A common question we are asked when people are looking to buy a second home in Spain is – can I rent out my apartment in Spain on Airbnb or other short-term rental websites? The answer depends on many different factors and whether your community of neighbours can prevent it is one of them.

Renting out your Spanish home on Airbnb or other rental sites can of course be tricky, with many regions requiring tourist licences, restricting the locations of tourist accommodation and some stating that you must get permission from your community of neighbours first.

The question of your community of neighbours, referrers to La Comunidad or Comunidad de Vecinos in Spanish, which is like a homeowner’s association of everyone who owns a property in the same building or complex.

Spain’s Horizontal Property Law which was modified in 2019 to add an extra clause specifically regarding this matter.

It states: “The agreement that limits or conditions the exercise of the activity referred to in letter e) of article 5 of Law 29/1994, of November 24th, on Urban Leases, in the terms established in the tourism sector regulations, whether or not it involves modification of the constitutive title or the bylaws, will require the favourable vote of three-fifths of the total number of owners who, in turn, represent three-fifths of the participation quotas”.

This seems to suggest that to be able to rent your property out to tourists on platforms such as Airbnb, you will need at least three-fifths of your community of neighbours to agree to it.

The wording of the law has been the subject of much legal controversy and judicial interpretation. The reason is because the wording only mentions the possibility for communities to “limit or condition” tourist use but they do not have the power to “prohibit” since the law does not expressly so say so.

In some regions in Spain, this law is being upheld and communities of neighbours have been able to prohibit people from renting out their properties to tourists, while in others it has been open to interpretation.

What makes it even more tricky is that many regions also have their own laws on tourist accommodation, which really restrict whether you can rent your property out to tourists, depending on its location, its floor and if tourist licences are even available.

Some of these also state that you need permission from your comunidad, while others do not specifically state this.

If you are planning to rent a property out when you aren’t using it, you must check if it’s possible before you buy it or you could find that only you and your family can use it and there is no option for future rental income.

If you are looking to buy a property in Spain and need a mortgage, email mark@vci-network.com for the latest criteria.