Having already caused a stir in the UK and Malta this year, Pope Benedict XVI has taken the pope-mobile for a spin in the sunny South-Western nation of Spain. And as usual, the old criticisms of the state’s gay marriage, divorce and abortion reforms have courted controversy and anger. But there’s no need to be worried that the once staunchly catholic nation will slip under the influence of the fundamentalist Vatican’s words, so keep searching for house insurance Spain has defended its policies and gently reminded the 83-year-old Pope that Spain is a secular society.
The Pope was particularly critical of what he views as ‘aggressive secularism’, equating the legalisation of Gay weddings, the relaxation of abortion and divorce laws and the elimination of compulsory religious education with Spanish movements in the 1930s. The Spanish Media were quick to criticise the comparison, which was intended to remind Spain of the excesses of the anti-church Second Spanish Republic, but instead would recall and apparently side with the pro-catholic General Franco, whose fascist regime lasted for 25 years. Eyebrows have been raised and some are suggesting that he’s one second home insurance policy short of a dream holiday home.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Socialist leader behind the criticised reforms, effectively snubbed the Pope during the visit, choosing instead to visit Spanish troops in Afghanistan. Meeting the Pope for a handshake at Barcelona airport at the end of his trip, he restated the country’s ‘smooth relationship’ with the Vatican. But Zapatero was keen to remind the pope that the Spanish constitution ‘guarantees the freedom of all’ even despite the vast catholic majority and general importance of the church in the nation.
Zapatero continues to make Spain a more secular society, thus making it appealing to the wider European community. There can be little surprise in a sense, because Spain relies so heavily on tourism and the international markets, its domestic economy weakened by problems with the property market. But the general picture is very good for foreign buyers, who will find many bargains on holiday homes and insurance for holiday homes as a result.
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Letting agents can be very useful for both tenants and landlords to use when renting properties as they can help to deal with all the administration and other associated details. Our guide gives you advice on how to decide which letting agent to use. One really important thing to consider is the quality of the company. To find out more about them, ask them for reviews from their previous customers so you can judge for yourself the quality of service and level of satisfaction on offer.
You should also ask your prospective letting agent whether they are members of any professional bodies or organizations. If they are, this is generally a sign that they are good at what they do and you can expect their service to be good as they’ll be regulated by the standards expected by their professional organization. Not being a member of a professional group doesn’t mean that the letting agent will definitely be bad, but you should definitely be wary as most good ones will have membership.
Another issue for both tenants and landlords to think about is the size of the agent they use. This is probably something that concerns landlords more as they’re more likely to have their sights set on expansion, but it’s worth thinking about for everyone. This is because while a small, local letting agency is more likely to have a detailed knowledge of their local area, a bigger national agency is more likely to be in contact with much larger networks.
The sort of properties the agent lets should also play apart in your decision about which letting agent to use. Some agents specialize in particular types of let, such as apartment blocks, while others rent out all types of properties so you should try and find one that can handle with your precise specifications. This is more likely to lead to a mutually beneficial relationship. Also consider the operating area of the agent – do they focus on lets in one area or do they cover a wider geographical area?
Finally, you should also make sure that your chosen letting agent is adept at handling any issues between tenants and landlord as they arise, and that they have good channels of communication in place. This will help you have a more positive renting experience as it means the agent will be much more likely to be able to deal with any queries or issues that come up and that there’ll be a much more beneficial relationship between tenant, agent and landlord.
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