Some information about buying a house on La Palma.
Letting your house to tourists
When buying a house for letting, check twice.
You’ll often see ads for houses, with the comment “Ideally suited for letting”.
Is that true, though?
To answer this question, we first have to distinguish between letting out your property as a holiday home, or renting it out on a more permanent basis.
Renting out your home long term is always permitted, provided there is a letting contract for a minimum period of, for example, one year.
Holiday lets are more lucrative, but you do need official permission to let. Unfortunately, in the past (and even up to this day, in some cases), properties have been let out without a proper permit. For a long time, the authorities have turned a blind eye, but rules and regulations have recently been tightened up, and we can’t rule out a new active checking regime in the near future.
So if you do intend to rent or let the property once you’ve bought it, please always check what’s allowed in advance of agreeing to purchase! We can do this for you by drawing up a situational report and lodging this with the local authorities for verification purposes.
Even when a property or house does not currently have the correct permits, we can check whether it is possible to get things sorted out retrospectively. Our experience in dealing with the authorities means you can sit back and relax, knowing that your substantial investment is being looked after.
There are several reservoirs on La Palma, most of which are scattered across the mountains – over here, they are referred to as “Galerías”.
Pine trees condense cloud banks into water, which goes into the soil. This condensed water, together with natural precipitation, is filtered by the mountains, and eventually makes its way through to the Galerías and canals, as water of a very high quality. There are open canals, for what’s known as “banana water” and closed off ones, for drinking water. The banana water is used in agriculture; the drinking water is available to property owners through water rights, but is also chlorinated and offered as municipal water by the municipalities. You can buy the rights to water with one of the water companies. Prices vary per municipality and provider, but is based on the use of a certain amount of water per minute.
If you own water rights, a storage tank is necessary to create a buffer. The Municipal water company works in much the same way as in the UK: you pay for what you use. Water rights are generally drawn up in the current property owner’s name, but are generally offered in a package with the property. They then have to be transferred to the new owner upon sale. Naturally, this is also one of the services we provide.
When buying a house on La Palma, we take care of registering your purchase with all the proper authorities. This is a complicated process that has to be done in the right order to avoid delays and extra charges.
The most important aspect is the “Registro de Propiedades”, a register containing all plots and properties with their respective owners. Changes in this register can only be processed by notarial deed.
The “Cadastral” register is mainly used for tax purposes. Cadastral changes can only be processed by the local municipality using the deed of purchase.
It is important to register with the local authorities, for real estate tax, municipal tax and waste tax. Often, getting connected to the municipal water supply is also a matter for the local authorities.
We also make sure you are connected to the power grid and, if necessary, the internet and a landline for the telephone, when buying a house.
If you so wish, you can opt to officially authorise us to handle your affairs in your absence (in the UK this is known as giving us “Power of Attorney”).
Nowadays, most of La Palma is served by an ADSL connection. However, prices may be considerably higher than what you are used to at home: on average you should be looking at €49.00/£40.00 per month. Coverage of 4G on the island is increasing, at the moment “home-internet” is being offered at about £20 for 50Gb/month. Speed is very variable but it’s the fastest connectivity on the island.