Regulations on Holiday Rental Properties in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country

What are the tourist requirements that “holiday rentals” must meet before they are let out for the first time?

  1. They must be:
    1. Independent housing in multifamily or duplex-style buildings, subject to the horizontal property rules. 
    2. Detached or semi-detached single-family housing. 
    3. Similar residential buildings.
  2. Holiday rental means housing offered, marketed or transferred temporarily, as a whole, as lodging for tourist reasons, repeatedly or habitually, in exchange for financial consideration, on conditions of immediate availability.
  3. Holiday rental lodging in private property means housing offered, marketed or transferred by room, temporarily, for tourist reasons, repeatedly or habitually, in exchange for financial consideration, on conditions of immediate availability. 
    In this case, only a physical person may operate the lodging activity. The person must be registered and have his/her actual residence in the property where the activity is conducted. This requirement must be complied with throughout the time that the activity is carried out, until such time as formal notice is given to the effect that it has ceased. 
  4. The requirements laid down by the regulations on infrastructures, town-planning, construction and building, safety, environment, health and consumption, health and safety at work and prevention of work risks and any other regulations applicable to this activity must be met. 
  5. The activity may not be conducted in housing subject to the horizontal property rules if the bylaws or rules that govern the community of owners, registered in the Property Register, contain an express prohibition to the effect.

From the tourist point of view, what additional requirements must my “property for tourist use” meet whilst I am renting it out?

In addition to the above requirements, the following matters must be taken into account:

  1. Rentals must be marketed through tourist supply channels (including travel agencies, central booking sites, internet channels or platforms, social media or property market agents).
  2. Rentals must be marketed repeatedly or habitually and in exchange for financial consideration, on conditions of immediate availability. The habitual nature of the activity is presumed when rentals are advertised or marketed on any type of tourist supply support, medium or channel, or when lodging is provided for a continuous period of time of 31 days or less, two or three times in the same year. 
  3. Rentals transferred as a whole must have at least a kitchen, a bathroom and one room intended for sleeping, which shall include, in addition to bedrooms, living rooms fitted out for this purpose.
  4. In the case of lodging by room, rentals must have at least one bedroom intended for tourist lodging, other than those reserved for persons who actually live there and, in this case, living rooms may not be used as bedrooms. 
  5. Bedrooms and living rooms used for sleeping must have a source of natural lighting and direct ventilation to the outside or to a ventilated patio. Bedrooms must be separated by means of a door. 
  6. Rentals must, in all cases, have a bathroom for every four persons, with a washbasin, toilet, shower tray or bath. If it is en suite, it will be understood to be for the exclusive use of the persons lodging in that room and so there must be another such bathroom available to the other users, in line with the proportion mentioned above.
  7. Rentals, whether transferred as a whole or by room, may offer a number of beds according to their construction features, in application of planning instruments provisions and use of ground and building regulations in force in each municipality. If there are none, the following ratios will apply – they do not include terraces, balconies or drying areas:
    1. A rental with 1 person must have at least 25 m2 of useable surface area.
    2. A rental with 2 persons must have at least 33 m2 of useable surface area.
    3. A rental with 3 or more persons must have at least 15 m2 of useable surface area per person.
  8. Holiday rentals, whether transferred as a whole or by room, may not offer more than 8 places in total, including those of the people who actually live in the property.
  9. Rentals must be fully furnished and equipped with facilities, services and electrical household appliances and must have household accessories and the cleaning and hygiene items necessary for their immediate use.
  10. Rentals, whether transferred as a whole or by room, must have at least:
    1. Electricity and drinking, hot and cold running water
    2. Heating in rooms, bathrooms, living room and dining room
    3. Furnishings in bedrooms, consisting of a bed, wardrobe with hangers, a chair or armchair and a bedside table with a light
    4. Bed and bed linen, consisting of a base, mattress, pillows, sheets and blankets or eiderdown for each bed and a set of towels per person
  11. Rentals must be made available to users in a properly tidy state and in suitable condition and correctly maintained. Cleaning before entry of users will be obligatory.
  12. Rentals must have the following safety elements, in a visible place close to the entrance area:
    1.  A map indicating exits and showing the accommodation areas and the number of beds in each room
    2. Information on the location and telephone number of the closest fire-fighting, police and health care services and giving the 112 emergency telephone number
    3. Manual extinguisher
    4. First aid kit
  13. Users must be provided with operating manuals or instructions for the services and facilities in the rental accommodation and communal areas of the building and also the safety and hygiene conditions, so that they may use them properly.
  14. The lodging activity operator must make a telephone service available to users so that enquiries and incidents may be addressed, between at least 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., from Monday to Sunday.
  15. The official sign identifying the rentals as a holiday rental property or room in a private property must be visibly displayed on the outside of the building.
  16. Another sign must be displayed inside the building, next to the entrance door to the rental property.
  17. The signs must comply with the official forms established in Annex II to Decree 101/2018, of 3 July.
  18. The activity operator is obliged to take out a civil liability insurance contract that covers damage to the health or physical safety of users and third parties and also damage to the financial security of users. The minimum amount of the insured capital will be determined according to the maximum number of beds allowed in the holiday rental, as stated in the declaration of responsibility, at the rate of 35,000 euros per bed.
  19. Compliance with the obligations concerning registration of documents and information on client entries and departures, in relation to citizen security.
  20. For every procedure and in any document, state the Basque Country Tourist Companies and Activities Register registration number.
  21. Give users accurate and objective information on the details of the characteristics of the lodging and its conditions of use. Specifically, information on the Ts&Cs of the offer must be provided:
    1. Identification of the activity operator, the VAT Number and Basque Country Tourist Companies and Activities Register registration number and also the commercial name, if applicable
    2. Whether the property is rented as a whole or by room and its characteristics, with reference to the services that it provides, such as Internet connection, air-conditioning and similar services
    3. Maximum occupation of the rental property, stating the number of beds in each room
    4. Procedure for receiving users and entry and departure times
    5. Time and method of payment
    6. Final full price of the lodging, including taxes and fees, and broken down according to items. If the price does not include any itemised service, this will be expressly stated. The price will, in any event, include supply of the services necessary for normal use and enjoyment of the rental property, such as water, electricity, gas, cleaning and use of linen and household items.
    7. Ts&Cs applicable to bookings and discontinuance of the contract, with express reference to the rules on loss of deposit and other penalties in the event of cancellation
    8. Whether the lodging is covered by the current consumer arbitration system
    9. The company with which the civil insurance is taken out
  22. Notify users of the obligation to use the rental property subject to the regulations on use or internal rules, and also the rules on cohabitation of the building.

  23. State in a visible area close to the entrance to the rental property the right of users to make reports, complaints and claims. Make complaints and official claims sheets available to users.

What procedure must I follow for tourism purposes to make my “holiday rental” available for use? 

  1. Before you commence the activity, you must file the declaration of responsibility form with the office of the Basque Government with competence for tourism. The declaration of responsibility form is that which is established in Annex I to Decree 101/2018, of 3 July, and it shall be filed, either by web-based technology on the electronic site of the Basque Government or in hard copy, with the regional offices, or in the other places stated in Art. 16.4 of Law 39/2015, of 1 October.
  2. The declaration of responsibility must identify the activity operator, giving his/her VAT number, the commercial name of the lodging, if applicable, and the location and Land Registry reference of the rental property, and it must include the following points:
    1. The person holding the right of enjoyment or management of the rental property and, if this is not the owner, notification to the owner of performance of the tourist activity. 
    2. Conformity of the tourist activity with the municipal rules on town-planning uses and building.
    3. Compliance with the environmental requirements laid down.
    4. Compliance with the operational conditions and rules of the activity.
    5. Compliance with the building and maximum capacity requirements for the rental property.
    6. Conformity of the activity with the property’s horizontal property rules.
    7. Insurance of civil liability, with a minimum insured capital of 35,000 euros per bed.
    8. In the case of the method of lodging by rooms, the actual residence and registration of the activity operator.
    9. Compliance with the tax obligations.
    10. Compliance with the citizen security information obligations derived from the lodging activity.
    11. Compliance with the regulations on health and safety at work and prevention of work risks.
  3. The declaration of responsibility must be accompanied by photographs of the façade and interior that make it possible to identify the rental property correctly and also by a plan to scale of the property, drawn up by competent expert personnel, stating the useable surface area and the layout and maximum number of beds.
  4. Filing in full of the commencement of activity declaration of responsibility authorises performance of the activity from that stage and its registration in the Basque Country Tourist Companies and Activities Register takes effect immediately. A number will be allocated in that register for each rental property and this will be notified to the activity operator.
  5. The office of the Basque Government with competence for tourism will issue a resolution initiating the procedure for checking the requirements laid down for performance of the activity, which will be notified to the activity operator, and will seek a mandatory and binding report from the Council addressing the following points: 
    1. Whether the rental property is residential and conforms to the municipal building regulations, stating whether there is a first use licence or habitability certificate. By way of exception, if the property is of considerable age or cannot be located in the files, it will be sufficient for the municipal report to declare that the residential use accorded with the planning regulations in force when construction or refurbishment of the rental property was authorised. 
    2. Whether the tourist lodging activity accords with the envisaged town-planning use. 
    3. Whether the maximum occupation of the rental property is stated in the municipal documentation. 
    4. Whether it complies with the environmental requirements, stating, if so required, whether the prior notification of classified activity or equivalent process has been previously completed.
  6. If the results of the administrative checks are satisfactory, the office of the Basque Government with competence for tourism will issue a resolution stating this.
  7. The activity operator is obliged to notify the office of the Basque Government with competence for tourism, before their occurrence:
    1. Of any subsequent change in the details included in the declarations of responsibility or additional documentation.
    2. Of any essential changes (for example, change of capacity or cessation of activity) and non-essential changes that affect his/her activity (for example, change of ownership or name). 

What regulations govern rental of my holiday home from the tourist point of view?

Law 13/2016, of 28 July, on Tourism, and, specifically, Article 53 thereof.

Decree 101/2018, of 3 July, on Holiday Rental Properties and Rooms in Private Properties (entry into force on 27 July).

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