New law covering holiday rentals

As Spain warms up to a summer with expected visitors hitting record levels, a new local law means that if you have a property in Andalusia, that’s available for rent to tourists and holiday makers, even for as little as a week a year, it now needs to be registered with the local government. Owners are now obliged to make contracts, take identification and guarantee certain levels of comfort in the property. What’s more, and quite uncomfortable for some, the law gives the local government the ability to monitor major holiday letting websites. Owners have 3 months from 4th February 2016 to register their property.

More than 170,000 foreigners own properties in Andalusia that are available to rent to holiday makers. Some are available on websites such as AirBnb and Trip Advisor, and for many years the rental income has been a great little earner. This is not going to change quite as dramatically as the local press may have us believe but it is vitally important that owners register their rental property with the Junta de Andalucia before 1st May to avoid fines of up to €18,000.

The Background

In the last 10 years the demand for rental properties here in Spain has risen massively, along with record breaking visitor numbers. All this has been to the detriment of the hotel industry, with 40% of tourists now opting to rent apartments. The hoteliers, you see, are subject to a huge amount of regulations, which the average renter is not. Think for example, making contracts with guests, health and safety, fire escapes, fire extinguishers, electrical safety tests, taking identification, the list goes on and hotels are also subject to VAT or IVA – the Spanish equivalent.

The other issue is taxation. The Spanish Government is not best known for their organisation when it comes to this, and the fear is that they have missed out on huge amounts of tax that renters should be paying, but for many reasons are not. In passing the law to register your rental property, the government believes they will be able to better regulate the market, as the Junta will now be able to monitor the major holiday letting sites. The new law in Andalusia is actually nothing new for Spain. The requirement to register tourist property has been ongoing in Catalonia, the Balearics and Valencia since 2014.

The new requirements are that anyone renting out a property to tourists register on the website. Once registered they will receive a unique code, which will need to be used on invoicing, and may in the future be required for offering the property on holiday rental websites.

Renters will need to ensure that as a minimum the property has the following, and inspections will be carried out:

  • Air conditioning, capable of heating and cooling down to 19 degrees.
  • Hot water
  • Free internet
  • Fire extinguisher
  • First aid kit
  • Instruction for all appliances
  • A complaints book
  • Clean linen
  • Cleaning service

There is also a requirement to maintain records of every guest who has visited in the year, this includes a copy of their identification and a copy of the booking confirmation and invoice. There is a degree of sense in thinking that the booking website will do this for the renters, but alas it’s not that simple. The law requires that an invoice and confirmation are generated, printed and signed and kept, again for the purposes of inspection. Practically, this is not too tricky. Renters Owners would be well advised to create a “model” invoice and agreement showing their details, NIE and mobile number, and the guest´s details and costs can be easily adapted each time.

Owners are well advised to take a look at the Junta de Andalucía’s website, and work through the steps to ensure they are compliant, if in doubt seek legal advice.

Patrick Grant EMLE
MiMarbellaNow’s Legal Beagle

‘The contents of the above is for information purposes only and is not a substitute for specific advice or legal advice on a particular matter. This blog is provided by a third party, Patrick Grant EMLE, and therefore we accept no liability for the above content or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of any such information’.

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