Catalonia introduces holiday rental licences for landlords

Begur, on the Costa Brava, where many property owners will be affected

Making a bit on the side with holiday rentals won’t be so easy in future for property owners in Catalonia. Following in the footsteps of The Balearics, the government of Catalonia has passed a decree making tourist rental licences obligatory for landlords.

The decree creates a new classification of housing called ‘vivienda de uso turístico’ or ‘tourist use housing’, which will apply to any residential property rented out for 3 months or less. From now on a licence, obtained from the local town hall, is required.

So rentals in Catalonia, holiday or otherwise, of 3 months or less, will be illegal in future without a licence. The cost of the licence and other conditions will be left up to local town halls to decide.

The regional government of Catalonia, or Generalitat, says the new regulations will raise standards for holiday rental clients whilst protecting landlords by making it easier to kick out troublesome clients.

More tax

What the Generalitat kept quiet is that the new licence will raise revenue and help the tax authorities clamp down on holiday rental income tax evasion. Many landlords, especially foreigners, charge cash and don’t declare rental incomes to the Spanish tax-man, which won’t be so easy in future.

Some half a million homes are rented out to tourists, according to estimates by the Generalitat. Landlords who rent without a licence in future will risk fines of between 30,000 and 90,000 Euros.

+ Tourist property rental licences in Barcelona and Catalonia (2008)



3 thoughts on “Catalonia introduces holiday rental licences for landlords”

  1. fiona

    The new legislation in Catalunya does not affect the renting out of a second home-it affects the use of a second home as a business venture,in particular the use of a private home as turist accommodation.A home owner will probably find that the property is classed as a “vivienda unifamiliar” ie,living accommodation for domestic use and there is no problem renting it out as such under the law “Ley de arrendamientos urbanos”.The owner does not have the right to rent out the property either directly or through an agency,as tourist accommodation or holiday home without the proper authorization.This was considered “explotacion de turismo clandestino” clandestine tourist trade but tended to escape detection as the local regulation only recognised “apartamientos turisicas”in blocks and not individual privately owned proprties which could claim “domicilio” to prevent inspections.The new terminology “vivienda de uso turistica”as a public local aims to close this loophole and deal with the illegal practices.It seems that the need for a business license from the local authorities will be revoked,though local approval from town planning will still be required to prevented the convertion of private homes into tourist estabiishments in unsuitable zones,before the property can be registered(as before) with the dept.Turisomo. in the”Registre de Turisme de Catalunya” Opening the doors of an unregistered property to the public is considered a seroius offence.The majority of the owners advertising their properties in Catalunya and ignoring the obvious that they’re in business and should have been registered,are commiting an illegal act and are facing being closed down and massive fines.They are also unlikely to find that the will get the local approval necessary having choosen to start business in residential housing estates where this activity is not permited or in blocks of private apartments where the neighbours rights are protected by the “ley de la propiedad horizontal” A property expert should be able to find the details in spring when the Generalitat de Catalunya publishes the latest decret.This should supply clear legal definition of the conditions of use of a property as a “vivienda de uso turistica” and the manner in which a property owner can convert a “vivienda familiar”into holiday accomodation if local council approval is granted.
    The idea of solving the problem of empty housing in Spain by loosely approving these conversions is not really viable.Local communities prefer the tourist establishments that provide safe and proper services for the clients,is beneficial to the community and importantly provides employment,allowing local residents to get mortgages to buy and live in these properties.Although the prices of these homes have not been helped by the tax dodging buy to rent out illegally brigade.I trust your recomended advertising agencey Home Lettings has a good diusclaimer policy and cannot be cited as a third party!

  2. James Mott

    Dear Mark,

    It is helpful to have an outline of the new Catalonian laws, but the material distinction between letting out a second home to tourists for l2 weeks a year while living in it oneself for five and half months a year, and letting out a property to tourists which is not lived in oneself is completely unclear. Is the tax on letting to be paid to the local Ayuntamiento (who are doing all the new registering of houses, agencies and tourist occupants) or to the Tribunal (where Patrimonio etc. are paid)?

    Best wishes, JM.

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About Mark Stücklin

Mark Stücklin is a Barcelona-based property market analyst and consultant, and author of the 'Spanish Property Doctor' column in the Sunday Times (2005 - 2008). He can be reached by email on