Renting a property in a community as a holiday apartment can cause a lot of inconvenience to the neighbours. Especially in buildings in which most apartments are used as residential housing, short-term rentals can be disturbing for the neighbourhood, due to the frequent change of tenants as well as the fact that those tenants are on vacation, while the neighbours may be working people.
The owner, who rents his property, is responsible for the behaviour of his tenants, whether short-term or long-term. If a tenant disturbs the neighbourhood with bad behaviour, the president of the community can require him to stop his behaviour by sending him a burofax. Also, the owner of the rental property must be informed, so that he can take appropriate measures (urging the tenant to change his behaviour up to dissolving the lease contract, if necessary).
Even if holiday rentals are allowed in the building, the community of owners can take owners of rental properties to court, if the tenants cause significant disturbances to the community (Commonhold Property Law (LPH), article 7). If the community wins the court case, the owner can be required:
- to compensate the community or an owner, for any damages caused and
- depending on the severity of the violation and/or the damages caused, the owner can also loose the right to rent out the property for up to three years.
If the community of owners wants to take the landlord to court, it is important that the owner has been informed before about the disturbing actions of his tenant. If the disturbances do not end, the community of owners can legally sue the tenant and the owner. This proceeding have been approved before in an owners’ meeting, duly called to this effect or being in the agenda, and the president must have been authorized to initiate, court proceedings.
On 01.03.2019 a modification of the LAU, the Law on Urban Leases, approved (Royal Decree Law 7/2019) not only changed regulations on long-term rentals, but also gives now communities of owners, the possibility to prohibit tourist rentals completely or to impose higher communal fees or extra fees for those properties. For such an approval it is necessary to have a vote of 3/5 of the total amount of owners.
This law is not retroactive – that means that it will neither affect owners who are already renting their property nor those who have already obtained the touristic licence from the Registry of Tourism, before the respective change of the community by- laws are made (court sentence of 13/09/2018 of the TSJ de Cataluña).
Such a prohibition must be first fixed in the statutes of the community to become valid. Various judgments have also established that the prohibition need to be specified in the by-laws. This ban shall also be inscribed in the land registry (article 5 LPH) so that people interesting in buying a property in the building are previously informed about the impossibility to rent the new property to vacationers.
If a community of owners approves the prohibition of rental properties in their building in a duly called owners’ meeting, all owners who have not attended the meeting must be informed so that they can disagree to this decision within 30 days. If they do not answer to this notification, it is understood as an agreement to the taken decision.
With the same majority of 3/5, the community can approve that the owners of tourist rental properties pay a surcharge or special quotas, provided that these modifications do not imply an increase of more than 20%.
If you are interested in buying a property with the aim to rent it out to vacationers and this property forms part of a community of owners, it is advisable to have checked before the community bylaws and the land registry, whether there are existing any prohibitions or conditions with respect to renting activities. We will be happy to help you in this matter.