Buying (and renting out) in Barcelona

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    • #192788

      Hi there,

      My wife and I would like to buy an apartment in Barcelona and having just started looking into our options seriously, a few questions have come up that I thought I’d throw open here, to see if any light could be shed.

      Primarily, we’d be buying a holiday home that we’d aim to use pretty regularly but we’d also want to let it out, short-term, when we’re not in town. We’re cash buyers so the need to rent immediately after purchase is low but we would need to generate some sort of income from the property, renting it through a platform like airbnb.

      We’re getting ourselves comfortable with the logistics of buying in Spain (taxes, process, legal etc) but we’re a little less clear on our renting options.

      From what I can see so far, we’ll need a permit to be able to let a property. Am I right in saying that the town hall no longer issues permits for properties within the Ciutat Vella? Is there any way around this? Has there been any change in this process in light of Brexit?

      Does that mean that obtaining a permit in other areas is doable? I’m guessing we would need to own the property first, before being able to start the ball rolling for a permit?

      Where can we find more detailed information on the process/criteria on renting out your property in Barcelona?

      Most of the properties we’ve been looking at don’t come with a permit already (that we can see) – can you recommend any portals that list properties with permits attached?

      Another thing we’re a little unclear on, is would there be any restrictions on how long we could spend at our holiday home? We wouldn’t be working or living in Spain permanently (yet, at least!).

      Also, if you have any recommendations of english speaking property lawyers in Barcelona (or good places to look), that would be greatly received, too.

      We’re heading over to Barcelona next month with the aim of setting a meeting with a lawyer (mainly to get a better idea of our rental hopes) and perhaps viewing some property while we’re there.

      Sorry for all the questions at once – any advice on the above would be hugely appreciated.

      Many thanks,



    • #192792

      I’m no expert, but in Barcelona there is a new approach for locals turning in illegal rentals to city inspectors.  I’d be very careful, especially if you need to rent out your flat for ‘vacation rentals. You could face fines and penalties if not legal to do so.  Part of the reason is that many long-term tenants have been evicted to make way for more profitable shot-term rentals.  Another issue is that some vacation-rental tourists are just rude and filthy, and create a nuisance in the buildings and neighborhoods.  Of course there are many more ‘good tourists’, but there are enough ‘bad tourists’ that neighbors and locals are getting aggressive about eliminating vacation rentals.   Not speaking to the legality, but I think it would be less of an issue renting to ‘business customers’ who made need a place in Barcelona for more than one month.    This was in the newspaper a few weeks ago:

      “Barcelona residents fed up with the huge increase in illegal apartment lets in the city through accommodation sites such as Airbnb found a novel way to protest the problem on Tuesday.

      As part of an ongoing campaign to protest what they say is a virtual siege from tourists, the members of two local activist groups in the Catalan capital rented a holiday apartment near the city’s cathedral using Airbnb. They picked up the keys, entered and then called the town hall asking them to arrange an inspection of the property.”

      More here (in English):

      • This reply was modified 6 years, 5 months ago by GarySFBCN.
    • #192864

      Hi Carl,

      I can confirm what Gary is saying, it is illegal at this point to buy an apartment and rent it for vacation. As you mentioned the town hall is no longer issuing permits. This situation is not only for Ciutat Vella but for the whole city.

      However there is another option and that is to buy an apartment that already has the permit. If you are willing to spend the extra money (it can cost you 30k to 50k in addition to market price).


      Alberto (NEXITUM)

    • #193151

      Hi Carl,

      There is another posibility. The city hall of Barcelona suspended the licenses, but you can buy an apartament near Barcelona. 15 minutes buy metro or train, and you can rent it, because it´s another city hall.

      There are some places cheapers than Barcelona. Good location, interesting prices and without licenses problems.

      Best regards.


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