Despite the deep hole Spanish banks have dug themselves over murky mortgage laws which has culminated in the refund of all monies property owners have grossly overpaid during the life of their mortgages, they are in deep water again with the European Commission (EC) for non-fulfillment of their obligations.

Along with Portugal, Croatia and Cyprus, on the 27th April 2017, the EC has decided to bring Spain before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for non compliance of the agreement to incorporate EU mortgage legislation into their own.

These countries had until the 21st March 2016 to include EU directives into their national laws but they have failed to do so and as a result they have defied regulations that would create a unified mortgage credit market across Europe with consumer protection high on the list of objectives to achieve.

If you bear in mind that Spain had to be “rescued” financially by Europe to resolve the chaos that ensued after the fall in the property market, it is incredible they would once again defy EU rulings in this matter. Even though the Spanish government declares the required text is being prepared, it has now been two years since formal proceedings began but they have yet to even produce a draft copy of new measures to be enforced or even a specific time-frame as to when this document may be available. They also state the reason for the delay is that Spain did not have a working government throughout 2016 so this matter could not be advanced further. Now it rests in the hands of the Court to evaluated the situation and take any action they deem necessary.

Why issue does the EC have in the way Spain handles mortgage constitutions? Basically the  total lack of transparency as many were not duly advised of the now famous floor clause meaning they would not benefit if the interest rate fell before the rate stated in their individual contract. This in itself goes agains consumer rights and principles based on legislation approved back in 1993. Take on board also dubious evictions and there is a serious case against the Spanish Economic Ministry.

In other news, BBVA has finally begun to refund their clients all overpayments incurred because of the floor clause FOUR years after the Supreme Court deemed their contracts null and void and even after they declared last December they must return these monies. Despite these rulings against their practices, BBVA resisted and delayed as much as they could until finally they have been forced to comply. In the latter half of April, they began to advise and pay their customers what they are owed.

To this date, I have received information showing that some banks still include some form of floor clause in newly formalized contracts but it is detailed or “disguised” differently. Be aware of these practices and contract legal advise if you are unsure whether your mortgage includes a floor clause or not.

Stay tuned to this blog as I will be announcing news shortly about reclaiming YOUR bank for any monies you may be entitled to as a consumer.

As we are all acutely aware, sole-traders have faced numerous challenges and an uphill battle with the government in order to secure better and fairer conditions that would benefit their businesses. Normally our Social contributions increase in January of every year, not so in 2017 as the rates were frozen according to the State Bulletin in February. However, it would seem there has been new movement in this area since the General State Budget was submitted last Friday and the government  in a new twist intends to increase the minimum rate for sole-traders by 3%.

For many years business owners have been promised better conditions to allow them to initiate their activity and survive those crucial first years without the heavy burdens of high Social Security contributions and taxes. Even though some improvements have been made since 2013, we still have a long way to go especially when we compare what other countries pay towards their Social Security for the privilege of being self-employed.

So it is Halloween and we were thinking about what scary scenarios we could present you this issue and then it hit us… what can be scarier than driving on roundabouts in Fuerteventura? The office has been inundated with messages from concerned drivers about how their worst nightmare is not understanding how roundabouts should be used and I’m sure all of us at one time or another has expressed the same concerns given the way some drivers on the island approach the “art” of tackling a roundabout.

One of the main expenses a business owner faces each month is their Social Security contribution. As we all know, Spain is renowned for its high rate just for the pleasure of having a business. Now I’m not saying contributions aren’t necessary, after all, this is used to fund sick pay, unemployment and pensions but there should be boundaries.

In previous articles, I have explained how Social Security determines the contribution business owners must pay each month but lets go over it again.

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