Catalonia approves decree to regulate seasonal rentals

"Catalonië keurt decreet goed ter regulering seizoensverhuur"

The decree, set to take effect shortly (the day after its publication in the official newspaper) and expected to garner political support within a month, revises Catalan housing and bail laws. It introduces fines ranging from 3,000 to 90,000 euros for owners who fail to comply with the regulations. Despite being introduced just before the start of the 12-M election campaign, the government refutes claims that it’s an electoral strategy, asserting it was a legislative objective and a demand from entities advocating for housing rights.

The institution has noted a consistent decrease in inflation, primarily driven by the decline in food and other goods prices. The ECB’s choice to keep interest rates steady reflects a cautious approach to this situation. Maintaining stability in rates may offer some financial stability amidst declining inflation. Nevertheless, it also keeps the door open for potential future measures should the economic situation demand it.

The main thrust of the regulation is to classify only tourist or recreational uses as seasonal rentals. Rentals for short-term stays, not for vacation purposes but for study or work, are deemed to fulfill permanent housing needs and must adhere to obligations outlined in Spanish legislation passed in May 2023.

Landlords must provide documentation justifying the temporary stay when depositing the security deposit with the Catalan Soil Institute (Incasol). They will then be subject to Spanish Housing Law, including provisions regarding rent deductions or property cost responsibilities. The decree also targets room rentals, capping the total rental amount for each room to not exceed the official index price in areas where rental prices are regulated.

Ester Capella, the councilor overseeing housing policy, emphasizes the necessity to address loopholes in Spain’s housing law, which have led to the proliferation of seasonal rentals to bypass regulations. The Generalitat asserts its exclusive authority in housing, consumption, and civil law. The decree aims to grant tenants access to price controls and other housing law benefits, such as ceasing to pay agent fees, providing only one month’s deposit, or exempting them from certain costs.

PBASpain is ready to guide you through every step of buying a house in Spain.

Our team of experts offers:

The new regulation surgically amends Law 18/2007 (the Tripartite Housing Law), specifying requirements for rental advertisements and adding a clause recognizing certain rentals as customary residence under Spanish regulations. Contracts must elucidate the temporary nature of the arrangement and provide supporting documentation. Failure to do so upon depositing the security deposit with Incasol results in defaulting to permanent contracts, explains the Ministry of Territory.

While Catalonia does not foresee specific regulations for room rentals due to their absence in existing legislation, it posits that exceeding the index price for individual stays in tense areas enables tenants to terminate agreements under Catalan law.

The response to the decree’s announcement was swift. The Tenants’ Association welcomed it, heralding its end to fraudulent rent regulation. They call on parliamentary groups to commit in writing to ratifying the decree before the elections. Conversely, representatives from the real estate sector and internet portals criticized the government’s actions, alleging disregard for ERC opinions and exacerbation of legal uncertainty. They accused the administration of electoral maneuvering.

Carles Sala, representing real estate agents, laments the lack of consultation compared to the Spanish government’s approach in soliciting proposals to prevent seasonal contract fraud. The Urban Property Chamber’s manager, Oscar Gorgues, defends seasonal contracts as meeting the needs of temporary residents and warns against legal ambiguity in the regulation’s implementation.

Online industry portals similarly denounce the decree as electoral and predict its failure. They anticipate owners will seek alternative avenues, such as withdrawing properties from the market. Francisco Iñareta of Idealista criticizes the decree’s detrimental impact on housing supply, attributing it to the government’s disregard for expert advice.

In summary, Catalonia’s decree aims to regulate seasonal rentals and prevent exploitation of legal loopholes. While hailed by some, it faces criticism from real estate stakeholders for its perceived adverse effects on the market.

See also: