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UPDATE: Which cities in Spain have new restrictions on tourist rentals?

The Local Spain
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UPDATE: Which cities in Spain have new restrictions on tourist rentals?
Spanish cities crack down on tourist rentals. Photo: PAU BARRENA / AFP

Skyrocketing tourist numbers in Spain has resulted in a boom in profitable short-term holiday lets, with the knock-on effect of pricing out locals. Regional governments and town halls are reacting by rolling out limits on tourist accommodation. Here's what's new in 2024.


One of the most problematic issues in larger Spanish cities currently is the spiralling cost of renting a home.

For landlords, short-term lets are far more lucrative than long-term rental deals, leading to the proliferation of tourist apartments rented out on platforms such as Airbnb and Booking.

This in turn is contributing to property price speculation, meaning that residents who rent are priced out of central areas. Those who can afford to stay feel like they’re living in a hotel, with the coming and going of tourists from their buildings.  

According to the latest data from the Spanish government, the number of tourist apartments in the country has grown by 9 percent in the last year, exceeding 340,000 and reaching the highest figure since data became available (August 2020).

This means there is approximately one tourist home for every 1.5 square kilometre and for every 139 inhabitants. 

Given the lack of a nationwide law on holiday lets that can be harnessed to address the issue, regional governments and town halls have been cracking down recently on these types of tourist accommodations and have introduced new limitations, as well as fighting against illegal accommodations.

In May of this year, Valencia City Hall unanimously voted to suspend the granting of new licences for tourist accommodation for at least a year, with the potential to be extended to one more. This comes after news that average rents in all city districts are now over €1,000 a month. The suspension will affect anyone wanting to rent out temporary accommodation to visitors, specifically located in buildings of other homeowners and commercial spaces. It will not affect apartments in buildings where all the accommodation has been reserved for tourists.

READ ALSO: Valencia to stop issuing licences to Airbnb-style lets as rents soar past €1,000

Madrid is the city in Spain with the highest number of vacation rentals, over 14,000 according to the latest figures. This is practically double the number of the second destination on the list, which is Barcelona. At the end of April, Madrid City Hall announced it would temporarily suspend the granting of new licences. They also announced they would not authorise the transformation of commercial properties into tourist accommodation in the centre of the city and would increase the fines for tourist properties that do not comply with regulations.

READ ALSO: Madrid to suspend holiday-let licences as rent prices spiral


Seville’s mayor José Luis Sanz recently announced that he would not grant new licenses in the most saturated areas of the city. "There is no room for one more tourist apartment," he warned. Licences will no longer be granted in 11 central neighbourhoods including Santa Cruz, Arenal, Alfalfa, San Bartolomé, Feria, Encarnación-Regina, Santa Catalina, San Lorenzo, San Gil, San Vicente and Triana.

Málaga already has around 8,000 tourist rentals and the situation is becoming uncontrollable. This has led the City Council to implement a new series of control measures that will establish limits in crowded areas and favour long-term rentals instead. One of these rules requires that tourist accommodation has independent access, as stated in the decree of the Junta de Andalucía, which came into force at the end of February.

Palma de Mallorca
Palma's City Council has presented a package of measures to prohibit vacation rentals in all types of homes. The measure, which will come into force in the short term, would mean eliminating up to 4,000 rentals which were pending authorisation. "The tourist pressure on Palma must be compensated with limitations, with restrictions and, in some cases, with prohibitions," said Mayor Jaime Martínez, after announcing his intentions at the beginning of June. 


In November 2023, a new decree-law was approved regulating tourist apartments by requiring an urban planning license in 262 towns in the region. These permits must be renewed every five years by the owners. Additionally, the rule includes a limit on licences, specifically 10 apartments per 100 inhabitants, in those municipalities with housing issues. Barcelona hasn't been issuing new tourist licences for years now, and according to data published by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), it has seen a 55 percent reduction in tourist rentals since August 2020.

Santiago de Compostela
Recently, the Santiago city council has declared that hundreds of tourist flats will become illegal if they don't comply with new regulations. Because of this, only a handful of the hundreds of tourist properties in the city will be able to continue operating. The new rule limits these apartments to the ground and first floors of buildings only. 

READ ALSO: 'We won't look for renters': Holiday lets in Spain's Santiago forced to close


Even though the green northern region receives far fewer tourists than other parts of Spain, it too has been forced to regulate tourist rentals. In April of this year, authorities announced that they would create new regulations on tourist accommodation. They include limiting the number of short-term rentals, and requiring permission from neighbours before they are allowed in shared buildings. They also want to ban renting out single bedrooms and give more power to local councils to try and protect property markets. No fixed date for approval has yet been announced. 

READ ALSO: How Spain's Asturias region plans to limit short-term holiday lets

Granada recently announced its plan to limit tourist apartments in the city too. The mayor of Granada, Marifrán Carazo, signed a decree stating that this type of accommodation must have independent access, as well as independent supply facilities such as electricity, water and phone lines. 

The Andalusian city of Cádiz, the Galician city of Vigo and the region of Cantabria have also all announced they have begun to study options to limit these rentals. No doubt more cities and regions will join them in the near future. 


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Leannikki 2024/06/14 12:39

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