New legislation now makes it compulsory for all owners of tourist accommodation, including privately rented homes on the Costa Blanca, to register their property in the Spanish General Register for Tourist Businesses, Establishments and Professionals (Registro General de Empresas, Establecimientos y Profesiones Turísticas), or face the possibility of prosecutions and fines for non-compliance.
Spain’s hotel and tourism sectors are insisting that government and Provincial authorities embark on a campaign to root out illegal renters and rental agencies that are openly operating on the Costa Blanca. They maintain that those who are renting apartments and villas illegally, both individuals and agents, are committing tax fraud and they have asked for more local inspectors to carry out checks throughout the Valencian region.
The new legislation states that the task of regulating private property rental to tourists is no longer covered by the State Law of Urban Rentals (LAU), and is instead subject to regional government law, much of which allegedly aims to restrict private tourist rentals in favour of the much more powerful hotel industry.
From 3rd July, private property owners across the Costa Blanca who wish to rent out their apartments or villas to holidaymakers have to apply for a licence, and their property must be registered with the authorities. Most importantly, once registered, a property’s registration number must be included with any and all advertisements for that property.
Failure to comply with the latest legislation can lead to prosecution and fines for the property owner, the advertiser, and any agent employed to manage the property. Fines are set at a minimum of €6,000 and a maximum of €90,000 and penalties for businesses can include enforced suspension of trading.
David Tornos, President of the Tourist Rental Management Association, stated “The passing of this law could deal a death blow to a growing sector that contributes enormously to the economy,” while ASOTUR, the Asociación de Gestores de Viviendas de Uso Turístico, are quoted as saying, “This is an attack on civil liberties, limiting the use of private property and the freedom of tourists to choose how they want to spend their holidays.”
Local administrators recommend that the registration process should start immediately as enforcement of the legislation can begin immediately, and private property owners across the Costa Blanca who currently rent their property are urged to seek the advice and assistance of a lawyer.