The first law to control private holiday rentals in Andalucía has been approved. Owners who are already renting to tourists are now obliged to register the property on the ‘Registro de Turismo’ as will any others planning to offer villas, apartments or rooms in their own home as tourist accommodation. However, the new decree has led to an influx of questions at the tourism department:
What is considered to be tourist accommodation?
Any building in Andalucía which is habitually offered as accommodation at a price fixed by the owner and which is advertised through tourism channels, such as travel agencies or online platforms. According to the Junta’s Tourism Delegation in Malaga, every property which is publicised on these portals and puts the owner in touch with travellers has to be registered as tourist accommodation. This does not, however, include tourist accommodation in officially designated rural areas, because this is already covered by an existing decree. Nor does the new regulation apply to owners who have three or more properties which are used as tourist accommodation but are within a radius of one kilometre. In their case, they are regulated by the ‘Apartamentos Turísticos’ decree, which has also been modified, under the sector regarding tourist complexes.
What if a property is only rented for weeks or fortnights during the three summer months?
These also have to be registered on the Registro de Turismo. The regulations only exclude properties rented for more than two consecutive months by the same person, which would be governed by the normal property rental law. Properties still have to be registered if they are rented without using online accommodation sites.
What facilities does a property have to have?
It must have its first occupation licence. The bedrooms must have exterior ventilation and means of shutting out the light. There must be coolings and heating systems at least in the lounge and bedrooms. The regulations insist on domestic appliances, a first aid kit, information about the area in the form of leaflets, maps, etc, and a complaints book. the regulations also specify that the property must be cleaned when clients arrive and leave. Bed linen must be provided, along with a spare set. Tourists must also be given a contact telephone number in case any problems rise, and must be made aware of rules set by the community of owners. The maximum capacity for a single property may not exceed 15 people.
When can a property be registered on the Registro de Turismo?
Registration will start in three months’ time, after the decree was published in the Official Bulletin of the Junta de Andalucía (BOJA) this week. The Junta’s Tourism Department estimates that the register will be operative in May, and recommends using this interim period to prepare the paperwork and the property: find or obtain the first occupation licence, download the form, get hold of leaflets, tourist maps, etc or install air conditioning. The aim is that by the summer, properties will officially be able to continue with their normal activity. The fine for those who fail to register can be as much as 150,000 euros.
What documentation has to be presented?
It is a very simple process, but this is one of the most common concerns among owners. All they have to do is go to the website of the ‘Consejería de Turismo’ of the Junta de Andalucía and click on ‘Registro de Turismo’, they can then print off the ‘Declaración Responsable’. This document has to be filled in and signed, and then given to the Delegación de Turismo of the province. The registration will then be processed so the property can be rented, and a code will be assigned to identify the property. That code must be included when advertising it on online platforms.
What are the tax implications of a property which is rented for tourism?
It is treated as an urban rental, in other words the money obtained from rentals has to be declared as annual income. It is not necessary for an owner to register
as self-employed, no separate taxes have to be paid and IVA does not have to be charged if the property is being rented out by the owner. This type of tourist accommodation is treated as a service, not an establishment.
Can you just rent out a room in a property?
This is also covered by the decree, but only if the owner lives in the property in which he or she wants to rent rooms to tourists. In fact, this is the first law in Spain to include this possibility. The process and the documentation are the same as if you were renting out the entire property. You will also be given a registration code, which has to be quoted when advertising the service with specialist online platforms.
Do you have to give each tourist a contract, or a bill, or ask for their ID for police registration purposes?
The rules say that you have to give each client a contract, even if they are only staying for one night. Also, that written agreement must be kept for one year in case inspectors from the Tourism authorities want to see it. The document must include the name of the person or company that is renting the property, the registration code, the number of people who will be staying in the property, the dates they arrive and leave, the total cost of the stay and the contact phone number for them to ring in case of problems. The owner can only issue a receipt for payment, rather than an invoice, and the rental price can be freely determined by the owner of the property. For security reasons, the people who will be staying in the property should provide their identity document upon arrival, but it is not yet been known whether these details need to be passed on to the police. Hotels and apartments do so online, but this process is not covered by the Tourism authorities.
Is there a set time for people to arrive or leave a property?
Yes. The regulations say that if no specific time is agreed, the tourists can enter at 16.00h and must leave by 12.00h.
What happens if an owner wants to rent out three or more properties within a 1,000 metre radius?
This is the most controversial point about these new regulations, because it says that people who rent out three or more properties in the same building or in blocks within a radius of one kilometre must register as Apartamentos Turísticos and are governed by this different regulation, which has been modified for this purpose. It is more demanding because it insists on an opening licence and certain requirements which include minimum measurements in different rooms of the property.
Also, properties that are considered to “apartamentos turísticos” are treated differently for tax purposes. According to the Junta, anybody who owns three or more properties has to register as self-employed, and will be taxed in the same way as those who are running a business.
In this case, they will come under the section of ‘apartamentos turísticos’ as far as Hacienda, the Spanish tax agency, is concerned.