There seems to be a common theme developing through my articles at the moment and after last month's article I had several emails from readers asking more questions about the Tourist Board registration process.
Below you will find a summary of the most frequently asked questions, along with the answers as they apply at this moment in time. As with all red tape in Spain, the process will evolve and in the few weeks since our first submissions, the paperwork has already changed once!!
Q. Do the new rules only apply if I rent my property out through an agent?
A. No, the rules apply even if you rent yourself through Tripadvisor, Airbnb, Ownersdirect etc.
Q. Can I register myself?
A. If you speak good Spanish and can find your way around the Government websites and deal with the authorities in Spanish – YES, or you can use an Asessor or Rental Agent to do this for you.
Q. Why can't my current property manager do this for me?
A. Your property manager has to be legally registered to work here in Spain, either as a company with a CIF number, or Autonomous (self employed) and registered with the tax authorities. In both these cases, your Rental Agent can register both themselves AND the properties they manage with the Consejería de Turismo. As in any business sector, there are a lot of 'unofficial' rental companies operating out there and they will not be able to register as they are not working legally here in Spain.
Q. What happens if I don't register but continue to rent my property?
A. As an agent, I can be fined for marketing properties which have not been registered, so I now ONLY have properties on my site that are currently going through the registration process. When they have a valid ID Licence number, this will be displayed on the OwnersAway site PLUS any adverts on other marketing portals we use. In November, Barcelona Council announced that for the second time it has issued fines to Airbnb and HomeAway, this time for 600,000€ each for advertising unlicensed properties on their websites. As 'repeat offenders', this time the maximum fine has been imposed as the volume of unregistered properties (3812 for Airbnb and 1744 for HomeAway) means that these two companies generate substantial income as market leaders in the direct booking sector.
If you rent your property out privately, then you, as the owner of the property, risk being fined.
Q. If Ownersaway register my property, do I have to rent it out through you?
A. No, we can help you through the registration process for a small fee and you are then free to market your home through whichever websites you want.
Please feel free to continue sending in your questions and concerns and I will answer as many as possible via the column or by email.