Region-by-region update on Spain’s holiday rental law

Beach-front holiday rental on the Costa Brava

Beach-front holiday rental on the Costa Brava

EDITOR’S NOTE: Many people buy a second home in Spain with the idea of renting it out when they are not using it, but are confused by the patchwork of regional regulations governing short-term rentals to tourists. Rental-expert Louise Brace makes it easier to understand what is going on with this summary of the latest situation in each region.

By Louise Brace.

This summer saw the highest recorded number of holidaymakers visiting Spain’s top tourist destinations and increasingly, they’re choosing holiday rentals as their accommodation of choice. In fact, according to research by TripAdvisor, Spain is now the most popular European destination for holiday rental holidays.

It’s been three years since the Spanish government excluded holiday rentals from the LAU (Ley Arrendamientos Urbano) and delegated the task of regulating the industry to its 17 regional governments. Still only 11 of the 17 autonomous communities have published a decree to regulate holiday rentals. Find out the latest status in your region.

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ANDALUSIA
Is it regulated? No, but you can view the latest draft decree for Andalucía here.
Due Date: Owners can register from 11th May 2016 on the Registro de Turismo de Andalucía. They will have three months to register, before the Junta de Andalucía have warned they will issue fines.
Essentials: Cooling and heating system required, can offer single room occupancy
Points to watch out for: Owners with three plus properties situated within same building, complex, or within a 1km radius must register as ‘Apartamento Turístico’. Stricter regulations are applied.

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ARAGON
Is it regulated? Yes under the Decreto 80/15
Since: May 2015
Essentials: Maximum stay 1 month, single-room occupancy not permitted
Points to watch out for: Owners and agents with properties in the same building must register as ‘Apartamento Turístico’. Stricter regulations are applied.
To register your property: Details on how to register your property can be found in the decree

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ASTURIAS
Is it regulated? Yes under the Decreto/34 2003
Since: April 2003
Essentials: Properties classified as Viviendas Vacacionales or Casas de Aldea (properties located in rural areas), your property must be available during July, August and September, to be able to offer during other periods of the year
Points to watch out for: Apartments in multifamily buildings are not regulated. register as ‘Apartamento Turístico’. Stricter regulations are applied.
To register your property: Registro de Empresas y Actividades Turísticas

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]BALEARIC ISLANDS
Is it regulated? Yes under the Decreto 20/2015 (amended version)

Since: 2012
Essentials: A maximum of 12 guests/6 bedrooms may be offered,
Points to watch out for: Only unifamily homes can register: villas, chalets, townhouses. Apartments in multifamily buildings are excluded from the decree.
To register your property: Inscription for Tourist and Activities and Accommodation

Note: The regional government is studying an update to current regulations

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BASQUE COUNTRY – PAIS VASCO
Since: April 2013
Essentials: Single-room occupancy is permitted, maximum 12 guests/6 bedrooms
Points to watch out for: Currently only owners or managers with a portfolio of two plus properties may register
To register your property: Tourist Business and Accommodation Register
Note: The regional government is in the process of updating its Tourism Act and regulations will be updated.
Is it regulated? Yes under the Decreto 198/2013

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CANARY ISLANDS
Is it regulated?
Yes under the Decreto 113/2015
Since: May 2015
Note: The National Commission for Markets and Competition requested the decree be revisited, claiming that the previous government changed points in the decree at the last minute, including unnecessary obstacles for owners. The new Canary Islands Government are currently revisiting the content of the decree.
Essentials: Single-room occupancy is not permitted, guest details must be logged with the police
Points to watch out for: The decree currently excludes no less than 90% of holiday rentals, as properties situated in tourist designated areas were excluded and homes situated within a residential community needed agreement from the community to go ahead.
To register your property: Present your Declaration of Responsibility (Declaración de Responsabilidad) at your local or regional town hall (Cabildo Insular). The decree sets out the requirements.


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CANTABRIA
Is it regulated? Yes under the Decreto 19/2014
Since: March 2014
Essentials: No single room occupancy is permitted.
Points to watch out for: Owners should also have public liability insurance in place to apply.
To register your property: Holiday rentals should register under the category Alojamiento Turistico Extrahotelero (Non-hotel accommodation). Further information and application forms for registering your holiday rental in Cantabria.

Note: Owners must also register the activity with the tax office (Hacienda) and Social Security.


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CASTILE-LA MANCHA
Is it regulated? No
Notes: The regional government of Castile-La Mancha is discussing the introduction of regulations. No definite date has been set.

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CASTILE & LEON
Is it regulated? No

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CATALONIA
Is it regulated? Yes under the Decret 159/2012

Since: November 2012
Special Note BARCELONA: The granting of licences in the capital has been frozen for two years, as of May 2014
Essentials: Owners must take a copy of guest passports and all guest details must be logged with the police, your H.U.T. number should be included in all advertising, properties must have a first licence of occupation.
Points to watch out for: It’s free to register, but individual councils (ayuntamientos) may charge a procedural fee to register and you will need to pay (145 €) if you want your holiday rental quality graded
To register your property: Follow the link to the necessary application forms and FAQs for registering your holiday rental in Catalonia

Note: Access is given to an online platform where you register every guest, a tourist tax may be applied in the future.

flag-extremadura
EXTREMADURA
Is it regulated? No

flag-galicia
GALICIA
Is it regulated? Yes under the original Decreto 52/2011

Since: March 2011
Essentials: Single family homes i.e. villas, chalets and townhouses can apply for a holiday rental licence. Apartments are not regulated under the old decree.
Points to watch out for: There is a registration fee (check with your regional tourism office)
To register your property:  Decree and application form to register your holiday rental in Galicia.

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LA RIOJA
Is it regulated? No
Note: The regional government of La Rioja are working towards a decree to regulate holiday rentals. Further news is due to be announced at the end of this year.

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COMMUNITY OF MADRID
Is it regulated? Yes under the Decreto 79/2014

Since: July 2014
Special Note MADRID CITY: The regional government ruled that holiday rentals in the capital could offer a minimum stay of five days. The average stay is four days, effectively excluding holiday rentals from city and weekend break market.
Essentials: Single-room occupancy is not permitted, properties must offer free Wifi
Points to watch out for: Applications must presented together with with a floor plan, stamped by an architect or surveyor.
To register your property: Decree, July 2014 and application form to register your holiday rental in Madrid. Applications can also be presented at a post office.
Note: The CNMC (National Commission for Markets and Competition) have stepped in, alleging the situation in the capital makes it impossible for owners to compete against hotels. No action has yet been taken to change the situation.

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REGION OF MURCIA
Is it regulated? No
Note: The regional tourist board have suggested that regulations may be introduced with the publication of the new Tourism Regional Act. No date has been given.

flag-navarre
NAVARRE
Is it regulated? Yes under the original Decreto Foral 230/2011

Since: November 2011
Essentials: Properties are categorised as ‘Casa Rural’ if the property is built in the traditional architectural style of the region and ‘Apartamento Turístico/Vivienda Turística’ if the property is a modern construction.
Points to watch out for: As of 3/10/2015 all properties must include their registration number in advertising.
To register your property: The Registro de Turismo websites contains Information and application forms to register your holiday rental in Navarra

Note: Applications are processed by Tourism and completed at the local town hall (ayuntamiento). At this point a registration fee will be payable.

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VALENCIAN COMMUNITY
Is it regulated? Yes under the original Decreto 92/2009 which was updated this year to Decreto 75/2015

Since: July 2009 and amended May 2015
Essentials: This year it has become compulsory to register your property
Points to watch out for: If you manage five or more properties you must register as a Tourist Company.
To register your property: Download the application forms and present your Declaración Responsable at a local tourism office, online with an electronic signature or at the post office.
Note: Registration codes for private owners start VT and managers and businesses EGVT. Followed by a code for each province.

UNREGULATED REGIONS

In regions where regulations have yet to be introduced, owners should still be able to rent out their property for short-term accommodation under the original LAU (Urban Tenancy Act), as long as there has been no ruling to exclude holiday rentals. In this case, it is not permitted to advertise the property anywhere – on or offline – as tourist accommodation.

A legal contract must be prepared for every guest. We recommend you check with a legal representative for your region.
Holiday rental regulations are changing frequently across the regions. It’s advisable to check for updates with your local tourist board.

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21 thoughts on “Region-by-region update on Spain’s holiday rental law”

  1. Neil

    Well I might not know the in’s and out’s of these regulations, but you can bet your bottom dollar there will be taxes to pay.
    My advice your second home is a pure luxury,so just let your mates stay for free!

  2. Lisa

    Dear Louise,

    This raises a question we had. If you only allow family and friends to stay in your house or do a house swap, we assume you dont need a licence?

    Many thanks,

    Lisa

  3. Profile photo of Louise Brace - Rental TonicLouise Brace - Rental Tonic Post Author

    Hi Lisa

    If no money is changing hands, if only friends and family are staying, then you wouldn’t need to apply for a licence. If you’re property is found being advertised as a holiday rental, but you argue that you only have friends and family staying, then you may find you have problems.

    The topic of house swaps is an interesting one, but I’m afraid I’ve no idea. There is no law that says you can’t exchange your property for a short-term, but I would recommend chatting to your local ayuntamiento, or a legal person to clarify this.

    Hope that helps a little!
    Louise

        1. Profile photo of Louise Brace - Rental TonicLouise Brace - Rental Tonic Post Author

          Hi Angi

          Hi Angie

          Orba is in the province of Alicante, is that correct?

          The registration there is in effect. The application (declaración responsable) can be found on this link: http://www.gva.es/en/inicio/procedimientos?id_proc=14752

          If you have an electronic signature, you can carry out the whole process online, if not, then you will need to complete the online form, download it and present it at one of the local tourism departments, or at the post office.

          Hope that helps
          Louise

    1. Profile photo of Louise Brace - Rental TonicLouise Brace - Rental Tonic Post Author

      Hi Ian

      You’ll have to register the property under the Registro de Turismo de Andalucía. The requirements are distinct to those for Viviendas Turísticas.

      Here is a link to the decree, which sets out what you need within the property and how to register: http://www.juntadeandalucia.es/turismoydeporte/opencms/areas/servicios/normativas/detalle/Decreto-194-2010-de-20-de-abril-de-establecimientos-de-apartamentos-turisticos/

      Do you speak Spanish? The decrees are long and laborious to read!

      Best wishes
      Louise

  4. Profile photo of Sue GSue G

    Dear Louise,

    We are looking to buy and rent out in Lanzarote. If we bought a property in a rural location outside a village or small town am I right in thinking that we would have to apply for a tourist licence but we could advertise our property where we chose? If so what constitutes ‘rural’?

    Kind regards,

    Sue

    1. Profile photo of Louise Brace - Rental TonicLouise Brace - Rental Tonic Post Author

      Dear Sue

      I don’t have the answer to that one I’m afraid. The Canary Islands is a complicated region, which published it’s decree to regulate holiday rentals and then withdrew it to study the situation again.

      I would highly recommend you contact a local lawyer to Lanzarote about your situation and to ask about rural properties. I also understand that each region had slightly different ways of interpreting the law, so it’s much better to check locally.

      I would also recommend that you get in touch with local representative of ASCAV. The association who are working for owners to get fair regulations in place. You only have to give a minimum donation to join and you can then get all the information you need on regulations in your area. Visit: http://www.ascav.es/

      Good luck!
      Louise

      1. Clive

        Dear Louise
        We have had a property in Almunecar for over 10 years and have been renting out for 4 years. Our agent has told us nothing about this but friends of ours who live here have told us about this. They said we had to register by May but on one of the websites says you can register from the 15th May.
        Which is correct and how do we go about registering bearing in mind our main residence is in England?

        1. Profile photo of Louise Brace - Rental TonicLouise Brace - Rental Tonic Post Author

          Hi Clive

          Registration opens on May 11th and if you are renting out your property as short-term tourist accommodation, then you must register. You can prepare and submit your application beforehand, but it won’t be processed until that date. The Junta de Andalucía say it will take around 2-3 weeks to process the application. There is an inspection as part of the application process.

          The register process is simple and free, but if you need help, then our company, Rental Tonic have set up a registration process. You can read more about the process in my article here: http://rentaltonic.com/complete-guide-registering-holiday-rentals-andalucia/ and at the bottom is a link to the registration form. Otherwise, your accountant or lawyer in Spain should also be able to help you register.

          Best wishes
          Louise

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