FIRST AND FOREMOST – These regulations only apply to owners who rent their properties. They do not apply to owner occupation or if you allow friends and family to use your property rent free. By all means read on if you would like to understand more about how things work in Spain.
These days, if you are a Spanish property owner and have the temerity to rent it out on holiday lets, you would quite reasonably feel persecuted.
Over the last few years the press has been full of news of Town Halls and Regional Governments issuing press releases and creating regulations to prevent or at least limit the right of owners of property to exercise their rights enshrined in the Constitution to rent out their properties on the best terms and conditions they are able.
The fact that holiday lets are attractive to both property owners and holiday makers is just a reflection of market conditions, although I am not sure if it is permitted to express such principles, these days.
Perhaps we should be suspicious of the authorities sticking their noses into the business of their citizens (actually termed in the feudal terminology so familiar in Spain as ‘Administrados, Sujeto Pasivos and Sujetos Obligados’). Perhaps we should question the motivation of the authorities who seek to limit property owner’s basic rights. The cynics amongst us would say that they just want to protect their friends in the hotel businesses who don’t like that irritating principle of honest competition challenging their overpriced market domination?
Part of the raft of regulations that are being imposed on property owners is the obligation to notify the ‘authorities’ of the customers who occupy the properties.
OK, to be fair in this case, this is no more than hotels have had to do, and have done since the year dot.
Of course we must remember that it is essential that the police should be able to track down the day to day movements of all citizens and visitors alike. (Really, why? It can’t be that this EU democracy is behaving like a police state, surely? Come back El Generalissimo, all is forgiven!)
Enough of the political commentary, here are the rules, just updated with a new Order of the Ministry of the Interior that states that because the online system does not yet work (surprised?) the deadline for the online system to apply has been put back from 2 June 2023 to 31 January 2024. So we, the ‘sujetos obligados’ in this case, have another 8 months to sort out the paperwork (Sigh of relief!).
So, invoking the infamous phrase from Basil Fawlty in that fantastically politically incorrect episode of Fawlty Towers, here are the ‘Orders To Be Obeyed’:
- You must have a digital certificate otherwise you are obviously subhuman and cannot make any applications to the Administration. “Jawohl, mein Oberführer”
- The reporting of false data, making errors in the data reported, the partial omission of information or missing the deadlines will constitute ‘minor infractions’ and be subject to fines between 100€ and 600€ per offence.
- Failing to register or failing to communicate the details of a customer will constitute serious offences and will be subject to fines between 601€ and 30.000€.
You can just imagine the joy in the eyes of the civil servant engaged to write these regulations as they came up with the rules. I can just see a speech bubble over his (her/their/++++?) head in which it is written “This will fix those free thinking property owning capitalists”.
The Reporting Obligations
Before commencing to rent, the property owner must notify the authorities of their personal details and property details. See paragraphs 1 and 2 of the translated Appendix I for details. Any modifications must also be notified.
Customer information as specified in paragraphs 3 and 4 of Appendix I must be notified:
- Within 24 hours of the reservation being fomalised or its cancellation.
- And then again at the start of occupation of the property.
- By telematic procedures. In the case of non-professionals notifications may be carried out by non-telematic means, by the procedure determined.
We continue to await the means to notify by ‘non-telematic means’. This should be interesting given the reliability of the normal postal system in Spain. As for the telematic means, that’s not available either, hence the delayed commencement of obligation until the end January 2024.
And lets not forget GDPR, the EU wide nonsensical regulation on personal data treatment that causes us to click desperately to get rid of cookie privacy warnings when we access a new website. To protect yourself from this nonsense GDPR legislation, remember to include in your Airbnb etc entries and advertisements that you will be requesting all the information in the linked pages in order to comply with Spain’s laws.
As an Englishman would have said laconically in a not so distant past “Yes Sir, no Sir, and three bags full, Sir”. GenZ and non native English speakers read here for the meaning of this excellent English idiom.