Bel Oliver.


The national secretary of state for tourism, Bel Oliver, yesterday held the first talks with representatives of regional governments and the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces that are aimed at arriving at regulation for holiday rentals that can be applied nationwide.

Oliver said that there will be further meetings in order to address a subject that the Rajoy government was "not capable of tackling". She stressed that input will be sought from hoteliers, businesses, associations and unions in coming up with means to guide regulation of the rentals "phenomenon" and give maximum legal security.

Chief among the issues under consideration are amendments to two laws - the Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos (tenancy act) so that short-term lets can be regulated and the Ley de Propiedad Horizontal to allow residents communities to decide on holiday rental use; this latter law deals with apartment buildings. With the tenancy act as it stands, there is no minimum period for letting and nor is there specific reference to tourist use. In the Balearics, of course, the government has set a minimum of thirty days, although the legal certainty of this is open to question, given that it is not in line with national legislation.

The Spanish government's idea is to arrive at a single definition of properties for tourist use. Where residents communities are concerned, there are two proposals - one is that a simple majority would be needed to veto holiday rentals, the other is for a qualified three-fifths majority.

In all this, Oliver is stressing that the state will not interfere with regional governments' powers of regulation. However, the regions have been calling on Madrid to establish a clearer framework, with tenancy act amendment and the definition of tourist use being at the top of the list of requirements.

A further proposal from Oliver's ministry is the creation of a single national register of holiday rental accommodation as a means of control and regulation that would assist regional authorities. Such a register, it is said, would provide legal certainty for both landlords and tenants, while it would link into interior ministry and Tax Agency systems so that it will be known who the people renting a property are at a given time and and so that tax obligations are being met.