Spanish Property Insight


Spanish Property Insight

Spanish Property Market Analysts

On April 24, the regional government of Catalonia (the Generalitat) enacted Decree Law 6/2024 concerning urgent measures in housing matters, which came into force the day after its publication in the Official Gazette of Catalonia, that is on April 26, 2024, on the eve of the regional elections.

This Decree Law was introduced to regulate mid-term / seasonal rental contract tenancy agreements, which do not have any specific regulations to date, and can be used by landlords to avoid the costs and restrictions of long-term and tourist rental regulations.

The new decree regulates seasonal and room rentals, establishes a scale of penalties for infringements, creates new disclosure and reporting requirements in rental adverts and contracts, and gives the Generalitat new powers of first refusal and withdrawal in certain circumstances.

Please note the information provided in this article is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as a substitute for professional legal advice.

Background to seasonal lease regulations

Seasonal or mid-term rental contracts (known commonly in Spanish as alquiler de temporada / alquileres temporales , and also known as contratos de arrendamiento de uso distinto del de vivienda or leases for uses other than dwellings) have not had specific regulation in the Spanish legal legal system until now. The classification of a contract within this type of lease is determined by excluding it from the legal regime applicable to ordinary residential lease contracts (Articles 6 to 28 of Law 29/1994 on urban leases) and tourist accommodations (regulated, among others, by Decree 75/2020 and Decree Law 3/2023). In other words, seasonal leases are those that do not meet the requirements to be considered habitual residences or tourist accommodations, thus falling outside the scope of the Residential Leases Law and tourist regulations, and are governed by the principle of freedom of contract, the Civil Code, and other general regulations applicable to obligations and contracts.

The State Housing Law 12/2023 envisaged the creation of a working group (which has already had its first meeting) to deal with seasonal rentals, so nationwide regulations from Madrid are not far off.

Seasonal rental regulations introduced by Catalan Decree-Law

The Catalan Decree Law adds a new article to Law 18/2007 on housing, Article 66bis, such that any lease contract for a residence must adhere to the regime of Articles 6 to 28 of Law 29/1994 (as well as other rent and eviction limitations resulting from the application of Law 12/2023, and the declaration of ‘strained’ market areas in municipalities as specified in Resolution TER/800/2024).

Under the new rules seasonal rentals are still allowed, but the tenant’s reasons for renting determine whether the contract is subject to rent controls and other restrictions or not.

Only if the tenant is holidaying in Catalonia is the contract free of the restrictions of the Housing Law. The Decree Law specifies that stays for the purposes of leisure, holidays, recreation and cultural events are valid reasons for unrestricted temporary rentals, while all leases with other purposes must comply with the regulations for permanent housing set forth in the Urban Leases Law and the limits established by the reference price index. So mid-term rental contracts for professional, work, study and medical reasons address a need for permanent housing, albeit on a temporary basis and are thus subject to rent controls and other Housing Law restrictions.

Where rent controls apply, for example in cases where the tenant is temporarily staying in Catalonia for work, education, or medical reasons, the rental price per month is determined by the lower of the rental reference price index or former contract when the landlord is a ‘major landowner’ (with five or more properties), and by the higher of the two in the case of other landlords, with a small price increase of 3% permitted in 2024 (in 2025 by a new price index to be published).

Room rentals

When rooms are rented out in a property in a ‘strained’ market area, the sum total of the rents cannot exceed the maximum rent applicable if rented as a single unit, as determined by the State Reference System for Rental Housing Prices.

Information disclosure

In advertisements, offers, and rental contracts, it is mandatory to provide information on the rental reference price resulting from the rental price index published by the Spanish government (Ministry of Housing and Urban Agenda), the rent of the last valid contract in the last five years, and, if applicable, the major property holder status of the landlord. The tenant must also be provided with a document justifying the price index applicable to the property and must be informed if the property is in an area declared as a ‘strained’ residential market.

All rental contracts must state the purpose or intent of the lease, which must be duly proven and can only be for leisure, vacation, or recreational purposes. If omitted and the temporary nature is not adequately proven, it will be presumed that the lease is for permanent residence.


Failure to comply with the new information disclosure obligations is classified as a minor offence, which can be subject to fines ranging from €3,000 to €9,000.

Fraudulent classification of a lease contract is now considered a ‘very serious’ housing offence, subject to high fines (minimum of €90,001 and maximum of €900,000).

  1. When the rent contract exceeds the maximum allowed price by more than 30%, the infringement will be classified as very serious and will entail a fine ranging from €90,001 to €900,000.
  2. When the rent contract exceeds between 10% and does not exceed 30% of the maximum allowed price, the infringement will be classified as serious and will entail a fine ranging from €9,001 to €90,000.
  3. When the rent contract does not exceed 30% of the maximum allowed price, the infringement will be classified as minor and will entail a fine ranging from €3,000 to €9,000.

Right of first refusal and withdrawal

The Decree Law expands the Generalitat’s rights of first refusal and withdrawal through a modification of Article 15(2) of Law 18/2007, which now establishes that the Catalan Government may exercise the pre-emption and withdrawal right in all municipalities declared as strained residential market areas, without it being necessary to specify it in general urban planning or in the Territorial Housing Sector Plan.

Thus, with the modification introduced by Decree Law 6/2024, any property transferred by a ‘major landowner’ in a ‘strained’ residential market area (currently, the municipalities listed in Resolution TER/800/2024) will be subject to the these rights

The new Decree Law 6/2024 establishes certain measures to facilitate the exercise of this right by the Catalan Government, through the establishment of certain information obligations. Specifically, when the intention to transfer is communicated, the following information must be included:

  • The title of the property, the conditions of the transfer, and the planned transfer method
  • The occupancy certificate
  • The estimated price for the transfer, occupancy status, and a justified assessment of its condition