A lot of holiday home owners in Spain offer their houses to let whilst they are not there. It is a way to cover the bills incurred and provides visitors with a cheaper alternative to hotels.
Buyers of these houses and apartments were lead to believe that their homes would have a high rental potential. For those situated on or near the seafront, this may be true but for many it is a struggle to find customers. There are just too many to choose from and so visitors can be picky.
The main issue for Spain is that the home rental business is largely unregulated. Houses were bought and then advertised for rent without any inspection process in place. New laws will change all that. Owners will need a licence from the local authority and will also have to meet strict conditions including regular safety inspections and hygiene certificates. They will also need to be contactable 24 hours per day in case of problems such as water leaks and power cuts. There are also a number of owners who fail to declare income on their properties and therefore do not pay taxes. Clamping down is a way of recovering lost revenue for the country.
The fear for many owners is that the bureaucratic processes in Spain are ponderous requiring lots of complicated form filling and stamping. The obstacles may to too great for many who will want to try and sell rather than struggle with the local town hall. Of course, this is a Catch 22 situation because the market is already flooded with homes and prices have slumped by up to 50% since 2007.
Hotel owners are rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of more bookings. The truth is that many will look at other cheaper destinations rather than pay the price of a hotel room. The result of the new legislation could well mean that there will be fewer visitors to the country.