The Regulation of Tourist Rentals in Spain

The tourist rental in Spain is a subject that interests many investors. But beware, recently, most major Spanish cities have put in place regulations to control and limit this activity.

Buying in Spain is often synonymous with rental investment. A year ago, we took stock of the regulatory situation of tourist rentals in Spain. What is happening today in the big Spanish cities? Discover it in this article.


With the implementation of Royal Decree 7/2019 in March 2019, the Property Law (“Ley de Propiedad Horizontal”) was amended. From now on, the majority of three-fifths of the owners of a building may decide to limit or prohibit tourist apartments in this building. Until now, this decision had to be unanimous. The condominium may also impose an additional cost in the distribution of co-ownership fees at the expense of tourist apartments (up to a limit of 20%).


Since January 1, 2019, tourist rental booking platforms are obliged to send the Spanish tax authorities details of all their operations in Spain. The tourist rental income for the year 2018 are therefore the first notified. For each tourist rental, the booking platforms (Airbnb, Homeaway, Wimdu, etc.) must transmit to the tax authorities, through a declaration (the model 179), the following elements:

• Identity of the owner of the dwelling

• Owner of the right under which the housing is transferred (if different from the owner of the dwelling)

• Identity of tenants.

• Property being rented

• Number of days of occupation

• Amount received by the principal 

• Contract number assigned through the intermediary

• Rental start date

• Payment date

• Identification of the means of payment used


Barcelona was the first city in the world to inflict a very heavy fine on Airbnb, 600,000€, in November 2016. It is also the first city in Spain to have regulated the occupation of pisos turisticos (tourist apartments).

In March 2017, the municipality approved a specific urban planning program for tourist housing, the PEUAT (“Especial Plan Urbanístico de Alojamientos Turísticos de Barcelona”). This program spilts Barcelona into four areas:

• Zone 1 (in pink on the map below): it covers the historic center, in particular Poble Sec, Poblenou and much of Eixample. No new tourist accommodation license can be issued. Housing licenses that cease their tourist rental activities will not be renewed. The will of the town hall is to reduce the capacity of tourist reception in this zone.

• Zone 2 (in yellow): it is roughly a crown around the center, which covers the peripheral part of Eixample, Sants, Les Corts, Gracia, Sant Gervasi and Diagonal Mar. There is status quo of the number of licenses only canceled licenses will be replaced.

• Zone 3 (in green): almost all the rest of the municipal area. New licenses are possible, but within the limit of a maximum number allowed; when this number is reached, it is necessary, as for zone 2, to wait until licenses cease to obtain one.

• Zone 4 (in blue): it is a very marginal area covering some neighborhoods, the Sagrera, the north of 22 @ and the Marina del Prat. New licenses are subject to conditions.

According to the Catalan municipality, the implementation of this legislation would have limited the number of tourist apartments in Barcelona to 9,600 units, with the disappearance of 6000 illegal units. The municipality imposed fines on 6,500 owners and operators. On the site of statistical analysis of tourist accommodation Airdna, there are still 19,900 tourist accommodation units as of June 2019, of which 58% of whole dwellings and 42% of tourist rooms. 


In March 2019, the Municipality of Madrid approved the HEP (“Especial Plan de Regulación del Uso de Hospedaje”). This plan only applies to tourist accommodations rented more than 90 days a year.

The plan defines four areas of application:

• The first ring: it corresponds to the district of Centro. In this area, the tourist apartment must have independent access to the street (occupants can not use entrances, gates or lifts common to the rest of the building). Access cannot be direct, there must be a similar reception or reception.

• The second ring: it includes the district of Chamberi in full and part of the districts of Chamartín, Salamanca, Retiro, Arganzuela and Moncloa-Aravaca. There are the same constraints as in the first ring.

• The third ring: it extends to the remaining districts of the partial districts of the second ring, to which are added neighborhoods of the districts of Tetuán, Usera, Carabanchel and Latina. The constraints are the same as in the first or second ring but only in buildings where professional activities are not allowed.

• In the rest of the municipality, the situation does not change.


The new Law on Tourism and Hospitality (“Ley de Turismo y Hospitalidad”) was approved by the Municipality of Valencia in June 2018. It imposes the following constraints to have a tourist license.

• Tourist accommodation must be located on the ground or first floor.

• It must not be located above or on the same landing as another private residential dwelling.

• The building must not have more than 50% of tourist housing.

• In short, it’s either the ground floor or above a business!

• In some neighborhoods, it’s even more limited:

◦ In the center (Ciutat Vella), the maximum rental period granted to individuals to rent their apartment to tourists is 60 days

◦ In Cabanyal (a traditional seaside district), the tourist housing stock is limited to 10% of the total stock, with the exception of the seaside houses where this rate rises to 30%

In January 2019, a new municipal decree requires a reapplication of tourism licenses every 5 years.

Since new law came into affect, the City Council has granted only about twenty tourist licenses on a hundred requests. According to hotel professionals in Valencia, there are about 5,000 tourist apartments in Valencia, half of which are illegal. The Airdna site lists a little more in June 2019, 6,900, of which 70% of total housing and 30% of rooms.


There is no common standard for the city of Alicante, but special requirements depending on the area. Thus in the area of ​​the San Juan Beach, the establishment of tourist accommodation is limited to the ground floor. And in the area of ​​the traditional center and the historic center, it is limited to entire buildings.

Airdna has 3700 tourist accommodation units in June 2019, 76% of which are entire dwellings and 24% of tourist rooms.


Palma de Mallorca is one of the Spanish municipalities to have adopted the most drastic measures against “pisos turisticos”. It is true that in 2017, there were 10,000 beds in the tourist rental of the capital Mallorcan for only … 645 licenses!

Since July 2018, it is simply forbidden to rent a flat for tourist purposes! Only tourist homes are allowed. Nevertheless, more than half of the “old” tourist accommodations are still in operation. Airbnb for example still shows 1640 tourist accommodation in Palma in June 2019, one year after the ban! Airdna announces another 2200 tourist accommodation units in June 2019 in Palma including 70% of total housing and 30% of tourist rooms.

The Balearic government has also implemented the Tourist Rental Law 6/2017, which provides fines of 40,000 to 400,000 € for operators who advertise illegal tourist accommodation, and 20,000 to 40,000 € for owners.

But the low human resources allocated to control considerably reduce the effectiveness of the measures taken …


At the end of March 2018, came into force the municipal ordinance of San Sebastian regulating the urban use of dwellings and tourist rooms (Ordenanza reguladora del uso urbanístico de vivienda turística y alquiler de habitaciones en vivienda habitual para uso turístico).

On the Barcelona model, this ordinance divides the city into three different zones.

• Zone A, saturated, which covers the Old City and where no more licenses are granted.

• Zone B, with high demand, corresponding to the outlying areas of the old town, where tourist accommodation must be on the first floor, or every 6 floors.

• Zone C, the rest of the city, where two tourist dwellings are allowed for each 6-storey part.

The ordinance also establishes the conditions of habitability and occupancy of dwellings, the minimum number of square meters and the conditions of public information of the beginning of activity.

San Sebastián has 1300 legal tourist homes in activity. Airdna has 1,500 tourist accommodation units in June 2019, of which 77% are full-fledged and 23% are tourist accommodation.


Bilbao, the other major Basque city, changed in January 2018 the General Plan of Urban Planning (Plan General de Ordenación Urbana), in the sense of 

a limitation of tourist apartments on the ground floor or the first floors with direct access. With the number of rooms per apartment, limited to three.

In the central districts, only one dwelling or tourist room is allowed per building.

Airdna has 900 tourist accommodation units in June 2019, of which 57% are full houses and 43% are tourist rooms.



Malaga City Council now considers that the problem is the Autonomous Community, therefore the region Andalusia.

Airdna: 6300 tourist accommodation units in June 2019 in Malaga, of which 88% of total housing and 12% of tourist rooms.


Marbella, which has the highest tariffs in Andalucia for tourist accommodation, aligns with its neighbor on the Costa del Sol.

Airdna: 5500 tourist accommodation units in June 2019 in Marbella, 95% of which are whole dwellings and 5% of tourist rooms.


In Seville, we are still at the stage of discussion and negotiations since … 2 years.

Airdna: 7500 tourist accommodation units in June 2019 in Seville, 84% of which are whole dwellings and 16% of tourist rooms.


Before the municipal elections of May 2019, there was unanimity of parties to regulate tourist accommodation in Cadiz … More than 1000 licenses were granted in just 3 years!

Airdna: 1,200 tourist accommodation units in June 2019 in Cádiz, 84% of which are whole dwellings and 16% of tourist rooms.


• If you are a non-resident owner in Spain, you must make a quarterly declaration to the tax authorities, even if you rent only once in a year!

• If you do not have a tourist license

◦ operators and rental websites will no longer accept you. Booking has removed several thousand ads this month in the Valencian Community

◦ you risk a fine of up to several thousand euros

◦ you expose yourself to the anger of the neighborhood and its funny method (see picture below).

• Tourist rental is a particularly profitable activity in the summer with the exception of some destinations that operate all year round, such as Barcelona and Madrid.

• Temporary rentals or classic rentals can often be more interesting than tourist rentals.

The Regulation of Tourist Rentals in Spain


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  1. […] the tourist hirings of Airbnb and others in Spain is superior to the hotel capacity. For two years, municipalities have responded by limiting the proliferation of “pisos turisticos“, but about 400,000 tourist beds are offered in apartments or villas. And if you are a owner […]

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