How to know if a tourist apartment is legal?

denunciar apartamento turístico

What is a tourist apartment?

Tourist apartments are establishments located in blocks of buildings or groups of villas, exclusively intended to provide a short-term accommodation service. They are usually managed by a company. On the outside they must have a visible identification plate with the initials AT (Tourist Apartment).

In the province of Barcelona a tourist registration code is given to the tourist apartments that have their activity in Catalonia. In Atenea Park we have 3 registration codes which are: ATB-000019, ATB-000020 and ATB-000021, corresponding to the 3 blocks of buildings.

What is a dwelling for tourist use?

Tourist-use dwellings are residential properties whose owners rent them, and may also decide to live in them for a season, when they are not rented. These properties may be located in residential buildings, in which the neighbors are private individuals who are not involved in the business. They must adhere to the Bylaws of the Community of Owners (if they are located in a building) and to the municipal ordinance of housing uses in the locality in which they are located.

What is the difference between a tourist apartment and a dwelling for tourist use in Barcelona?

  1. Use of the property: tourist apartments have commercial use, and tourist homes have residential use, because their owners can live in them, when they are not rented.
  2. Classification of the accommodation: the tourist apartments are classified by keys, which can go from 1 to 4. However, for the houses for tourist use there is no classification.
  3. Legal status: tourist apartments are legally registered in the same category as other businesses with similar services, unlike dwellings for tourist use, which have a unique status.
  4. Duration of the contract: lease contracts for tourist homes cannot exceed a stay of more than 30 days, and in some regions of Spain a minimum duration of stay of 5 days is established.

On the other hand, tourist apartments do not have a lower limit, and can exceed 30 days of stay.

  1. Number of vacancies: the autonomous community establishes the number of vacancies for tourist apartments and dwellings for tourist use. Tourist apartments offer a greater number of vacancies.
  2. Facilities: tourist apartments must offer facilities corresponding to kitchen areas, bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as kitchenware and furniture in accordance with their category and with minimum dimensions. On the other hand, tourist dwellings must offer, in addition to the comforts for lodging, facilities for the storage, preparation and consumption of food, without the requirements being too demanding.

How to report an illegal tourist apartment in Barcelona?

In Barcelona it is very easy to denounce, you just have to do it through the website of the City Council. Although first you have to check if the statutes of the Community of Owners of the block of apartments, in which the apartment is located, prohibit the tourist activity. In that case, it is easier to sue the owner for violation of article 553-40.2 of the Law 5/2006, of May 10, of the fifth book of the Civil Code of Catalonia, relative to the real rights. Although sometimes, it is possible that calling a meeting of the Community of Owners of the building, to talk to the owner of the apartment for tourist use, may be enough to force him to cease his vacation rental activity.

Is there any registry where I can find the tourist apartments and dwellings for tourist use?
Yes, the Autonomous Communities have registered all the tourist apartments and dwellings for tourist use. In the case of Catalonia, these registers appear in this web, where the tourist registration number of the establishment appears:

What laws regulate vacation rentals in Barcelona?

The law that regulates the rentals in Spain is the Law of Urban Leases (L.A.U.). It distinguishes between rentals intended for the use of the habitual residence and rentals intended for other uses. However, it excludes vacation rentals and transfers this competence to the autonomous communities.

In Catalonia, the law that currently regulates the rental of tourist housing is Decree 159/2012, of November 20. It distinguishes between tourist apartments and dwellings for tourist use.