A Beginners Guide to Obtaining a Tourist License For Rental Properties In Spain

Air BnB certainly have ruffled a large number of feathers across the globe recently, let alone just in Spain.

Many people (not all) bought their Villa or apartment in Spain with the view to renting it out to help pay the ongoing expenses of the property.

Technically there was always a need to declare this “black” income irrespective of whether you rented it privately or via many of the online rental portals such as Homes Abroad for example. It is income and as we all know, the one thing governments love, is to tax someone on ANY income they may earn, no matter how small.

In Spain, there is no exception to that rule yet many thousands of people across Spain were renting without taking much notice to the regulations, basically because they thought “how could the authorities track it” and a more important question was, did they have the manpower to apply any fines when the amounts involved were relatively small.

It was therefore, a case of live and let live. The authorities knew it happened but were powerless to monitor and control it.

Everything was going nicely, everyone was happy, and then Mr “AirBnB” came along and put the spanner in the works, and not just a private holiday rental level!

With everyone jumping on the wagon, people started renting out their properties in areas where there was intensive tourism and hotel space was at a premium, eager to earn money from their unused rooms.

All seemed quiet on the western front as they say, until the Hotel associations of the major cities started complaining to the Local Authorities about the injustice of them paying tax on their income, yet private individuals, earning lots of money for renting their rooms in places like Barcelona, Madrid and Majorca, got away Scott free!

The net result was, just like the Phoenix out of the ashes, was the rebirth of the “Holiday Rental License”.

Many associations in Barcelona, Madrid and Majorca joined forces and as a first step, people who owned properties were not allowed to offer them for short term rental.

In Palma, Majorca, renting of apartments is banned completely in the summer season and now in Barcelona, they have doubled the number of inspectors to combat short term unlicensed renting. This led to the Barcelona authorities fining Airbnb €600,000 for allowing unlicensed properties to be advertised on their portal.

It seems therefore the authorities are determined to crack down on this industry in the short term, so how can someone get “in line” with the Spanish legal system?

What Properties Require A Holiday Rental License

Licenses are required for all types of holiday properties including apartments, studio apartments, villas, chalets, bungalows and other similar properties.

A license is not required for properties for rents of more than 1-2 months.

Once you apply and receive your license, you then have to comply with Decree 92/2009 which sets out the technical/physical requirements of the property. This decree was partially modified by Decree 75/2015.


All License holders must possess Public Liability Insurance (Accident, theft etc).

Income Declaration

Any income derived from holiday rentals must be declared in your annual tax returns (see your lawyer/Gestor for further information).

Company Registration

If you manage more than 5 properties, then you must register a company.

Property Advertising

When you advertise your property, you must always display your license details.

You can apply for the licence in any government administrative office, but it is recommended to use one of the following offices below.


Obtain the necessary forms

The holders of the license needs to obtain and user and password from the police so they can enter online the name of each person that stays in the premises

The applicant then needs a “Declaration of Second Occupation” and a plan of the property drawn by an Architect.

These papers are then sent by registered post to:

Registro del Servicio Territorial de Turismo
C/ Churruca, 29
03003 Alicante
and the procedure normally takes three months to process.

Inspectors will require the following information if they call on you:

  • Copy of Title Deeds
  • Receipt for IBI
  • First Occupation License
  • Police Registration of the property

Please Note: This article is only a GUIDE to the rules for applying for a holiday rental license and should no way take precedent over obtaining the correct legal professional advice of your Lawyer or Gestor. Many areas of Spain have differing rules and regulations on the requirements for Tourist License Approval.

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