Requirements for short term rentals in Malaga

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If you own, or plan to invest in, a short-term holiday rental property in Malaga, it is important that you fulfill legal requirements for short term rentals in Malaga including the holiday license issued by the local government, the Junta de Andalucía. These requirements are fairly simple; however, in case you do not meet them, you may be denied the holiday license. It is therefore important to understand what is required.

Junta de Andalucía

Back in 2016, the local government, the “Junta de Andalucia”, brought a host of regulations to conform with changes in national legislation by passing a law to set out requirements for short term rentals in Malaga. Since then, the law has been amended on a couple occasions, the latest being in June 2023, without groundbreaking changes that is. All the amendments to the original law seem to be geared towards reducing the amount of short-term holiday rentals in the region of Andalusia. According to the Junta, “short-term” rentals are those properties that are being rented for less than 63 days. In other words, if you plan on renting your property for 63 days or less, your property will require a holiday license. 

In the city of Malaga alone, there are currently some 8,000 apartments that hold a short-term tourist license, all potentially competing with the hotel industry. Over the last few years, many locals have had to flee the city center due to soaring housing prices, a trend that the City Hall would like to put a lid on.

Categories of holiday apartments

The Junta de Andalucia law divides holiday accommodation into two categories: 

Viviendas con Fines Turísticas (VFT) and Apartamentos Turisticos (AT). 

The first category applies to property owners who own one or maximum of two apartments in the same building. The second category applies when a property owner rents more than two properties in the same building. So in case you decide to invest in an entire building or simply more than two properties in the same building, please note that the requirements may vary in terms of regulations.

Community of Owners

In Spain, property owners in a building belong to a Community of Owners (Comunidad de Propietarios) which is known in other countries as Home Owners Association or Residents’ Association. 

If you are planning to invest in a holiday apartment (VFT), you need to make sure that you can rent out short term according to the Community of Owners rules. Indeed, some communities may have passed a rule that outlaws short-term rentals in a particular building. Another factor to consider is that Owners Communities are allowed to raise up to 20% your monthly community fees if you run a short-term rental. So before investing in a holiday rental, you need to make sure that the community allows said activity. This also applies to off-plan new projects. 

Your lawyer can easily help you check this information out for you.

Licencia de Primera Ocupación

The next step you need to do before you can actually apply for a tourist license in Andalusia is to have a Licencia de Primera Ocupación (LPO). The LPO is basically a document that confirms that your property is in good condition to be rented out to tourists. This license is often mixed up with the Tourist License but these are two completely different documents. 

The LPO is issued by the City Hall; most properties already hold the license. In case a property does not already have a LPO, you will need an architect to apply for it with the City Hall after he has completed the project. This process differs slightly depending on each City Hall; in some places, it can be quite a cumbersome process. The LPO is mandatory; without it, you will not be able to apply for a holiday license. In case you need one, Solaga Holiday Homes can assist you. The cost is between 500 - 750€ between the architect fee for drawing up the project and the local fees charged by the City Hall.

Tourist license issued by Junta de Andalucia

Finally, in order to run your short-term rental, you will need the Tourist License issued by Junta de Andalucía. The application process changed several times over the years. As it stands, what used to be a rather simple process has become complicated and almost impossible without the help from an expert. There are many lawyers who can help you with this process but some lawyers charge unreasonable prices to do this. At Solaga Holiday Homes, we can do it free of charge when you are an existing client (i.e. renting a property through us). The easiest way to apply for the tourist license is to provide your lawyer (or rental agent) with a Power of Attorney so that they can apply for the license on your behalf. When you obtain the tourist license, you will receive a registration number with the following format: VFT/MA/XXXXX. This registration number is mandatory to appear on any portal where your property is advertised.

Best practice and some advice

To obtain the required licenses can be a very complicated process. As such, we strongly recommend you to team up with an expert who can help you. It is important to get this right from the start as at some point, you will get a visit from an inspector from Junta de Andalucia. In case you do not meet the requirements during the inspection, you might get a hefty fine, or in the worst cases, your license may be revoked. 

Another good reason to make sure that you have everything in order is that it is easier to sell (and at a higher price) if your property already holds a tourist license. At Solaga Holiday Homes, we can help you obtain the necessary licenses free of charge when advertising your property with us.

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