Spain cracks down on home rentals for tourists

Thousands of homeowners in Spain will no longer be able to rent out their properties to tourists on a short term basis if Spain's Senate approves a new law that would make the practice illegal.

Spain cracks down on home rentals for tourists
The new law is aimed at cracking down on the thousands of people who currently rent out their homes independently to holiday makers over the internet. Photo: Linus Bowman

Spain's Senate are set to vote in the coming week's on a law that would make it illegal for homeowners to rent out their properties to tourists on a short term basis.

Authorities believe around 20,000 properties will be affected.

The law is aimed at cracking down on the thousands of people who currently rent out their homes independently to holiday makers over the internet, a practice which hotel owners have long criticised for undermining the country's tourist trade.

“It would be a declaration of principle against renting out property for a certain number of days. Now all that needs to be done is to create the rules that would make it illegal to offer an apartment for holiday rental,” said Eliseo Martinez Secretary General of Asotur, an organisation which deals with property rental for tourists.

Spain's housing crisis has resulted in a proliferation of apartments that are being rented out “irregularly” to tourists for a certain number of days. In Madrid around 3,000 properties are believed to be on the rental market unbeknown to authorities.

The new legislation, which has already been approved by Spain's Congress, would hand the power of regulating the renting of properties to regional governments and would make temporary leasing by a private property owner illegal.

Short-term renting to tourists, whether for the summer period or on a day-by-day basis, has up to now been a civil right enshrined in Spain’s Urban Rental law (LAU).

But the government appears to have finally listened to the pleas of hotel owners.

In its new National Tourism Plan, the Spanish government stated “there has been a significant increase in this type of leasing” and described it as “unfair competition” for the country’s traditional tourism model.

Property owners in Spain however fear that everyone will be tarred with the same brush, even those who rent their properties legally.

“It’s true that there are a lot of underground deals, but we’re against that”, Asotur president David Tornos told 20 minutos.

“We pay our taxes and stick to the law, but hotel owners say we’re pirates. We want to be monitored and to be allowed to do our jobs.”

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How does Spain’s new website to find cheap homes up for auction work?

Spain’s Tax Agency has created a new web page where you can find great bargains on properties sold at auction. Here’s what you need to know.

How does Spain's new website to find cheap homes up for auction work?

If you’re looking for a property to buy in Spain, one option you may want to consider is buying a home at auction, where you will often pay below the market value.

In Spain, the Agencia Tributaria or Tax Agency owns many properties, most of which have been repossessed or seized due to outstanding debt.

Many of these properties are put up for auction, enabling you to get some great bargains. Up until now, it has been difficult to find out when these auctions are held and the details of the homes being sold, but recently the Agencia Tributaria launched a new web page providing all this information.

The page provides details on all the properties in all the different provinces across the country and is dedicated to the sale of homes, garages, plots of land and commercial spaces with prices from just €20,000. You can access the site here

When you get to the page, simply click on the province that you’re interested in and you’ll find a list of all the properties to be sold at auction there, including photos, information on the size and number of rooms, a description, and a guide price.

The site will also give you financial information such as the minimum bid amount, the auction value and an appraisal of the property.

When you find some properties that you’re interested in, you can go and log-in with your [email protected] PIN to save them to your favourites list and receive notifications to your phone about the date of the auction.

READ ALSO: How to save lots of time on official matters through Spain’s online [email protected] system

According to property giant Idealista in order to place a bid, you must pay 5 percent of the starting price and when the auction is over, if you are the highest bidder, you will have to pay the remaining amount within a particular time frame. You can pay this in cash or through a mortgage. 

Be aware that you may also have to pay several fees, as well as the price of the property such as the Patrimonial Transfer Tax and Tax on Documented Legal Acts. 

If you register on the Auction Portal with your digital certificate or a username and password, you will also be able to see the bids that have already been made on the home, as well as the cadastral reference. You may also be able to place provisional bids ahead of time.

For those who are unsure of how the auction process works in Spain or are nervous about going to their first auction, the Tax Agency website also details all the auction and bidding procedures. For any other information that you can’t find online, you can call 91 598 63 34.