Spanish Supreme Court confirms the powers of regional authorities to regulate tourist rentals

A new ruling from the Spanish Supreme Court clarifies the powers of regional authorities to regulate tourist rental activity, which is probably not good news for holiday home owners in Spain who want to rent out their homes on a short term basis when not in residence.

Local and regional authorities want to control tourist rentals for political reasons, not least the pressure of hotel lobbies who would like to stamp out the competition from private property owners altogether. But efforts to do so have been contested by the National Commission of Competition and Markets (CNMC), which has been trying to keep the competition alive.

A new ruling by the Spanish Supreme Court on the 17th September 2019 on a case brought by the CNMC against tourist rental regulations in the autonomous region of Castile & León confirms that regional authorities do have the right to limit tourist rental activity in the following ways:

  • Local authorities can limit the frequency and duration of tourist rentals, meaning that owners are not allowed to engage in tourist rentals all year round.
  • Owners can be obliged to put an identification sign at the entrance.
  • Comply with minimum standards of quality of fixtures and fittings.
  • Offer a 24 hour telephone helpline
  • Require owners to provide the authorities with price reports on rental bookings

The Spanish Supreme Court has confirmed the powers of regional authorities to regulate short-term rentals in these ways without infringing competition laws, but that does not mean that all regions will use these powers to the full extent. As usual in Spain, each autonomous region will do it’s own thing within the limits of the law, but at least now those limits are a bit clearer.

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