It is one of our favourite pastimes: moaning about governments and people in power, sometimes with good reason. And sometimes we’re complaining about something which we’ve actually completely misunderstood and that can make us look a tad silly. Depending on your point of view, the most recent EPORE meeting was a complete revelation or another reason to have a pop at the government: we were talking about the very confused subject of Holiday Rentals. EPORE had gathered together a representative from the Ministry of Tourism, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, a journalist and a lawyer. I doubt that the lawyer, Javier Blas, is ever short of work as he completely blew me away with his clear explanation of the current laws (note the plural) and how they can be interpreted.
So, is it legal or not to rent out your apartment to a holiday maker? According to Sr. Blas from Illeslex Abogados, it can be legal, if you follow a few pointers. If you choose to use a Seasonal Rental contract you will see that all property owners have the right to rent out their properties doing so in full compliance of the law. You can rent for a short period: a week, or a longer period: a couple of months, or longer even than that. As the landlord you can advertise the property for rent through local estate agents or online through European intermediary websites such as Homelidays or Homeway, but you can’t market your property through tour operators offering touristic services. As the landlord you don’t have to have civil liability insurance if you rent with a Seasonal Rental Contract, and you should be declaring your rental income but you don’t have to charge or pay IVA on it.
But, and here’s the big “but”, you cannot offer any “services” and by that they mean, cleaning, reception, shopping etc: nothing, zip zero, nada. And what do you do in this circumstance? You can leave a list of recommended cleaners etc. and let the tenant make their own mind up about it. Javier says that it in each case of a rental the landlord and the tenant must sign a Seasonal Rental Contract and that within that contract it is important to include a clause stating that no tourist services are provided. And this is how to protect yourself as a property owner, the legal presumption is that tourist rental exists when it cannot be proved that the contract has been made in accordance to the Law of Urban Rents. As soon as you step outside of these parameters you are into the territory of the hated and despised Tourist/Holiday Rental contract and that falls under the General Tourism Law, and you will need to comply with that law.
It’s much less of a grey issue when you hear Sr Blas speaking, (I have to admit to a bit of crush on him by the end of the evening). Well done to EPORE for yet another excellent event with very good information. They are the organisation to thank for the recent capitulation on the Foreign Residents’ card. If you haven’t already joined up then I would urge you to do it, pop over to http://epore.org and get in touch with them.