COVID-19 in tourist apartments and houses: change to housing or seasonal rental

Property rental in spain

Many owners of holiday lets in Andalucia and Spain may be considering their business model in the light of COVID-19.

Mass cancellations and no bookings, because there’s no travel, means that many holiday lets have been closed for business with zero income for their owners.

One option businesses might like to consider is to change the status of their holiday rental to a  residential, seasonal or even room rent. This change of activity means you can access a wider market until international tourism resumes again in Spain. 

How to change the status of your holiday rental home in Spain? 

If you do decide to change the status from holiday rental apartment or villa to a different type of rental, you must take your property off the Registry of Tourist Activities. 

We believe this measure will guard you against any potential sanctions.

In our opinion, basic common sense and legal reasons suggest that due to the current state of alarm, Spanish regions (as they decide on tourism matters) will not fine owners with properties still registered

For example, in the regulations on tourist rentals in Madrid, the exceptions to the sanctions provided for in the Tourism Act in Madrid would be applied.

These state that preventive closure will not be considered a sanction when there are serious circumstances that affect the security of people or goods, the economic interests of users of tourist services or the tourist image of the Community of Madrid.

In short, in the state of alarm, in the face of extraordinary and urgent circumstances such as the lack of tourism activity, we understand that these tourism rental contracts should be converted, for example, into a seasonal lease without incurring any sanction.

However, we advise that if you plan to change the rental use of your property (ie from holiday to residential), contact the Tourism Authorities in your region. You should notify them that you have temporarily or permanently stopped letting your property for holidays.

Options for alternative rentals

Regarding the possible options for housing leases, here’s a brief summary of the different possibilities:

Rental Lease for Permanent Home

With this type of lease, the tenant can stay for at least five years in the property (for all contracts signed after  6 March  2019). He has the option of ending the lease earlier as long as he informs the owner in writing with a minimum of 30 days in advance. 

Seasonal Lease

This type of rental contract depends on what both parties agree on so its duration is whatever is established in the contract. There is no minimum term. This sort of lease is typically used during the school year or for a job transfer. 

The property must not offer complementary services such as reception or cleaning and is not advertised on tourist rental platforms. If it doesn’t meet these conditions, then the property is classed as a tourist property (holiday let). 

Room Rental

Like a seasonal lease, terms for this type of rental are freely agreed between the two parties. There is no minimum or maximum duration and no obligation to a deposit unless both parties have set this as a condition. 

More information 

For more information on how to change the status of your holiday let and Spanish rental contracts in general, get in touch now. We’re always happy to help. 

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