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Brexit backlash as EU properties being sold by expats: ‘Not a nice feeling’


British expats in Europe have faced chaos in recent months as post-Brexit rules plunge many into uncertainty. Now that the UK is a third country to the EU, Britons are limited to stays of 90 days within every 180 days in the bloc. Before the EU-UK trade deal was implemented on January 1, expats were able to enter and leave member state countries on a whim In Spain, Britons looking to register as residents of the country are now facing bureaucracy and have to prove earnings of £2,000-a-month — and £500 more for each dependent — as well as acquire Spanish driving licences.

Many have even left their European homes and headed back to the UK.

In March Henny Illingworth, a real estate agent in Malaga, Spain, explained why so many Britons are becoming disenfranchised with their European homes.

She told WION: “Previously as an EU citizen in Spain I had the right to be here, and now I just have permission to stay. It does a feel a big difference and there has been a huge amount of uncertainty and misinformation the last few years.

“It leaves me feeling like, ‘Am I safe? Am I stable here?’. It’s not a very nice feeling to live with.”

Ms Illingworth explained that this feeling has led to many British “swallows” selling their properties as the new rule make staying in the EU “not worth it”.

She added: “We actually have some properties up for sale which, they were known as British swallows, people would come over for a few months of the year.

“Some of those people then rent out their properties for business during the summer, some of them leave them empty, but now British citizens are going to have to follow this strict 90 in 180 day rule when before they could come over for four or five months.

READ MORE: Brexit: Expats in Italy warned ‘taxes could rise by thousands’

Previously calculated on 0.76 percent of the council tax valuation of a UK property, the IVIE wealth tax will now be calculated on its purchase price or market valuation.

For years the continental rule book meant the Italian tax authority calculated these bills using Britain’s outdated council tax system, which uses property valuations dating back to the early Nineties.

But the annual wealth tax will now be based on the properties’ true, modern-day market value, now that Britain is no longer part of the EU.

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