Andalucia will limit tourist accommodation from the beginning of January

Tourists in conflict Photo: Shutterstock / AlesiaKan

The Andalucian Regional Government is finalising the processing of the decree that will regulate tourist accommodation (viviendas de uso turistico or VUT) and which will likely be approved in January, according to the Regional Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports.

The decree is intended to bring order to the chaotic situation of short term rentals that is straining the housing market in areas all along the Costa del Sol. Both hoteliers and residents of town centres are awaiting this regulation after years of failed attempts by the administrations to address the complex issue.

Rampant and uncontrolled

According to the latest report published by the company Exceltur, the increase in tourist pressure experienced by Spanish towns and cities in the last decade comes mostly from the “rampant and uncontrolledgrowth of housing for tourist use.

In 2010 there was a total of 346,921 tourist beds in all types of accommodation (hotels, guesthouses, hostels, and aparthotels) in the 20 largest Spanish cities, in 2019 this had risen to 788,136 beds. 82 per cent of this increase is related to the expansion of private accommodation rented to tourists.

The cities of Seville and Cadiz have already taken steps forward to regulate the activity of the VUTs. Both cities approved amendments to their urban development plans to declare certain areas of the city saturated and to limit new tourist licences, but the regional government’s Agency for Competition and Economic Regulation appealed these reforms.

In the absence of a specific regulation, some residents’ associations have been using existing legal tools totry to stop the explosion of private tourist rentals in urbanisations which has led, in some cases, to serious neighbour disputes and caused problems of coexistence.

Recently, a ruling by the Supreme Court, identified tourist rental as an economic activity and, therefore, establishes that those communities that are statutorily prohibited from using apartments for any type of business can refuse to allow apartments to be rented on a short term basis.

However, “Communities of owners are calling for a law that regulates this activity, because this is the only way to avoid and resolve the problems caused by tourist accommodation with legal certainty”, said José Feria, president of CAFINCAS.

Saturated areas

The regulation that is about to be approved by the Junta is looking at 3 lines of action: it leaves the possibility of declaring ‘saturated areas‘ in the hands of local councils when the conventional rental market is affected due to a shortage of supply. In addition, it allows the members of a community to decide on the installation of tourist accommodation in the building (with the approval of three-fifths of the owners) and establishes specific mandatory conditions for all tourist accommodation, such as having a minimum surface area, establishing a maximum number of tenants depending on the surface area, having air conditioning or even installing a noise level meter.

Some cities, Seville and Malaga included, have already reported areas where there are more Airbnbs than full time residents living there. Further afield in France, property owners have reported that some landlords are publicly shamed, anti-tourist graffiti is proliferating and even some tourists have arrived at their rented apartments to find the ubiquitous lock box glued shut.

Hopefully the new legislation here will prevent these extremes and avoid further conflict between holidaymakers and permanent residents.

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Written by

Kevin Fraser Park

Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.


    • D Bath

      18 December 2023 • 14:11

      Too much tourism is NOT a good thing. If we leaned anything from the covid pandemic it was this. There needs to be a balance and less greed will help make this happen.

    • Stephen McCartney

      19 December 2023 • 09:59

      As Andalucía enjoys great wealth from its manufacturing and exports with 100% employment, it doesn’t need these pesky tourists or their money.
      Oh, hold on…

    Comments are closed.