Clarifying the new rental law with the Junta’s Malaga tourism branch

empty houses spain

empty-houses-spainTHE new Rental Law comes into force on May 12 to regulate the rental of private homes to tourists.

The objective is to get this ‘submerged industry’ out into the open and guarantee quality control for holidaymakers.

Town halls are asking property owners to register as near to that date as possible so that the property can be legally rented.

However the Malaga Delegation is going to be flexible and lenient with the registration and assured us that there is no need to panic.

The most common question we are asked is: How complicated is this registration procedure and how much will it cost?

To register your property, a completed hard copy of the Registration Form will need to be taken either to the Provincial Delegation of Sport and Tourism, or to your local town hall to forward on. In both cases, the First Occupancy Licence (Licencia de Primera Ocupacion) should also be presented if available. (If you don’t have this, you can ask your town hall to perform a search or they will tell you how to obtain one.)

Realistically, it will probably take a couple of months after presenting the form to receive an RTA number which will look similar to this: VTA/MA/ 025764.

There is no charge for registration and the property owner can complete and submit the form themselves. However as the process is all in Spanish and very time-consuming, you can also ask your lawyer, gestor or management company to do it for you. Fees range from around €150 to €350, depending on whom you engage. At HomeCareontheWeb, we are offering our clients this service for much less.

Bear in mind that this is the new law and you cannot advertise your property for holiday rental without registering.

• Visit or call +34 952 83 95 95 for more information.


Christine Trainor (OP Columnist)

Christine Trainor has over seven years experience as General Manager at HomeCareontheWeb and expertly oversees the management and rental of more than 500 properties along the Costa del Sol.


  1. First of all, why should people be lumbered with even more costs and have to pay someone to help them with the forms? The world and its dog knows that English is the international language, the language of business and most countries have it as their second language so why on earth didn’t they print these forms in English as well as Spanish? It doesn’t look like they have made it easy for foreigner owners to register from abroad either.

    If Spain really wants a prominent place on the world stage and to attract inward investment and foreign investors to buy these properties and rent them out, then they need to start thinking outside the box and make themselves more user/investor friendly.

    • Spain might like foreign investors to buy and rent out holiday lets, but the hotel mafia doesn’t and they appear to wield a particularly big stick. Not just the registration scam, but with the bureaucracy that goes with it. Individual contracts, police notification, compulsory air-con and Wi-Fi to name just a few.

      • The wi-fi requirement was dropped from the legislation I believe. The aircon requirement is not mandatory until May 2017, so a years grace. Disabled access, complaint book, medical kit, clean linen provision, tourist guides, and windows with blinds/covers all remain mandatory.

        • A simple registration requirement is a good idea, not before time either. Local residents can go through purgatory with a holiday let close by/in the same building. One doesn’t need partying holiday-makers romping till all hours when it’s work and school the next day. It’s the complications that have grown around that good idea, which spoils it. A place is either suitable or not, having regard to neighbours. The other stuff should be part of what people are prepared to pay for.

  2. Jane G,
    it really is outrageous to expect any country that does not have English as it’s primary language to do as you say. If a Spaniard or Dutchman started ranting in their own language and demanding that the UK provide paperwork in their language you would be apoplectic and rightly so.
    English maybe the world language but we are not the brutal super power we once were – you need to accept that and move on. If I was Spanish and heard you talking like that I would get very angry and rightly so.

    • OK, print them in every European language then if you want people to comply with the new rules – perhaps German and Dutch people need to make a similar suggestion but they will need to speak for themselves. The Spanish are mainly in the business of tourism and they need to converse with people of many different nationalities in a common language which happens to be English. So be realistic, it’s not going to change any time soon and much as you detest it, you are going to have to live with it. It is a fact and I don’t make the rules.

      If you think we are brutal, god knows what you must think of ISIS.

  3. Jane G,
    your living in Spain, they speak Spanish ergo all their documents will be in Spanish. I was in hospital today as a day patient, surprisingly there were 3 other Brit patients we all spoke French but two of the nurses and the surgeon spoke English but I preferred them to speak in French. They actually had one information sheet in English but why should they?

    If you really wanted to know and studied the actual history of the British empire instead of the propaganda that passed as history lessons at school you would know that ISIS are pussies in comparison to the numerous acts of mass murder and rape carried out by British soldiers across centuries and not only far away but in Scotland and Ireland as well. It is’nt only the Spanish that have denial syndrome. As a Celt I don’t run away from the historical truth of the terrible things my people have done in many countries of the world, that would make me a hypocrite, a coward and much weaker.

    • Oh look, it’s the arch hypocrite Stuart Crawford, who has taken advantage of EU laws to move to Spain and France, and who is now using those EU-provided laws to provide him with medical assistance as well. On another thread he also mentioned suing his French landlord with, yep you guessed it, EU laws. No wonder the Brexit Brigade have totally lost the plot. Next he will be telling us that he has a right to use these laws blah blah blah hypocrite!

    • Yes, it’s Spain but they are trying to flog off thousands of empty properties to foreigners as an investment/holiday home on the understanding that they can let them out for holidays so they need to make the system user friendly to foreigners otherwise said foreigners will go elsewhere. If they want an entire industry based on foreign investment, they need to have the necessary structures in place to support it making it easy for people to comply with the laws. As it happens, I don’t have a problem filling out forms in Spanish but there are many people that do and I’m not just talking about Brits.

      Most Spaniards I have met don’t share your view but of course it is their country and they do not have to be foreigner friendly. In which case, they should set out their stall, stop advertising properties in other languages, in other countries (property exhibitions etc.) and make it clear from the outset that any communication in any language other than Spanish is unacceptable and that no help will be available in any other language. How about putting out notices saying “Please do not consider buying property in Spain unless you speak fluent Spanish”? Perhaps they should ban all adverts in English including the ones on here? That way, everyone will know where they stand and people will not find themselves out of their depth and having to shell out endless money to pay intermediaries to act on their behalf. Perhaps foreigners reading this will be suitably deterred from buying property in Spain if they don’t speak fluent Spanish so you will have done your job well.

      As for ISIS, you are living in a dream world if you think they are pussycats. You might want to try entering into meaningful discourse with them in arabic while they are trying to cut your head off. All nations have blood on their hands, not just us. History, cut and pasted, re-written or otherwise is in the past, move on.

  4. I rent out a basement flat in my home in Amsterdam. The paper forms and website were in 4 languages, English included. The Netherlands are a small country, but it can be done. Spain need to catch up; it’s economic suicide otherwise, and their debt to GDP ratio isn’t getting any smaller the last time I looked. Many Spanish websites do have English versions, but government websites are hit and miss, and any formal documents are always in Spanish. This may be a legal requirement, I recently had a contract in Spanish with an English section, and it had to be converted to Spanish in order to be accepted by the notary.

  5. These mad rental laws are very easily bypassed. I rent out my house in Torremelinos and have done so for the past six years. I advertise only in the UK via papers and other non-online sources, and the funds go to a relative, who then PayPals the money to me in a lump sum at the end of the year. No money changes hands between the landlord (me) and the tenants, and so the rental law is not applicable. I treat the tenants as friends and family. This saves having to modify the rental property to meet the ridiculous specifications of the Junta de Andalucia. Even if the Junta find my advert online, and find my property, no money is changing hands between me and the tenant, and the lump sum I get is a gift. Easy peasy.

    • You lot sound so jealous. I already pay tax in Spain thank you. My property cannot get disabled access and therefore is not allowed to be rented short term. Why should I be stopped from renting to people who want to use my property? I talked to a Spanish lawyer already and she has already said that there is zero chance of any comeback from the hacienda as there is no financial link between the tenant and myself. They cannot ever link the rental to me, and even if the hacienda rented it themselves, they will not have paid me – the lawyers own words! Many other people do the same. Happy days…I am starting a second rental soon too.

      • Nothing to do with jealousy Susan. Your type of scamming attitude, has helped to provoke the draconian measures now in place for everyone else. You may feel smug at present, but remember, you may not be in line for sanctions, but your property is up for grabs if you annoy the authorities enough. As for relying on the word of a lawyer, well, so did many other folk, who are now awaiting the arrival of a bulldozer.
        Also you may pay SOME tax, but not the one you should do.
        The only thing I would agree on, is that you should be able to register your property even lacking disabled access. A similar “star” grading system should be introduced for rental properties, such as is in place for hotels, hostals etc. So that the less facilities you have, the lower down your grade would be, thus being able to charge less.
        Providing of course, that your property is not a potential nuisance to local residents, due to possible rowdy tenants.

  6. David,Marrakech,
    First I’ve corrected your mistaken spelling of a Moroccan city and I have lived in 4 different European countries, which has nothing to do with being from another EU country – you really do need to get your brain in gear before posting.

    Fred – they must have changed the law in the Netherlands since I lived there it was illegal to have any living accommodation below ground level – a kelder, when I lived there – are you sure that this law has changed, be careful. The only country that allows living below ground level in Europe was surprise,surprise, the UK

    • Stuart, the law must have changed since there many basement flats for rent in Amsterdam, and a quick Google search yields them on places such AirBNB etc. My lawyer did not say anything when I drafted a contract for the rental agreement. Thanks for the heads-up.

    • Stuart, such is the weakness of your argument that you have to resort to pointing out a typo instead of addressing the real issue, namely your own hypocrisy. You have lived in Europe because the EU gives you that freedom of movement. It gives you the laws and rights that you now utilise. You benefit from it, and have used it and continue to use those rights. You cannot escape that fact. You should have stayed in the UK if you were so critical of Europe, but instead you did the opposite. You moved around the eurozone, opened bank accounts, got work, drew your pension, got healthcare, purchased property etc. all because the EU facilitated it. You needed the EU to in order do those things. You complain about the EU and want to break away from it, whilst at the same time benefiting from it and living within it. Your big mouth won’t save you this time Stuart.

  7. Fred,
    as you will know I’m sure you cannot get flood insurance in the Netherlands, so I wonder if your rental agreement has a get out clause for you the landlord in the event of a flood.

    Where we lived in Hove we had terrible flooding of the basements/kelders and the basement of the house next door was flooded to a depth where the people had to literally swim out to safety. If your kelder in A’dam get’s flooded it will be to ceiling level, so I would want a clause that let’s the would be tenant know the risks or you could face a huge lawsuit – just a thought

    • It does have that clause, and as you rightly say, flood insurance is not something you come across. Only one insurer offers flood insurance in fact, and the premiums are very high. All the flats beneath first floor level have these risk clauses I am told. I also have a water-level alarm (from the previous owner, quite ingenious). No floods in this property have been reported by the previous two owners, going back over 60 years, so hopefully it will last.

  8. Unless the there’s a huge break in the North Sea defences, which could happen with a tidal surge due to any number of natural phenomena.

    The Netherlands,Denmark most of northern Germany, southern Sweden, the Baltic countries and vast tracts of western Russia will be lost with rising sea levels – it’s only a matter of time. The Dutch are big buyers of foreign property and never at or near low lying seaboards – they think long term – a guarantee for their grandchildren and beyond, I’ve always admired them for that.

    • Problem is that it is difficult to measure “a matter of time”. I’ll take a chance and enjoy the experience. Canal houses sell like hot cakes; it’s not like Spain.

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