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Dwellings for tourist use


What is a dwelling for tourist use?

It is a dwelling that has been rented out to a third party in exchange for a fee, for a period of up to 31 days, two times or more in a given year.


Who is the proprietor of the tourist activity?

The proprietor of the activity is the owner of the dwelling, regardless of whether its marketing is commissioned to a manager.


What conditions must a dwelling for tourist use meet?

The dwelling must be rented out as a single unit and must meet the following conditions:

  • It must have a certificate of occupancy and comply at all times with general technical and quality standards for housing.
  • It may not be occupied by more people than the places indicated on the certificate of occupancy.
  • It must be adequately furnished and have all the appliances and utensils necessary for its immediate use, and it must be in a perfect state of hygiene.


Does current tourism legislation set any type of limit for the owner in terms of his residing in the dwelling for tourist use or being registered with the local municipal office at that address?

No, legislation is neutral on the subject. The only limitation regulated is that which states that the owner may not claim domicile in order to prevent an inspection by the competent authorities from being carried out.


What do I have to do to legalise the tourist use of a dwelling?

Before activity by a dwelling for tourist use may begin, a communication prior to commencement of activity signed by the owner and, where applicable, by the manager, must be submitted to the town council of the municipality in which the dwelling is located. See template on the website of the Ministry for Business and Labour.


Is there any documentation that should accompany the communication prior to commencement of activity?

In general, no, as long as the communication contains the following information:

a. The details of the dwelling and its maximum legal capacity.
b. The owner's details.
c. The telephone number for dealing immediately with communications related to activity by the dwelling for tourist use.
d. The name of the housing maintenance and assistance company.
e. Statement of compliance, indicating that the dwelling has a certificate of occupancy.
f. In the case that the dwelling is managed by a person other than the owner, the details of the manager and a statement of compliance indicating that he has been appointed by the owner to act as manager.


What form of contract must be used to rent out the dwelling for tourist use to users?

There is no pre-established form of rental contract according to current tourism legislation; the contract may be carried out in any of the forms admitted under law. Therefore, the Law on urban rentals does not exclude the actual existence of an activity by a dwelling for tourist use, under the assumption that the dwelling is rented for a period of less than 31 days.


What are my obligations as the owner of a dwelling for tourist use?

  • Users and neighbours must be provided with a telephone number that enables queries and incidents to be attended to immediately.
  • A housing maintenance and assistance service must be guaranteed.
  • The owner or manager must send to the Directorate-General of Police information on the people staying at the dwelling, through the website of the Mossos d'esquadra Registre de viatgers d'establiments d'hostalatge.
  • The tax on stays at tourist establishments must be charged and paid.


What does the obligation to collect the tax on stays at tourist establishments involve?

Users of properties for tourist use are obliged to pay the tax on stays at tourist establishments. This will be payable at the end of the stay by means of an invoice presented by the owner, who will be required to make the corresponding payment to the Tax Office of Catalonia.


Is there an official register of properties for tourist use?

Yes, the Tourism Register of Catalonia, of the Directorate-General for Tourism of the Government of Catalonia. The registration procedure is carried out automatically by the Directorate-General for Tourism upon receipt of notification from the corresponding town council of commencement of the activity. The dwelling for tourist use is given an entry number, identifying it for all legal purposes, which will be communicated to the owner by the Directorate-General for Tourism.


Why do i need to register the tourist use of a dwelling?

Because this is an economic activity which must be conducted within the law. Administrative registration of the dwelling for tourist use ensures it is advertised through the Tourism Register of Catalonia and offers the activity a better positioning in the market thanks to government tourism promotion policies and the possibility of classifying the dwelling.

Once registered, the dwelling will benefit from tourism promotion and dissemination by being included in the official tourist accommodation guide on the website of the Catalan Ministry for Business and Labour and on the Catalan tourism promotion portal.


What happens if the tourist use of the dwelling is not registered?

Exercise of the activity will be considered illegal, a situation which places the owner at risk of being punished with a heavy fine. The illegality of the activity in itself represents an effective loss of competitiveness with respect to legal, duly registered dwellings.


How can users be sure that they are renting a legal dwelling for tourist use?

The Tourism Register of Catalonia entry number of the dwellings for tourist use must appear in all advertising referring to them, as a guarantee of its legality. The dwelling for tourist use must also display in a visible area the registration entry number given by the town council upon submission of the communication prior to commencement of activity. No plaque or other mark need be displayed unless the dwelling has been duly classified.


Do I have to classify my dwelling for tourist use?

This is not compulsory. A dwelling for tourist use must be duly legalised and registered in the Tourism Register of Catalonia before it can be classified. Such classification is voluntary on the part of the owner and identifies the services and characteristics of the dwelling based on five categories, designated by keys.


What do I have to do to classify my dwelling for tourist use?

You should fill in the application form and self-assessment questionnaire available on the Ministry website.


What tourism legislation governs a dwelling for tourist use?

Dwellings for tourist use must comply with that established in the tourism regulations, specifically Law 13/2002, of 21 June, on tourism in Catalonia, and Decree 159/2012, of 20 November, on tourist accommodation and dwellings for tourist use, as well as the corresponding municipal ordinances.


Is there any restriction on putting my dwelling to tourist use?

Yes. Such a use may be forbidden by municipal ordinance in the sector in which it is located, and/or in the bylaws, if they are duly registered in the Property Register, of the home owners' association in buildings governed by condominium property laws.


Is a dwelling for tourist use considered a public establishment?

No, they are two different concepts. Public establishments are defined as buildings, premises or complexes accessible to the public, the free access to which cannot be restricted under any personal or social condition or circumstance. However, free access is not a characteristic feature of a dwelling for tourist use, as is it the owner who decides to rent it to third parties, and it is therefore not considered as public premises.
Another characteristic to be taken into account is that, in public establishments, the proprietor of the activity does not have to be the owner, while in a dwelling for tourist use the proprietor of the activity is always the owner; this distinction represents different rights and obligations for each case. Hotel establishments, holiday apartments and campsites are considered public establishments.


Is a dwelling for tourist use the same as a holiday apartment?

No, they are different. Dwellings for tourist use are those dwellings rented by an owner, directly or indirectly, to third parties, for a period of time, as long as they have a certificate of occupancy and meet the requirements and provide the services governed by the corresponding sector regulations, whereas holiday apartments do not need to have a certificate of occupancy, as they are buildings or continuous units made up solely of apartments or studios, as a single establishment or as a business unit of operation, which provide temporary accommodation and provide the corresponding tourist services.