Navigating the co-living landscape in Spain: Trends and legal challenges

row of houses. community concept.

Since 2020, Spain has witnessed a remarkable upswing in the co-living sector, a trend significantly propelled by the socioeconomic shifts brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. This emergent mode of living represents a unique intersection of evolving social needs and the complexities of legal frameworks. 

However, the rapid growth of co-living has somewhat outstripped the pace of regulatory development, leading to a degree of legal uncertainty in various Autonomous Communities. This article aims to delve into the nuances of co-living’s current landscape in Spain, exploring its ongoing trends and the challenges it faces in a changing legal and social environment.

Understanding the Co-Living Concept

In Spain, the concept of co-living is rapidly gaining traction and is on the brink of considerable growth in the coming years. This mode of living is increasingly appealing in a world that values flexibility, mobility, and social connectivity, making it a favored choice for professionals on temporary assignments and students on internships.

Distinct from conventional shared apartments, co-living spaces offer expansive, high-quality communal areas that foster a sense of community and collaborative activities. Residents typically have access to amenities like regular cleaning services, laundry facilities, Wi-Fi, and Netflix.

Nonetheless, Spain’s burgeoning co-living sector encounters obstacles due to the absence of specific legal regulations. This leads to diverse interpretations and implementations of the existing laws by various Autonomous Communities, particularly in relation to land use classifications for co-living developments.

Senior Living: A New Wave of Investment

An important dimension to consider in Spain’s evolving living arrangements is the emergence of ‘senior living’. This model, catering to non-dependent older adults, is set to receive a substantial boost with a projected investment of €3 billion over the next three years both from international and national operators. 

The senior living market in Spain is diversifying rapidly, driven by varied product typologies that depend on factors like land use, the relationship between users and property owners, and the regulatory framework applicable to operators or investors, tailored to the target demographic.

There are over 15 developers, traditionally involved in other ‘living’ sectors, now actively seeking collaboration with operators and capital investment to venture into senior living projects. These projects collectively aim for an investment totalling around €1 billion.

Key Cities for Senior Living Investment

Currently, cities like Barcelona, Bilbao, Valencia, Palma de Mallorca, and Málaga rank high for investors in senior living, alongside Madrid. The attractiveness of Madrid has been further enhanced by the introduction of affordable senior living options, following the approval of a collaborative housing decree in March 2022, which facilitates tariff reductions.

Main features of the Decree are as follows

  1. Purpose: To promote active aging and support dependent elderly people.
  2. Ownership: Rights of use or habitation, excluding property ownership.
  3. Resident Profile: Majority retired; under 50s allowed under certain conditions.
  4. Accessibility: Adaptations for people with reduced mobility.
  5. Care Requirements: Compliance with specific residential center standards.
  6. Dependent Care: Individualized support models and professional care.
  7. Individual Care Plan: Personalized and updated plans for each dependent resident.

Land Use Issues

Land use classifications, typically encompassing residential, commercial, social, tertiary, and industrial categories, are crucial in determining the activities permitted in a given area, as guided by the city’s General Urban Planning Scheme (PGOU). Co-living presents a unique challenge in this framework, often blurring the lines between residential and tertiary classifications based on the range of services it provides

Catalonia stands out as a pioneer in this realm, having established specific regulations for co-living. It categorizes these spaces as residential accommodations with additional communal areas, subject to certain criteria like minimum space standards and restrictions on the subdivision of properties.

In contrast, Madrid, though lacking explicit legislation for co-living, has shown tendencies in its preliminary PGOU revisions to lean towards recognizing co-living under residential usage, setting particular stipulations for both private and shared spaces.

Situation in the Valencian Community

The Valencian Community lacks specific co-living regulations, but the Valencia City Council’s Urban Strategy 2030 shows interest in promoting such housing models. The current PGOU, under review, may soon evolve to better accommodate co-living, particularly on tertiary land, within a residential community use framework rather than a tertiary hotel-type use.

Contractual Aspects

In co-living arrangements, three main parties are involved: the property owner, the manager, and the end-user or “co-liver”. Contracts vary based on the relationship between these parties and factors like duration and agreed rights and obligations. 

Options include residential lease agreements (applying the Urban Lease Act), contracts for non-residential use, room rental agreements, and lodging contracts, each with its applicable legal framework.

In conclusion, co-living in Spain, while promising, still navigates a landscape of legal uncertainties at both national and community levels. As we anticipate further development of this housing solution, addressing these legal challenges will be crucial for its successful expansion in Spain.

Take the Next Step in Co-Living and Senior Living Investment

Are you intrigued by the potential of co-living or senior living in Spain? Whether you’re considering investing in these rapidly growing sectors or looking to experience the lifestyle firsthand, now is an opportune moment to get involved.

For investors, the expanding market of co-living and the emerging sector of senior living offer unique opportunities to be part of a forward-thinking, socially conscious, and financially promising venture. With the expected exponential growth in co-living and the substantial investment flowing into senior living, your contribution can shape the future of residential living in Spain.

If you’re seeking a new living experience, co-living provides a blend of community, flexibility, and quality services. It’s an ideal solution for those who value social interaction, mobility, and a hassle-free lifestyle. For seniors, the evolving landscape of senior living in Spain promises comfortable, independent living combined with the security of a supportive community.

Explore Your Opportunities with Costaluz Lawyers

Interested in the dynamic world of co-living and senior living investments in Spain? Or perhaps you’re considering embracing the co-living lifestyle or exploring senior living options? Costaluz Lawyers is here to guide you through every step.

At Costaluz Lawyers, we specialize in providing expert legal advice and support in real estate investments, including the burgeoning sectors of co-living and senior living. Our team is equipped with the knowledge and experience to navigate the complexities of Spanish property law, ensuring your investments are secure and your living arrangements are legally sound.


Discover how you can be a part of the thriving co-living and senior living markets in Spain. We offer comprehensive legal services to help you make informed decisions, manage legal risks, and maximize your investment potential.

Future Residents

If you’re looking to join a co-living community or move into a senior living space, let us assist you in understanding your rights and obligations. We’ll ensure your contracts are fair and your new home meets all legal standards.

Take the first step towards your investment or new home in Spain. Contact Costaluz Lawyers today for a consultation and start turning your plans into reality. Visit our website or give us a call – we’re here to help you navigate the exciting opportunities in Spain’s co-living and senior living sectors.

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