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

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.

According to the Tourist Movement on Borders agency, Frontur, Spain received 13.7 million international visitors during the first quarter of 2018, a 6% increase on 2017 figures. With 1.4 million visitors choosing to stay in holiday rental accommodation, a healthy increase of 7% year-on-year, and that’s just the official figures. Taking into account that many short stay homes remain unregistered in Spain, we expect the actual figure to be much higher.

It’s been five 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. There are only a couple of the 17 autonomous communities that as yet haven’t regulated holiday rental accommodation. Find out the latest status in your region.


Is it regulated? Yes under the Decreto 28/2016

Since: May 2016

Essentials: Free Wifi, Cooling and Heating System, can offer single room occupancy, will need First Occupation Licence or similar (Cédula de Antiguedad / Habilitibiliad)

Points to watch out for:

From July 1st 2018 most of the booking sites will no longer allow unregistered properties to apply.

If you have registered without a First Occupation Licence and not applied for one, you could be fined up to 2,000 €.

Properties in a rural location (village with less than 20,000 inhabitants) who previously fell outside of the regulation for rural properties can now register as a VFT (Vivienda con Fines Turísticas)

Owners and agents with three plus properties must register as ‘Apartamento Turístico’. Stricter regulations are applied.

Meanwhile, Granada is seeking to introduce a limit on the number of holiday rentals in the city centre. And Seville is planning to introduce tourist zones, which will again reduce the number of holiday rentals in the city centre. Both of these are under discussion, no dates are given for the introduction.

To register your property: Complete a declaración responsable (application form) and submit to your local town hall or nearest tourism department. You can submit online if you have an electronic signature.

Documents required: ID document, and First Occupation Licence

Is it regulated? Yes under the Decreto 80/15
Since: May 2015

Essentials: Maximum stay 1 month, single-room occupancy not permitted, fully equipped and furnished, advertised through a tourist channel.

Points to watch out for: Owners and agents with properties in the same building must register as ‘Apartamento Turístico’. Stricter regulations are applied. Rural properties (casas rurales) are not covered under this decree.

To register your property: Complete the declaración responsable (application) and submit to a regional tourism department. Once you are registered you must display a plaque outside the property. Further information can be found on the Aragon government website.

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

Is it regulated? Yes under the Decreto 20/2015 (amended version)
Since: 2012
Note: There is a currently a one year moratorium on the issue of rental licences, which is due to expire on 1st August 2018. This was to give the government time to work out tourist zonification issues. From this date both villas, townhouses and apartments should be able to apply for a licence, as long as they are not situated in a zone, which has been designated as already saturated with tourism, such as the Mallorcan capital of Palma.

Owners who already have a licence will be unaffected by the new regulations.

Essentials: Apartments are not currently regulated and unable to apply for a licence, maximum 6 bedrooms (12 guests), Liability insurance must be taken out. Maximum 3 properties per owner.

Points to watch out for: Owners must renew the licence every 5 years, maximum 30 day rental stay. And a maximum 60 day rental period in total. A one-off tax is payable on registration of 24.84 € per guest.


Is it regulated? Yes under the Decreto 13/2016
Since: April 2013, amended in 2016
Note: The Basque government proposed amendments to the current regulations in May 2018, which if passed will give owners 6 months to update their properties or lose their licence. They have also introduced a top limit on properties that can register, ensuring that no more than 15% of the cities rentals are for short-term business.
Essentials: Single-room occupancy is permitted (in properties of 2 bedrooms or more), maximum 12 guests/6 bedrooms. When a property is rented as a whole it must comprise of at least a bedroom, kitchen and bathroom. Each province has its own specific technical criteria i.e. m2 per guest.
Points to watch out for: A plaque must be visible on the exterior of your property with your licence details.You must have a liability insurance policy in place.
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 113/2015
Since: May 2015
Note: In May 2018 a new draft decree was published which denies holiday rentals the right of activity in certain designated tourist zones. It does allow local councils to work with exceptions, but evidently the draft has been met with consternation by owners and the Canary Island association, ASCAV.

Essentials: Single-room occupancy is not permitted, guest details must be logged with the police and a 24 hour contact number supplied.
Points to watch out for: Rentals situated within a residential community need agreement from the community to go ahead. Single room occupancy is not permitted.
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.

Is it regulated? Yes under the Decreto 19/2014
Since: March 2014
Note: A roundtable discussion took place in June 2018 to discuss the introduction of sanctions to owners who have not registered their rentals. The tourism minister also presented a new project which will launch an online reservation system for registered properties.
Essentials: No single room occupancy is permitted. Owners must also register the activity with the tax office (Hacienda) and Social Security.
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.

Is it regulated? Yes, under the Decreto 36/2018
Since: May 2018
Essentials: Viviendas turísticas vacacionales (holiday rental homes) can only rent their property as a whole, single room occupation is not permitted. If you register your property for tourist use, you may not also offer as a long-term rental. Holiday rentals, as Tourist Apartments, must fix a plaque on the exterior wall to show their registration details. Information on local tourist attractions, services and amenities must be made available.
Points to watch out for: Holiday rental owners have one year, until 29th May 2019, to adapt and register their properties. Tourist Apartments have two years to do the same. IVA will be made applicable on tourist rental bookings, so owners must register their activity with the tax office.
To register your property: Present your declaración responsable (application) – which can be found at the end of the decree in the link above – together with your ID document, licence of first occupation, floor plans, and for properties situated within an urbanisation, a letter to confirm they allow holiday rentals.

Is it regulated? Yes under the Decreto 17/2017
Since: February 2017
Essentials: Any type of property can apply, but if you own two or more properties in one building, you must refer to Decreto 17/2015. The property must be offered fully furnished and advertised via a tourism channel, such as a listing site, print advert or rental agency.
Points to watch out for: You are not allowed to offer single-room occupation. Contact details must be provided to guests. You must not start rental activity until you are registered.
To register your property: Complete the declaración responsable and present in a local government office, such as the town hall or tourism department.
Documents: Identification, escritura (title deed), IBI receipt to show catastral reference.

Is it regulated? Yes under the Decret 159/2012
Since: November 2012
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
Notes: Access is given to an online platform where you register every guest. In 2017 the Catalonia government started to crackdown on illegal rentals, issuing steep fines to owners. The city of Barcelona has doubled the number of inspectors on the streets in the hope of curbing unregistered accommodation.
Note: Access is given to an online platform where you register every guest, a tourist tax may be applied in the future.

Is it regulated? Tourist apartments are regulated, but the decree does not cover private holiday homes. However, a draft decree has been on the table since 2017.

Is it regulated? Yes under the amended Decreto 12/2017
Since: March 2011
Essentials: There are two types of registration:
Vivienda Turística (VT) – detached properties, maximum 10 guests, maximum stay three months, single room occupation prohibited
Vivienda de Uso Turístico (VUT) – Fully equipped properties of all types, single room occupation permitted, maximum stay 30 days.
Points to watch out for: Guest data must be kept in case of inspection,
To register your property: Complete and submit the application online. You will need to register in the system to do that. For VT registered properties there is a tax to pay when you submit your application.
Documents required: ID document, Technical floor plan, proof of payment of current IBI, basura and utilities, escritura (title deed), First Occupation Licence, copy of liability insurance policy.

Is it regulated? Yes under the Decreto 10/2017
Since: May 2017
Essentials: Properties must be fully furnished
Points to watch out for: Must be offered for a minimum period of one week and rented for at least three months per year, and the rental price must be all inclusive. Single room occupation is not permitted. If your property is situated within a community you must check that holiday rentals are permitted within the community regulations.
To register your property: Fill out the declaración responsable and present online or at a town hall or tourism department office.
Documents required: Floor plans, ID document, copy of community regulations.

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.

Is it regulated? Yes
Since: April 2011
Essentials: Hot and cold running water, electricity and lighting, cleaning before check-in, fresh bedding at least once a week, TV and refuge containers.
Points to watch out for: Owners must hold a register of guest information. Advertising copy must state the type of accommodation offered.
To register your property: Fill out the application form and present at a town hall or tourism department office. Your property will then appear on the regional tourism register for Murcia. You can start advertising your property straight away.

Is it regulated? Yes under the original Decreto Foral 230/2011
Since: November 2011
Essentials: Properties must have a 90m2 minimum living area and have independent access. Properties are classified: luxury, first, second and third. And will be classified as rural accommodation if located within a village / location with less than 5,000 inhabitants.
Points to watch out for: All properties must include their registration number in advertising and have a visible plaque denoting their category. A
To register your property: The Registro de Turismo websites contains Information and application forms to register your holiday rental in Navarra
Documents required: Passport or DNI (national identity card), licence of first occupation, photos of the property, floor plans which clearly show fire escapes and location of extinguishers, and a copy of a specialised rental insurance policy.


Is it regulated? Yes under the original Decreto 92/2009 which was updated in 2015 Decreto 75/2015
Since: July 2009, with the last amendment in May 2015
Essentials: Owners must wait until they have registered to start rental activity, and have to start renting within two months of registration.
Points to watch out for: If you manage five or more properties you must register as a Tourist Company. Further applications for registration in the districts of Ciutat Vella are suspended, whilst the government discuss the protection of environment and culture in the area.
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. Owners must also now get permission from their local town hall before they can register.
Documents required: Property escritura (title deed), First Occupation Licence, passport or DNI (national identity card), company escritura if you are registering as a rental management company.
Note: Registration codes for private owners start VT and managers and businesses EGVT. Followed by a code for each province.
The Valencian government have produced an excellent guide for holiday rental owners to help them get registered


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.

* This article has been written by a third party not owned or controlled by Spanish Property Insight (SPI).
SPI disclaims any responsibility or liability related to your access to or use of any third party content.

About Louise Brace - Rental Tonic

Louise Brace is partner at Rental Tonic, a holiday-rental marketing consultancy, and has been studying and writing about holiday rental licences in Spain since the change of law in 2013. Rental Tonic can help you with all aspects of marketing your holiday rental, and getting better

30 thoughts on “Region-by-region update on Spain’s holiday rental laws”

  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,


  3. Louise 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!

        1. Louise 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:

          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

    1. Louise 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:

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

      Best wishes

  4. Sue 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,


    1. Louise 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:

      Good luck!

      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. Louise 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: 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

  5. Leth

    Dear Louise,
    I have Apartment in Mallorca / Calvia community.
    This one :
    “as long as they are not situated in a zone, which has been designated as already saturated with tourism, such as the Mallorcan capital of Palma”
    for the Balearics / Mallorca.
    Do you have information where to find the zone Picture / zone information for Mallorca rentals ?
    KR Leth

  6. Louise Brace - Rental Tonic Post Author

    Hi KR Leth
    Good question, and I don’t have to hand, but I will see what I can find out. At the moment there is a freeze on all holiday rental licences in Mallorca and, as the owner of an apartment, you are not entitled to apply for a holiday rental licence anyway. Only independent villas may apply, although different municipals are starting to apply their own exceptions. My advice would be to go and speak to the town hall of Calvia to find out where you stand in applying. I think you may be disappointed at this time.
    Best wishes,

  7. bradcox

    Dear Louise,

    Whilst in Mallorca last week I was eager to buy my first property abroad. It was a 4 bed apartment new build in Puerto Pollensa.

    As i was having my second viewing, i was informed by the agent that a new law suggests that I could not rent out the property in the first 5 years of owning it because it is a new build?

    Could you please shed some light on this and if there is any way around it?

    Kind regards

    1. Louise Brace - Rental Tonic Post Author

      Hi Brad

      Firstly, it’s important to mention that there is currently a one year moratorium on registrations in the Balearic Islands. However, I understand that this should finish at the end of the summer 2018. The current decree states that only villas and townhouses – stand alone properties – can register as a holiday let. However, new proposals suggest that apartments will be able to apply in the future, but this is not confirmed.

      As an owner you will need to renew your licence every 5 years. but I am not aware of the 5 year period. It has been suggested that only residents may register their property, but again this is only a proposal at this moment.

      However, if you are buying as a short-term rental investment, I would invest with care in the Balearics, because of the uncertainty of who will be able to register and where. Perhaps wait until the approved amendments are published.

      If you are considering investing in a short-term rental property in Spain, feel free to get in touch with me directly at and maybe I can give you some tips and advice.

      Best wishes

  8. jónás judit

    i would like to know:
    i am a new owner in a property, and the earlier wendor/owner has a touristic licence. What must i do?? Do i have to renew the application for touristic licence, and i have to have a new touristic licence, or this licence is good for me, as a new owner ?
    What kind of form is the First Occupations Licence?
    What kind of dokument have i to attachted to the applications form?
    Thank you so much!!

    1. Louise Brace - Rental Tonic Post Author

      Dear Jónás,
      Thanks for your message. If you purchase a property and wish to continue renting it out, you do need to update the licence in your name. And supply a new escritura (title deeds or nota simple) and your personal details.

      The Licence of First Occupation is a document which should have been given to you at time of purchase. If you do not have a copy, you should ask your laywer and the community administrators if they have a copy.

      You need to attach the following documents: Copy of your NIE/Passport, licence of first occupation, and you may also attach the nota simple/escritura to speed things up.

      Hope that helps. If you wish further information please write to me at

  9. Yvonne


    We have been renting out our apartment in Guardamar in the summers through an agent for the last three years. If I am using Airbnb to advertise but she is still managing the property for us do we still need a separate license? She refuses to be the official host on Airbnb for some reason, so we don’t want to be liable in case there are issues.

    1. Louise Brace - Rental Tonic Post Author

      Hi Yvonne

      The licence must always be in the name of the owner, regardless of whether you uses a manager or not, unless you have given her power of attorney to act on your behalf. Whether you or the manager advertises the property, the licence would be in your name. I don’t understand the comment on being an official host. If she is advertising your property, the advert should run with her details not yours. Although the licence will be in your name.
      Best wishes,

  10. Graham

    Hello Louise
    We live 3k outside Gandesa in Catalunya . We applied for a HUTTE licence in Gandesa, they came out and said the property was ideal, we then told to go into the Adjuntament in Gandesa to register where we were told it is not possible for us to obtain a licence as the area is classed as rural.
    Can you please advise is their anyway we can appeal or take the matter to a higher authority?
    Kind regards
    Graham Hull

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