Many Britons or other foreign nationals who own property in Spain choose to rent out their properties in the short-term to generate an income when they aren’t using their holiday home themselves. But one question that they often ask is whether they should tell their neighbours that they are planning to rent their property. And if your neighbour is opposed to your plan, is there anything they can do?
The answer depends on the type of property you live in and the autonomous region in which you live in. Here’s everything you need to know:
Do You Live in A Community Property?
If you live in an apartment or a community property then you will be part of a wider community of neighbours. The equivilent of a homeowners association, this is known as La Comunidad or Comunidad de Vecinos in Spanish.
In 2019, Spanish property law was adjusted to include a clause that stated that “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 means, therefore, that you do live in a property that is represented by a community of owners then you will have to seek permission from that community before you can let out your property or list it on sites such as Air BnB.
However, the wording of this is open to some intepretation: whilst it states that community groups can limit tourist use of properties, it doesn’t expressly say that these can be prohibited. Each autonomous community has their own intepretation of this law, and to make things even more complicated, some regions have their own regional laws surrounding the use of properties for short term let too.
Some regions will state clearly that you need permission from your comunidad, while others do not specifically state this. However, as a general rule, if you wish to continue to live harmoniously within a community and use your property for personal use too, you should consider discussing your plans with your neighbours.
What Regional Rules Are In Place?
If you want to let your property in Spain, particularly if you live in a community or apartment building, then your first step should be to approach your local town hall to see what rules you will need to abide by in order to be eligible for a letting license.
Different regions have very different rules, and as the housing crisis in Spain deepens, many regions are seeking to combat this by putting stricter restrictions in place for short term lets. Some examples of the rules in different regions are outlined below:
In Catalonia, the law prohibits the renting out of apartments to tourists if a vote is taken and over 80 percent of the community of neighbours don’t want it.
By contrast, in Cordoba it was recently determined in court 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. This means that neighbours cannot deprive a homeowner of the possibility of using their flats for tourist rentals.
Provincial courts in Pontevedra made a similar decision to the judges in Cordoba, stating that no unanimous vote is needed for property owners to rent their community homes. They did endorse the three-fifths majority rule outlined above, but this hasn’t been confirmed as it is still being disputed as Supreme Court leve.
What Are The Official National Rules?
Because so many decisions in Spain are made by regional government, there are no nationwide law that can be referred to as to whether you need permission from your neighbours before you can let your property.
Therefore it is important to check the rules for your region, secure an appropriate tourist licence, and see if there are any relevant bylaws within your comunidad contract. If you have signed a homeowners association contract agreeing that you will not let your property then this agreement supercedes regional law.
Even if you discover you are not legally obliged to inform your neighbours, you still might feel that it is the right thing to do.
Airbnb Spain confirm this when they state "consider letting your neighbours know you're hosting and explaining what steps you plan to take to make sure guests won't disturb them".
Are you thinking of moving to Spain? Or looking for a holiday home that you can let when you’re not using it? Then why not get in touch with our locally based property experts, who are perfectly placed to help make you dream of Spanish home ownership a reality. We’re already excited to work with you!