Advertisement

Property in Spain For Members

Can my neighbours stop me from renting out my Spanish flat on Airbnb?

The Local Spain
The Local Spain - [email protected]
Can my neighbours stop me from renting out my Spanish flat on Airbnb?
Rules around Airbnb in Vienna are already quite strict - and will be tightened further from July 2024. Photo: Peggy / Pixabay

It’s a common question – can I rent out my apartment in Spain on Airbnb or other short-term rental websites? The answer depends on many different factors, and whether your community of neighbours can prevent it is one of them.

Advertisement

Renting out your Spanish home on Airbnb or other rental sites can of course be tricky , with many regions requiring tourist licences, restricting the locations of tourist accommodation and some stating that you must get permission from your community of neighbours first.

There's also the question of your community of neighbours, referred to La Comunidad or Comunidad de Vecinos in Spanish, which is like a homeowner's association of everyone who owns a property in the same building or complex. 

READ ALSO: 'La comunidad': What property owners in Spain need to know about homeowners’ associations

Advertisement

Can your community of neighbours actually prevent you from renting out your apartment on Airbnb?

Spain’s Horizontal Property Law which was modified in 2019 to add an extra clause specifically regarding this matter.

It states: “The agreement that limits or conditions the exercise of the activity referred to in letter e) of article 5 of Law 29/1994, of November 24th, on Urban Leases, in the terms established in the tourism sector regulations, whether or not it involves modification of the constitutive title or the bylaws, will require the favourable vote of three-fifths of the total number of owners who, in turn, represent three-fifths of the participation quotas”.

This seems to suggest that in order to be able to rent your property out to tourists on platforms such as Airbnb, you will need at least three-fifths of your community of neighbours to agree to it.

The particular wording of the law has been the subject of much legal controversy and judicial interpretation. The reason is because the wording only mentions the possibility for communities to "limit or condition" tourist use but they do not have the power to "prohibit" since the law does not expressly so say so.

In some regions in Spain, this law is being upheld and communities of neighbours have been able to prohibit people from renting out their properties to tourists, while in others it has been open to interpretation.  

What makes it even more tricky is that many regions also have their own laws on tourist accommodation, which really restrict whether you can rent your property out to tourists, depending on its location, its floor and if tourist licences are even available.

Some of these also state that you need permission from your comunidad, while others do not specifically state this. 

READ ALSO - EXPLAINED: What are Spain's rules and taxes for Airbnb rentals?

The example of Córdoba 

A recent ruling by the Provincial Court of Córdoba stated that communities of owners cannot prohibit residents from renting out their apartments to tourists, if the rule was not included in the original statutes of the building or, failing that, it is unanimously assumed.

The ruling rejected the appeal filed by a community of owners in the Andalusian city against the decision of the court that annulled this agreement for being abusive and contrary to the law.

The Provincial Court of Córdoba was also also against the idea that the majority of owners should be able to affect a homeowner's choice and also noted the damage that it can cause for the owner when selling their apartment because it may decrease in value if the purchaser isn’t allowed to rent it out to tourists. 

Therefore, the ruling concluded that the Horizontal Property Law does not allow owners to deprive their neighbours of the possibility of using their flats for tourist rentals.  

When the law was modified in 2019 to allow the owners to limit this activity in the building if they received a vote of three-fifths, they were not actually being given the choice to prohibit it completely. The problem, the magistrates see, is that the text of the regulation is ambiguous.

Advertisement

The example of Pontevedra 

Córdoba is not the only province in Spain to have ruled this way. Recently the Provincial Court of Pontevedra in Galicia overturned a ruling to void the agreement of a community of neighbours to prohibit tourist rentals in their building because it was not unanimously voted for.

They endorsed the majority three-fifths rule. However, it is still somewhat disputed at a Supreme Court level.  

Catalonia

In Catalonia, the law does prohibit the renting out of apartments to tourists if over 80 percent of the community of neighbours don’t want it.  

Valencia 

In Valencia, besides the list of rules you need to comply with, such as your apartment being located on the ground or first floor, the rules state that if your accommodation is in a community of neighbors, it will be necessary to verify that the rules of the community of neighbors to make sure they do not prohibit or limit the activity.  

They don’t, however, mention that you must get permission from them or that they can prohibit you from renting it out.  

Canary Islands

In the Canary Islands, renting out your property to tourists is highly regulated and there are many rules about the types of buildings and locations that will depend on whether or not you can rent it out to tourists or not. If your property meets all the other requirements, then according to law firm Ilisastigui Abogados, "renting out to tourists will be legal as long as there is no agreement to the contrary by the owners association". 

Given all of this, it’s clear that it’s not just regions that have their own rulings on the matter, but provinces too, like in the cases of Córdoba and Pontevedra.

This means that it will completely depend on where your property is in the country as to whether your homeowners' association can prohibit you or not. Even if they do prohibit you, it seems that there is always the chance in some areas that you could take it to court and it will be overturned. 

The best option is to contact your local ayuntamiento or town hall and find out what the specific rules are in your area. It's also important to look at the homeowner association rules that you will have received when you bought the property in the first place as it's likely this will also answer your question. 

Advertisement

As so often happens in Spain, there is no nationwide law which applies to every municipality when it comes to needing permission from your community of neighbours to rent out your place. If you are going to research how to get a licence to let out your place, try to find out as well what the local bylaws are regarding your comunidad

In Airbnb Spain's own words, "consider letting your neighbours know you're hosting and explaining what steps you plan to take to make sure guests won't disturb them".

READ ALSO: Which cities have new restrictions on tourism rentals?

More

Comments

Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also