Spain ranks second in Europe in terms of the highest number of holiday rental properties, closely trailing behind France. This surge in vacation rentals highlights the increasing preference for such accommodation among travelers over more traditional options, such as hotels.
According to recent reports, holiday rental properties make up around 31.5% of the overall supply of tourist accommodation in Spain, with a recorded total of 311,518 properties in August 2022.
Who regulates holiday rentals in Spain?
In Spain, no single national law regulates holiday lets. As a decentralised state, the central government decided to have region-specific regulations for tourism. This is because each Autonomous Community has unique tourism markets and needs, making it more appropriate for them to develop their own legislation for tourism and vacation rentals.
Municipalities also have the power to regulate tourist rentals, as long as their regulations do not conflict with the regional regulations, which take precedence.
How are holiday lets regulated in Spain?
Holiday lets in Spain are regulated on two levels. Firstly, the Autonomous Communities, which are responsible for tourism planning and management, handle tasks such as managing registers of tourism-related companies, authorising and classifying accommodations, and coordinating technical inspections.
As of 2023, this is the current legislation in place regarding holiday lets in each Autonomous Community:
- Andalusia: Decree 28/2016, dated February 2nd
- Aragon: Decree 1/2023, dated January 11th
- Asturias: Decree 48/2016, dated August 10th
- Balearic Islands: Law 6/2017, dated July 31st
- Canary Islands: Decree 113/2015, dated May 22nd
- Cantabria: Decree 225/2019, dated November 28th
- Castilla y León: Decree 3/2017, dated February 16th
- Castilla-La Mancha: Decree 36/2018, dated May 29th
- Catalonia: Decree 75/2020, dated August 20th
- Valencian Community: Decree 10/2021, dated January 22nd
- Extremadura: Law 2/2011, dated January 31st
- Galicia: Decree 12/2017, dated January 26th
- Madrid: Decree 79/2014, dated July 10th
- Murcia: Decree nº 256/2019, dated October 10th
- Navarre: Foral Decree 230/2011, dated October 26th
- Basque Country: Decree 101/2018, dated July 3rd
- La Rioja: Decree 10/2017, dated March 17th
Meanwhile, at the local level, city and town councils are responsible for territorial planning and defining the legal framework through regulations. This means that local municipalities have the authority to regulate certain aspects of vacation rental regulations.
For example, in highly concentrated tourist areas like Madrid, Barcelona, or the Canary Islands, stricter local regulations have been implemented as a result.
Have controls been a success?
In Madrid, the Special Hospitality Plan (PEH), which includes measures such as dividing the city into zones based on proximity to the centre and applying restrictions accordingly, was introduced to prevent tourism overcrowding.
However, the implementation and enforcement of the PEH have been limited, with a small number of licensed properties. Compliance with the PEH is low, and inspections are practically non-existent. And hosts who rent their property for less than ninety days a year are considered engaged in collaborative economy activities rather than business activities – therefore unaffected by the PEH.
Barcelona has its own regulations, too, which set restrictions on vacation rentals in the city. The city council has implemented measures to curb over-tourism, including suspending tourist licence granting and introducing the Special Urban Plan for Tourist Accommodations (PEUAT).
Although the PEUAT was later annulled by the High Court of Justice of Catalonia, the city council continues to pursue regulations to manage vacation rentals.
Thinking about renting out your property? Stay informed!
If you’re considering renting out your property to holidaymakers, it’s vital to stay informed about the applicable regulations in your area to ensure compliance and avoid legal risks.
At CostaLuz Lawyers, we’re experts in Spanish property law. So, if you want to turn your property into a holiday let, we’ve got you covered and can guide you through every step.