Sunscreen Yellowing, How to Live with Sunscreen

A crisp white t-shirt on sun-kissed skin, a brand new swimsuit for your days in the sun, a light and airy summer dress on your honey-coloured cherubs, it’s all part of the holiday daydream. In reality, by the end of the two weeks, that white t-shirt, the brand new costume, the cute summer dress, they are all looking yellow and downright mucky. The culprit? It’s sunscreen, or to be precise its active ingredient, Avobenzone.

Avobenzone is used to stop the UVA rays and these are the ones that cause premature aging and skin cancer. Other chemicals in sunscreen are more concerned with UVB rays and protecting you from sunburn.

Prevention

So, the first thing to do if you want to stop this pesky yellow staining is stop using Avobenzone-based sunscreen all together. You may consider this a crazy idea, but UVA Rays can be stopped by other chemicals that are in fact kinder to your skin. But that’s a whole other story. If it’s too late and your investment in sunscreen has been in the Avobenzone kind, worry not. You can prevent yellow staining by slathering it on before you get dressed. Apply to your skin and only put your clothes on once it’s all absorbed. For some, however, the urge to get out onto the beach can be too much. Waiting for sunscreen to do its thing is 10 minutes too long and if the cream does get to your threads then it’s time to talk about cure.

Cure

Bicarbonate soda, the home favourite and the saver of many things from teeth to silver jewellery, can help in your fight against the yellow. Sprinkle onto the stain and rub it in with and a bar of soap and leave for 30 minutes. Brush off the powder and wash in a washing machine. For bigger stains, Bar Keepers Friend, the traditional cleaning product launched in 1882, will help get rid of the biggest of sunscreen crimes. Just avoid using bleach based products as it will make the stain worse – deeper in colour and more stuck than ever before. But overall, whether you (or your clothes) fall victim to the yellow or not, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Wear sunscreen.

New tax form introduced to control holiday rental income

Hacienda, the Spanish tax authority, has recently published new legislation that will oblige all intermediaries in the rental of tourist accommodation, such us companies like Prestige Villas or holiday portals, to produce periodic statements identifying the owners of the properties being advertised and the amounts for which the rentals are offered to bring into the open all the undeclared tourist rentals by submitting the new Form 179.

Owners who rent their houses in Spain are required to declare rental income through Form 100 or Form 210 depending if the owner is a tax resident in Spain or not.

Form 179 will enter into force in July 2018, and those required to file this return will be required to provide information for the entire 2018 period, including the first two quarters of the year.

This new form must be filed on a quarterly basis during the month following the end of each quarter, as is the case with the quarterly IVA (VAT) declaration. I.e.: the first quarter will be presented in April and the second quarter in July.

In summary, every owner who has rented their property in Spain and do not declare the income, according to the new law from 2018, Hacienda, with the information received through Form 179, will know all the necessary details to claim the taxes for rental incomes to prepare and file the corresponding fine.

The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice but merely conveys general information related to tax and legal issues. If you are a property owner concerned about any of the information in this blog post, it is advisable that you speak with your Spanish tax advisor or accountant.

Moving to Mallorca – What Next?

So, you have bought your property in Mallorca, and the dream is about to become a reality. Exciting stuff! So what should come first?

Admin

The best advice is to get this done at the beginning. Use a local ‘gestoria’ and lawyer to advise you on the process and, if possible, to actually do it for you. The Oficina de Extranjería (Immigration Office) is not the most exciting place in the world – in fact, this is definitely not the Mallorca you were dreaming of – but to get what you need, you have to be there physically. If you are moving here full-time, a residencia card is obligatory, and if you are coming from the UK with Brexit looming, it’s best to get it done.

Tax is also something to think about, as a non-resident you are liable to pay a non-resident income tax, if you are renting your property then you need to declare your income. See our Tax Guide here.

At a more local level, signing on to the Padrón at your Town Hall is a happier item on your to-do list. Take your passport, NIE (or Residencia card if you already have it), the deeds to your property and a recent utility bill, and you will receive a ‘Certificado de Empadronamiento’. Along with being registered and able to vote in local elections, the best of all is an entitlement to discounted travel around Spain. Flights to the mainland can be reduced by 50%, inter-island travel by 75%. You can get the ‘Certificado de Viaje’ once you’re on the Padrón and it is well worth the bother!

Language

If you’re getting mixed up with your “buenos días” and “bon dia”, your “gracias” and “gràcies”, then you know of the language complexities in your new home. While many live in Mallorca without learning a single word of Spanish or Catalan, those that do can definitely notice a difference in their daily life. Neighbours become friends, shopkeepers know you by name, the people in your preferred coffee bar will know what you want before you’ve sat down; in general, people open up to you.

There are language schools in the north, and there are private teachers who offer one-to-one sessions and conversation classes. Also, as English is essential to islanders, many are keen to learn from you. Language exchanges are frequent and these involve nothing more than sitting having a coffee and chatting in two languages, picking up vocabulary and phrases along the way.

For children, the younger they are, the easier it will be for them to learn. With sponge-like brains, their capacity to pick up a new language will thrill and astound you. In a local school, the children can receive extra help, but nothing works better than playing with new friends.

Social Life

Depending on where you are living, you will find it relatively easy to find new friends. Foreign residents tend to converge naturally as they frequent the same bars and restaurants. But once the novelty wears off, there are plenty of ways to integrate and meet people from the whole community.

Sports Centres in the north have swimming classes and regular municipal-run activity for many sports including general fitness. There are also private groups that meet every week including football, rugby, netball, athletics and more. Trail running in the Tramuntana is popular, and many meet at the weekends and compete in local races. Language classes will help you join in fully, but even if your grasp of the language is weak, a willingness to learn is often repaid with patience and help.

If sport is not your thing, there are plenty of local groups and organisations that hold regular meetings and events. Whether it’s charity appeals or wine appreciation, bridge or art classes, there’s plenty of activity, and a quick look on Facebook or asking around will point you in the right direction.

Life in Mallorca is relaxed, it can be cold and quiet in the winter, lively and bright in the summer, but each season rewards with its stunning landscape and inimitable charm. There’s so much more to it than the beach and living here (for long holidays or long-term) means it is all there for the taking.

Holiday rental license prices revealed

The Board of Tourist Accommodation Exchange (CBAT) will approve the pricing to buy holiday bed licenses in the Balearics on the 26th June.

To set minimums, the CBAT has determined prices for each sector which include 875 Euros per place of occupancy for apartments, 3,500 Euros for villas and townhouses and 391,67 Euros for those who choose to rent their home for up to 60 days. There will be the possibility to split this payment into five yearly instalments.

All licenses require the habitability certificate to determine the maximum occupancy which cannot be surpassed.

Owners will have the option to renew the licenses every five years and additionally if they wish they can sell them back since they acquire them in usufruct.

Both hoteliers and homeowners will have to start paying the new prices once they are in force. Holiday homeowners will be able to buy these places from the moment in which the tourist zoning in Mallorca is approved.

The total number of places that the CBAT currently controls is 42,000 and the funds collected will be invested to improve tourist infrastructure. An investment of 9 million Euros is expected for this year.

When to apply for a renting license and how much it will cost

For the past year, we’ve been writing about the current situation regarding renting licenses for holiday villas and apartments on our blog. Specifically, we’ve discussed the legal requirements, the zoning project. Today we are back with an update that helps shed some light on some of the points that need more clarification: when and how much will licenses cost.

Provisional date

The Mallorca Council has prepared a new zoning proposal after the feedback received from the different municipalities of the island, and now the Environmental Commission of the Balearics has a month to finalise their report. This report is expected to be approved in the parliament session on the 12th July, allowing for new licence applications to be accepted from the 15th July. In the case of the capital, Palma, it looks like it might take a few weeks more until the 1st August, as their zoning proposal was introduced at a later date.

Cost

There will be a cost per bed or place of occupation, and although the final price has not come out yet, it’s been announced that it will be below the standard hotel bed license fee, currently around 4000€. Although the licenses will need to be renewed every five years, this substantial initial payment will be a one-off.

5 Tips for Selling your Home

There’s no doubt of the desirability of owning property in Mallorca, so selling one should be a piece of cake, right? Well, if you are serious about selling it and doing so quickly, then not really.

The island is awash with beautiful properties. Many potential buyers will have stayed in some during their holidays, some may have decided to buy based on their experience of their luxury holiday home in Mallorca. Your property needs to live up to that dream; the buyers’ expectations.

Think about the character of your property, nine times out of ten, that is what buyers want. So walking into a home that you have lived in for the past ten years which is full of things that make up your daily life is not going to conjure their vision of life in Mallorca. Perhaps your property has been rented for a while and wear and tear is showing through. A cluttered house in a sad state does not shout “Mallorca Living”.

Tip 1: Have a good old clear out

It’s time-consuming and a pain, sometimes emotionally draining even, but you have to do it anyway so why not get started and improve the overall image of your property? A wide open space shows potential while a crammed and busy space just feels small.

Tip 2: Blank canvas & presentation 

Once you have this job out of the way, let us get cracking with the photo shoot. This is the first opportunity to give that perfect first impression. While you may have got rid of clutter, for the photos, take away personal items. Think about your home becoming a blank canvas for someone to come in and make their own.

Open up all the doors, windows and shutters and shed some light on the subject. Make it light and airy, inviting and attractive. We will do our best to highlight the character of your home and be sure to capture each and every part.

Tip 3: Cleanliness

With the above steps carried out, it’ll soon be time for viewings. Potential buyers are intrigued by the photos, now make this a reality. This is another first impression opportunity and it has to look good from the beginning, ie from the garden gate or front door. It should smell good too. Get rid of any rubbish, recycling and perhaps skip the fish dinner the night before. Neutralise your home, have fresh bed linen on the beds, mop the floors, put your old shoes away, wash the pet bedding and move rubbish/recycling bins out of the way.

Tip 4: Get everything working seamlessly 

At the viewing, let your Estate Agent do the selling, try and stay away so that potential buyers will feel comfortable enough to have a good look around. And be sure that when they do, your buyers don’t find any annoying things like a broken step, a door that won’t shut. Fix all these small jobs, it will make a difference.

Tip 5: Price

Lastly, it’s important to note, no one will bother to look if the price is wrong. Listen to your Estate Agent and look at similar properties that have just been sold in the area. You may be selling a Mallorcan dream, but it has to be at the right price.

Take a look at our range of properties for sale in North Mallorca. 

A Dream Cycling Holiday in the North of Mallorca

When it comes to luxury villas, Mallorca has them in spades. And, when it comes to your cycling holiday on the island, you don’t have to miss out on the best property Mallorca has to offer.

Here in the north there are plenty of rental villas that can complete your dream cycling trip. So, here is a checklist that will help you make the all-important selection.

Luxury Villa for your Cycling Trip – A Checklist

Check the location. Is it near the main cycling routes? Can you easily get to bike shops and centres for all important supplies and maintenance?

In the north of Mallorca, the ride to Lluc and into the Tramuntana are popular. The cap de Formentor (soon to be exclusive to cyclists and the odd shuttle bus), the road up to La Victoria, as well as the wetlands, coastal routes and country lanes in between are all a happy cyclist’s playground. Choose your villa with the routes in mind.

Whether you travelled with your bike, or you’ve rented one from one of the excellent suppliers here on the island, the last thing you want is for it to go missing or get damaged. When you’re selecting accommodation, look at the security. Can you lock your bikes away, is there a protected area undercover for the bikes to be stored out of any bad weather?

Test the R&R – this is your holiday after all. After a long day on the saddle, you want to be able to relax and your choice of villa can determine how well you do this. Does the villa have a pool or Jacuzzi for those aching legs? Do you have some space for a massage?

If you’re looking at a countryside property, look at the access. Is it a smooth ride or a bumpy track to the entrance?

How about facilities? Make sure there is a decent washing machine. You need to feel fresh every day when you hit the road. Also, for hanging out post- or pre- ride, is there enough to keep you entertained? Games room, satellite TV… the best villas will cater for all tastes and needs.

Our Luxury Villas for Cyclists

Here at Prestige Villas, we have just what you need. Here’s a selection of our favourites:

Can Menut Nou

So often we hear, “I want a villa with countryside surroundings but just a 5 minute walk to the town.” It’s not always easy to work miracles, but with Can Menut Nou, it is. This villa is right on the edge of Pollensa Old Town, round the corner from the road to Lluc. What’s more it has a Jacuzzi, pool and a table tennis table.

Estrella de Calvari

The jewel in Pollensa’s crown are the Calvari steps. Many a wanderer has taken in the stunning properties while also taking in the view of this beautiful old town. Set back from the steps, Estrella del Calvari is away from the tourist trail so privacy is not an issue, and its modern design and breathtaking views will make you feel like the King or Queen of the Calvari (just bear in mind that it comes with a hilly walk — or ride — up, depending on how tired and wobbly your legs are feeling).

Casa Lluna

Heading down to Campanet, Casa Lluna will get you right on track for the Tramuntana cycling routes. Whether you’re heading up through Selva and on to Lluc, or looping your way to Soller, this villa is at a superb starting point. Just beware that once you’re in, it will be difficult to leave. The design and quality of this beautiful house will make you feel right at home.

Moscari I

The idea that holiday rental villas need a neutral or blank canvas interior is lost on this holiday home from home. Many a chic boutique hotel screams with character and so does Moscari I. Executed with style, taste and with no expense spared, this luxury villa adds a splash of colour to your cycling holiday. In fact your fitness levels will get a boost just from rushing to get back to it every day.

Moscari II

This luxury holiday home can be connected to its big brother, Moscari I, so your cycling holiday party can get bigger than you thought. Expect more of the same character and chic boutique feel and say hello to the pool table and tennis court. Oh yes, this could make your dream cycling holiday come true.

For more properties in Mallorca, check out our website: villa rentals and sales.

 

 

Easter in North Mallorca

Easter in Mallorca is a somewhat sombre and serious affair. It all starts with Lent, right after the craziness of carnival is cleared up. The first day of the seven weeks of restriction is marked with the chopping down of the St Antoni pine (a whole other story).

The poster-girl and legend of Lent, La Jaia Corema watches over the children and one of her seven legs is cut off as each week passes. On Easter Saturday she is taken down from the wall she’s been hung on and cut in two. And the children tuck into their sweets.

Palm Sunday

Rewind to the weekend before, and the Diumenge del Ram (Palm Sunday to you and me) is the first Easter event to witness. Palms are made into fantastic shapes and sizes and hung on front doors and balconies. A Palmerero will prepare the palm leaves well in advance to grow them in the characteristic white colour. Made by hand, the decorations range from simple plaited designs that children can make, or more elaborate ornaments that can take three days to produce. On the morning of Diumenge de Rams, after the blessing of the Palm, the priest and children of the church form a parade, palm in hand, and walk from the Monti-Sion church to the main church in the square.

Holy Thursday

On the evening of Dijous Sant (Maundy Thursday) the Last Supper, the Betrayal of Jesus and other scenes from the Easter story are depicted in the streets and plazas of Pollensa. A parade of townsfolk, in all their penitents garb, leads Jesus to witness these scenes as he drags the cross over his shoulder. Known as the Processó de la Sang (Procession of the Blood of Christ) it is all very sombre and well worth coming out to see. But this is not the main Easter event in Pollensa, the Good Friday procession is what puts this little town on Mallorca’s fiesta map.

Good Friday

Known as the Davallament, the hooded confrarias (brotherhoods from various parts of the town), move slowly down the famous Calvari Steps. The scene, in silence except the eerie beating of a drum, with a sea of torches and pointed hoods against the night sky while the Calvari chapel peers down from the top of the hill, is a spine-tingling affair. Whether you’re a believer or not, this display of Easter is a sight to behold. For the full impact, make your way up the Calvari steps, half way up is perfect, and make sure you have your spot before they leave from the top. Get your camera ready, this is a photographer’s dream.

Easter Sunday

Come Sunday morning, the market in Pollensa becomes a secondary distraction as the Procesión del Santo Encuentro culminates in the main square and the image of Jesus meets the image of his mother. The joy of the event is followed by a quick and perhaps surprising spectacle of gunfire. Rounds shift in turn between different rooftops, once it’s over those inclined head to church for the solemn Mass.

Easter is all tied up on the Monday or Tuesday with a mini-pilgrimage to out of the way refugis. In Alcudia the ‘Pancaritat al Santuario de la Victoria’ is held every year and those that joined the pilgrimage can enjoy a paella at the top. This is the same in Pollensa when, after walking up the Puig de Maria, everyone comes together for a giant Paella.

Practicalities

Diumenge del Ram: Solemn Mass and procession starts at 11.45am

Dijous Sant: Processó de la Sang starts at 9.15pm. The Quadres de Passió are set up in the Plaza Major, Sant Jordi, the stations of the cross on the Calvari, the St Isidre fountain and at the Convent.

Davallament: the descent begins around 9pm. Make sure you’re in situ before then. It gets crowded all of a sudden.

Where to Stay

For a selection of properties walking distance to the events, see our townhouses in Pollença. Click here.

Traffic restrictions to access the Formentor Lighthouse in 2018

Starting this summer, cars will not be allowed to access the lighthouse in Formentor. The beach in Formentor and Hotel Formentor will still be accessible by car. The only way to access the tip of Cape Formentor will be by bus from the new bus station in Port de Pollença.

We don’t know yet when this measure will be applied, as it depends on other factors such us preparing the bus line that will supply this service. This shuttle service will be the alternative means of access whereby car drivers would need to park in Port de Pollença. The shuttle service is dependent on the new concessions for Mallorca’s bus network, which aren’t due to come into effect until the start of 2019. However, traffic restrictions are being considered for this summer, and Pollença’s Mayor, Miquel Àngel March suggests that discussions regarding the shuttle service are “at an advanced stage”, implying that it could start as early as this summer. The authorities are wanting to limit access between May and October during a specific time window which is still unknown.

In previous years, the road to Formentor has seen as many as 12.300 cars a day during the peak season.

Other areas of the Serra de Tramuntana (Tramuntana Mountain Range) will also have limited access. Another example is Sa Calobra, where the limited number of parking spaces will be monitored by parking sensors to allow drivers to know in advance whether they’ll be able to find a spot before congesting the scenic road. There is a limit already to the number of buses that can do this route a day: 35.

Another area suffering from oversaturation is the Port de Valldemossa although the authorities are still studying the matter and assessing if any restrictions will take place as this road is considered one of the most dangerous in the area.

Renting License Requirements

A current trending and a much-debated topic of conversation right now is the regulations surrounding renting licenses in the Balearic Islands. Take note that before now, owners who wished to rent their property to tourists had to have a permit to do so. Apartments did not, however, comply with the guidelines to get a license and therefore were rented unregistered. Villas could apply and obtain a licence, called an ETV, at the local tourism authorities.

Right now, however, there has been a freeze on granting licenses until 1st August 2018, at the latest. Once this moratorium has been lifted, both apartments and villas alike will be able to apply for a permit, providing they comply with the strict stipulations listed below:

– Must be in an approved zone
Just recently the president of the Consell de Mallorca, Miquel Ensenyat, the councillor of Land and Infrastructure, Mercedes Garrido and the councillor of Economic Affairs, Cosme Bonet presented the provisional zoning project for holiday rentals. You can see more about that in our previous blog post by clicking here.

– Cédula de habitabilidad / Certificate of Occupancy
Spanish law requires this document to control H&S conditions in any dwelling. This also dictates the maximum occupancy of the property.

– Age of building
The building needs to be at least five years old.

– Certificado Energético / Energy Certificate
With a scale from A to G. The law requires at least D for buildings finished after 2008 and F for older ones.

– Water meter
Every house or apartment must have an independent water meter as opposed to shared communal meter.

– Building community authorisation
The majority of neighbours in a community must authorise vacation rentals. This is a sticky point, as these associations change, the stance of the neighbours can change over time. If this authorisation was withdrawn, it would void the renting license, and the owner would have to stop marketing the holiday apartment immediately.

– Insurance
A comprehensive holiday rental insurance with third-party liability coverage of at least 300,000€.

– Data collection
All guests need to be dully logged with the Spanish National Police.

– License limit
There is a limit of 3-holiday properties per owner and sorely individuals as opposed to businesses or corporations.

– Length of the license
5 years after which the permit needs to be renewed. There are rumours that this limit will only apply to apartments whereas townhouses and holiday villas will not need to renew their licenses.

– Beds / places
The beds or places of occupancy must be purchased from an island-wide stock shared with the hotels. At the moment there are around 42,000 beds available in this stock. There has been a lot of speculation regarding the price, however, this has not been announced yet.

Our team at Prestige Villas will keep a close eye on upcoming news regarding the holiday rental legislation. Keep up to date by subscribing to our newsletter: click here.