Holiday apartments in Spain. Do I need a licence?






A few days ago I wrote a post in connection to the property market in Barcelona and the increase of holiday apartments in the city.  The Catalan Government has recently regulated the holiday rentals market and now allows holiday rentals as long as the owners comply with certain obligations. Unfortunately, the situation is different in other touristic places such as the Balearic Islands or the Canary Islands where there are several restrictions to holiday rentals. Take the case of Mallorca, for example. In Mallorca it is only possible to let out for short periods of time dettach and semidettached houses. This leaves apartments and terrace houses outside of the regulation and therefore unable to be let out on a short term basis. There are some exceptions with some apartments but these usually involve the whole building counting with a touristic licence.

When it comes to deattached and semidettached houses in Mallorca, these can be let out for holidays as long as a touristic licence has been obtained and the owner has complied with the following requirements:

– File the necessary declaration of commencement of activity (DRIAT)

– The property is let out for short periods of time that can never exceed the period of 2 months

– The property is let out in its entirety and not on a “per room” basis

– Cleaning and maintenance services are provided

Having said that, what happens if the owner of an apartment in Mallorca or Menorca wants to let it out for short periods of time to different occupiers and he does not have a licence? Well, in that case it would be better to let it on a long term basis. The income might be lower but at least there will be no fines or penalties for breaching the law.

The above applies to the Balearic Islands but each region in Spain has different rules and therefore not all regions face the same restrictions. As always, it is advisable to do some research before embarking on buying a holiday apartment, specially if the ulitmate intention is to let it for holidays.




Holiday rentals in the Canary Islands


If you read internet forums or you are subscribed to internet news bulletins related to Spain, you would have probably come across many angry Britons who have been suddenly fined for renting their apartments in the Canary Islands without the necessary permissions.  In some cases, the fines are imposed because the property owner has let the property without a licence but in other cases the fines are imposed because the property has not been signed up with a management company.

Tourist Law 1995 of the Canary Islands states that all tourist accommodations in a specific development should be managed by one single company. This means that all the owners in a development who are planning to let their properties for short periods of time must agree to instruct the same management agent and inform the local authorities appropriately. The owners who forget to do the above will be deprived of the right to let their properties and will be fined with relevant amounts.

The authorities in the Canary Islands have appointed several inspectors who will be  checking developments, asking the agents for the required documents, looking at rental websites and sometimes even impersonating a potential tenant in order to catch illegal rentals. 

The main problem is that the amount of the fines can be disproportionate to the profit obtained. That is why if someone has been contacted and informed of a potential fine, it is worth to seek legal advice and see if it is possible to challenge the fine.  In those cases where the challenge is not possible, a reduction in the fine is always a possibility and negotiations with the Authorities can be advisable.

Photograph from