Spain was traditionally a popular get away for Brits which has seen thousands buy homes and start a new life in the country.
Newly enforced post-Brexit rules now means that Brits can only stay in Spain for a maximum of 90 days within every 180 days.
British expats have been warned that they face deportation as there is now “zero leeway for emergencies” should they have no choice to break the 90-day rule in the country.
Leon Fernando Del Canto, the founder of London-based international tax set Del Canto Chambers, wrote in The Times, “British homeowners in Spain must now comply with rules that mean that non-EU nationals can stay in the country for a maximum of 90 days in every 180.
“They face potential deportation or a ban from the country should they outstay their welcome.
“There is zero leeway for emergencies, whether family crises, attending to property issues or any other urgent matter. Border control data systems mean nobody will go unnoticed.”
He also slammed Spain and accused the Spanish government of showing a “lack of reciprocity” as the UK allows EU residents to stay for up to six months with no visas.
Del Canto said that British expats would have to become permanent residents in the country, but this comes with costs of more than £1,600 in consulate fees to get hold of the documents.
He added that “it is imperative that the Spanish government resolves this problem.”
Del Canto said, “The European Convention on Human Rights states that individuals have a legal right to ‘peacefully enjoy’ the possession of their home and deprivation of possessions by states should be subject to certain fair and equitable conditions.
“It is worth noting that in addition to the UK being a member of the Council of Europe, the ECHR applies to any foreign citizen in Spain.
“State rules preventing people from peacefully enjoying their property, independently of whether it is their main residence, are likely directly to violate that convention right.”
He further warned that any legal proceedings can only start when all routes that could provide redress in Spain for any alleged violations have been followed.
He added that this “could take years.”
A Downing Street spokesman said, “The rights of UK nationals to continue living, working and studying in their EU Member State are protected by law. Anyone legally resident before January 1, 2021, can stay but should register their residence.
“The UK Government has been running a public information campaign across Europe to inform UK nationals about the actions they may need to take to secure their rights and access to services.
“This includes outreach events, adverts on social media and in newspapers, and support through our network of Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates.”
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has explained: “On July 6 2020, the Spanish government introduced a new residence document for UK nationals living in Spain who have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement – the Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE).
“This biometric card explicitly states that it has been issued to the holder under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement.
“All UK nationals legally resident in Spain before January 1 2021 have the right to request this card.
“If you register as resident after July 6 2020 but were living in Spain before January 1 2021, you must follow a two-step process to obtain your TIE.
“If you meet the requirements and your application is approved you will be issued with the TIE.”