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Barcelona Tourist Licences: Everything you Need to Know

Barcelona Town Hall
August 12, 2016No Comments
Written by Theo Dye in Real Estate News


Barcelona mayor Ada Colau banned new applications for tourist licences just over a year ago to combat the problems caused by the industry, and since then interest in applying for such a licence has continued to increase. It has also meant that the only way to join this business is to buy one of the 9600 apartments that already have a tourist licence (some of which are for sale at Casamona).

As expectation is that the ban will soon be cautiously lifted, opening the gates for floods of new applications, it will be important to be familiar with the process before applying to be ready to beat the rush. There is no real way of sugar-coating this application process – it is a long, gruelling process that will drag you through countless offices and application forms – but you can at least know that you will be able to reap the financial rewards of your labour.

barcelona-tourists congestion

Tourism and congestion in Barcelona

Why would you need one?

Tourist licences are necessary in Barcelona for anybody wishing to rent out an apartment classed as “Vivienda de Uso Turístico”. For Barcelona apartments, this includes anything with a rental duration of fewer than 31 days, or anything that counts as a business due to services included: linens, towels, a cleaning service, etc.


– With tourist rentals, the real benefit to the owner is money. Despite the fees mentioned above, the ability to set your price by night allows you to maximise your profits.


The Barcelona tourism industry is enormous


– You may be put off by the lengthy procedure required to get the licence, but the process is time-consuming even after gaining your licence because you have to find new tenants regularly if you want to make the most of your licence.

– Tourist rentals are no longer as lucrative as they once were, as there is considerably more competition which has driven down prices (although it is still a very profitable business).

– If you regularly have large groups of rowdy tourists, your neighbours are likely to complain, which could incur difficulties for you and even losing your licence.


There are various requirements for an apartment in Barcelona to have a tourist licence.

– First, a “Cedula d’Habitatge” is required: this is a form verifying that the apartment is of a liveable standard, and it is illegal to rent any apartment without it. Additionally, to fulfil the requirements of the Tourist Licence, it must also be furnished.

– It must be used only for tourism purposes.

– There must be contact numbers with which the tenants can contact the owner (or a representative), and the local emergency services (police, hospital, and the town hall).

– There should also be an Official Complaint Form available to the renters.

– The property should be fully maintained.

– You must have a permit from the regional government, in the town hall.

NOTE: The Gothic Quarter/Ciutat Vella area is no longer issuing tourist licences, so if you wish to do tourist rentals there you will have to buy an apartment that is already registered.


Cedula d’Habitatge

The application process

Once you have jumped through this wide-ranging selection of hoops, and surely got to know many new parts of the city and its mysterious, varied bureaucratic systems, you can begin the next level: the application process proper.

This stage starts by going to the Town Hall, armed with all your recently-acquired documents and sufficient money to pay the (generally minimal) procedure fee, and the municipal licence tax. These prices both vary depending on your municipality.

In the town hall you can then make your application and present your documents. Approval of your application is the responsibility of the ‘Direcció General de Turisme’, and they designate your HUT number (which will respond with the province of your apartment). Before you receive both the approval and the HUT number you may not rent out your apartment.

Renting out the apartment

First, I believe congratulations are in order for managing to wriggle your way through such a trying application process. When people speak of the gritty underworlds of southern Europe they often refer to the street life of the big cities, or to shifty Mafia dealings where fedoras and black suits cast dramatic shadows under the Mediterranean sun, but to pass unscathed through this domain of unfettered bureaucracy is similarly worthy of respect.


Mafia boss Vincent Coll surrounded by police

In recognition of your exertions, you will be given access to an online platform where you must register each and every renter. It is a legal requirement that this information be shared with the police.

The details required are:

– Name

– Contact details

– Passport number

– Duration of stay

There must never be more occupants than the maximum stated in the occupancy certificate.

A few things to consider

– If you are a resident in Spain – meaning that you spend 183+ days per year in the country – you must register as “Autónomo” (=self-employed), and pay monthly Social Security contributions. As this is approximately €280 per month this can get expensive if you don’t manage to find a tenant.

– All holiday rentals are subject to 10% VAT, which can rise to 21% depending on the services offered, and this must be shown in all invoices and accounts. Many landlords add the money they would lose to the rental price.

Written by Theo Dye



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