On the 2nd of February 2016, the Government of Andalucia passed a decree intended to provide further regulation over the holiday / short-term rentals market. These new laws will affect property owners who rent all or part of their properties for any period of up to 2 months.

Property owners will be legally responsible to the Registry of Tourism and their guests for ensuring that all minimum requirements are met, and that the property is registered correctly and legally entitled to be rented for touristic short-term accommodation.

Owners who fail to register, or ensure that their properties meet the new regulations, face potentially large fines and although a figure of up to 180,000 Euros has been quoted by some sources, it is still a grey area as to exactly what the penalties will be.

Objectives of the new decree with an ever-increasing number of new marketing channels, new ways to travel, and new ways of putting your holiday rental out there, it has never been so easy to book private accommodation abroad. The downside of this however is that quality, service and minimum levels of comfort can quite often be below the standards of what the Junta de Andalucia believes they should be.Also according to the Junta, holiday-makers desire more direct relationships with resident owners in the destinations they choose, which they believe will help to improve the traveler’s experience through better standards of service, and better protection of a guest’s rights.           

From a commercial perspective, the new regulation is also intended to reduce tax-fraud and unfair competition against other similar tourist type accommodation. Unsurprisingly, this agenda is heavily backed by the hotel industry.

Typically, what kind of properties will come under scrutiny?

Properties that fall into the tourist / short-term accommodation category will be located in residential areas and habitually marketed through one or more tourism channels (travel companies / holiday accommodation portals, etc.), where individuals are able to make and pay for short-term bookings / reservations.

A short term / holiday rental period is defined as any period of time less than 2 months.

Further limitations also apply:

• A property must be rented in its entirety and maximum capacity will be limited by the terms of its occupational license, up to a maximum of 15 people, with a maximum of 4 persons per room

• Rooms can be rented individually, but the owner must also live in the property. An internationally recognized type of accommodation such as Bed and Breakfast can be used to describe the property, and maximum capacity in this instance is 6, with maximum 4 individuals per room

Exempt from the new decree:

• Properties where guests have not paid to stay, and where no financial transaction has taken place

• Accommodations contracted for more than two months consecutively by the same individual

• Homes located in rural areas (These are subject to a different decree -Tourism in Rural and Active Tourism)

• 3 or more properties owned by the same individual, located in the same building or neighbouring urbanisations, or buildings within 1 km radius  (These are classified as Touristic Apartments subject to Decree 194/2010 of 20 April)

Also note that it is illegal under any circumstances, to restrict access to accommodation for reasons of birth, race, sex, religion, opinion or other personal or social circumstances.

Registering your holiday rental property owners, who rent their properties short-term, must register their properties by May 31st 2016, by submitting a statement to the Ministry of Tourism confirming that the property complies with all requirements of the decree. After submitting an application, the property can be rented as short-stay accommodation with immediate effect.

The application submitted must include details of the property including owner information (individual or company), maximum capacity (as stated in the occupation license), cadastral reference, contact details and address information.

Touristic Property Accommodation Requirements

It is up to property owners to ensure that their properties meet the minimum requirements. Here is a breakdown of how your property must comply:

1. Properties must have an occupational license and comply with all technical housing conditions and quality requirements

2. Properties must have direct external ventilation (E.g. via a patio or terrace) with a means of controlling /reducing light coming through windows (via blinds or curtains)

3. Properties must be sufficiently equipped and furnished for immediate use

4. If the property is rented between the months of May to September, it must have air conditioning installed in all bedrooms and living areas, and heating if rented between the months of October to April. Property owners have 12 months to comply with air-conditioning / heating requirements

5. The property must have a properly stocked first-aid / medical kit

6. A basic information pack must be provided that contains details of local amenities including local medical facilities, shops, restaurants, parking, public transport, taxis, etc. This can be in a physical or digital format

7. A complaints book must be provided, with separate notification pinned to a wall or other easily visible location to show that this is available

8. Owners must enter travelers personal details into a log book that includes identification verification of the guests (Passport, N.I.E, etc)

9. Properties must be cleaned prior to arrival of guests and upon departure

10. Bedding, towels and general household good must be supplied. Spare replacement sets should also be made available

11. A working contact number must be made available for dealing with any issues that arise with the property, or questions guests may have

12. Manuals and information regarding the use of electrical / domestic appliances must be supplied with the property. This can also be provided in paper or electronic format

13. Clear guidance must be provided regarding restrictions on the accommodation such as pets, smoking or facilities, before confirming a booking Requirements and processes for handling guest stays

1. Guests must be provided with a document specifying the property owner’s details including a contact number, property registration number, holiday maker’s personal details, check-in and check-out dates, and total price of the stay

2. Guests must also present their identification document (passport) so that property owners can register this data accordingly – as is usual with hotels and other forms of touristic accommodation

3. Check-in / check-out times will be mutually agreed between owners and renters, and if not specifically stated, will be at 4pm (Check-in) and 12:00 pm (Check-out)

4. Upon check-in, homeowners must provide keys or access cards to the property (or urbanization), information or manuals regarding property appliances, and any applicable community rules

5. Prices must be advertised as a cost per night (no minimum term applies) and this figure must include costs for water, light, cleaning, bedding and electricity

6. Terms and conditions of the booking including the reservation fee, price and payment terms will be established between the homeowners and guests, and must be stated in detail in advance before confirming the booking. Proof of advance payment must also be provided, if applicable

7. Unless previously agreed, homeowners are entitled to request an advance deposit payment of up to 30% of the total agreed price

8. If the renter cancels their reservation more than 10 days before the start date of the booking, homeowners may keep up to 50% of the deposit / booking fee. If a cancelation is made less than 10 days before the start date of the booking, homeowners may keep the entire advance payment

9. If an owner cancels a reservation more than 10 days beforehand, they must return the entire advance payment to the renter

10. If an owner cancels a reservation less than 10 days before the start date, they must compensate the renter with 30% of the price of the contracted stay

11. If a confirmed booking is canceled by either party because of force majeure, i.e. abnormal and unavoidable circumstances, no compensation will be due so what happens after your property is registered?

Inspectors are expected to visit properties submitted for registration within 12 months of making an application. Registration numbers assigned by the Registry of Tourism must be displayed on all promotional materials, or any other places where the property is advertised or promoted.