitt Abogados, small on fees, BIG on service.
2024 © Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt. All Rights Reserved.

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