Spain: The property rental laws investors need to know

Marbella, Spain

Spain is one of the most popular countries in the world among property buyers. While holiday homes are always in demand, a significant part of the country’s appeal are the rental opportunities available, due to the thriving tourism industry.

Spain’s rental sector, though, has become increasingly complex in recent years, with a string of new laws regulating the market. Understanding the requirements and costs involved in non-residents letting out a Spanish property is essential for agents marketing holiday homes or investment properties in areas likely to see strong demand for vacation rentals.

As of 2013, Spain’s rental laws are now decided on a regional basis, with each autonomous community governed by its own regulations. That means that where investors buy a property will determine what they must do, can do and can’t do. Agents will be expected to know what regulations apply to their properties – and being able to provide that information to investors could be a crucial step in converting them from leads into sales.

The tightening regulations have, in part, been spurred by the rise of Airbnb, HomeAway and other short-term rental sites in recent years. As the established hotel industry lobbies for a fairer balance of regulation between the rival accommodation sectors, some parts of the country have become increasingly strict. Most regions’ requirements generally involve meeting a minimum standard of comfort and safety, as well as registering with authorities to make sure that all rental activity is officially declared, although in places such as Barcelona, the approval of new licences for rental properties has been temporarily suspended.


From Andalusia and Catalonia to the Balearic Islands, these are the Spanish property rental laws agents need to know for the country’s most popular regions. (Landlords may also find this a useful resource.)


For residential properties that are rented out less than two months at a time to people who are not friends or family, investors are required to register for a licence with the Andalusia Tourism Registry (ATR). Lodgers must also have their identities registered every time they stay at the property.

Licenced properties must have ventilation, with blinds/shutters available in rooms, in addition to appropriate furniture, air conditioning, a first aid kit, clean bed sheets and linen, plus tourist information about local amenities and facilities. Landlords must provide tenants a working phone number to reach them in the case of emergencies, complaints or queries. When advertising, prices must be listed on a per-night basis and be all inclusive of any bills or taxes.

Fines for investors breaking these rules range from €2,000 for a light breach to €150,000 for a gross breach.

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Investors must register each of their properties with the local authorities as an official tourist accommodation. If they own five or more properties, they should instead register as a tourism business to cover all of their properties with one licence. (Their registration number must then be included in their adverts for the property.)

Other requirements for tourist accommodation are broadly similar to Andalusia’s, from heating installed in all areas and an emergency telephone list, kitchenware, white goods, bed linen and other basic furnishings.

For a list of minimum room sizes, see page 10 on the government documentation.


A short-term rental licence is not currently required for investors planning to rent out properties in Murcia, although this may have changed since the time of writing. Investors should be directed to seek legal advice, if unsure.


Any rentals that last fewer than 31 days require a short-term rental licence, with owners not allowed to rent more than two single rooms, if they are living in the property themselves.

However, Barcelona has suspended any new licence approvals, as of 2014, with the council increasingly cracking down on rental properties that are still operating without a licence.

For more information, click here.


In addition to the broadly similar standards of quality listed above, Madrid properties must have a Wi-Fi connection available. Prices for guests must be displayed inside the entrance, while the investors’ registration number must be displayed outside the front door.

Madrid has previously attempted to regulate the market further by banning all rentals for a period of fewer than five nights, but the regional Supreme Court annulled the legislation. New efforts will be made in the near future, however. (For more, click here.) Single-room occupation remains forbidden.


Apartments are exempt from the region’s regulations, but villas and townhouses both require a short-term rental licence, with the maximum number of guests restricted to 12.

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One of the more complicated regions of Spain for rental properties, the unique condition for investors in the Canary Islands is that any residential property in a tourist complex must cede the management of their home to the operator of the whole complex. Those who refuse can face fines for doing so. For investors with short-term rental licences outside of complexes, data on guests must be recorded with the local police, while single room occupancy is also forbidden.

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Interested in advertising your Spanish property on and other international property portals? Find out more here.


Note: All information is understood to be correct at the time of publishing. However, regulations are often amended and challenged, as the short-term lettings sector continues to evolve. We recommend seeking legal advice when letting out your property.