What is a tourist licence or holiday rental?

It is a document that authorises the promoters of tourist activities to carry them out. At the start of this type of activity it will be necessary to request, together with the activity/environmental or opening licence, the operating and tourist activity authorisation. Competences in the field of tourism have been transferred to the Autonomous Communities, so it is they who will establish the requirements. Tourist licences affect hotel establishments, tourist flats and holiday homes, although the regulations in the latter case are not developed in the same way in all the Autonomous Communities.

What is the Opening Licence for a Tourist Dwelling?

It is a responsible declaration made by the owner or owner of the dwelling, where it is established that the dwelling is suitable to be used for tourist purposes. The licence to open a dwelling for touristic use is for dwellings located in a building under the horizontal property regime, without residential properties and its ownership is individual. Its issuance is governed by the specifications of each Autonomous Community.

What are the different types of tourist accommodation?

  • Tourist flat.
  • Hostels.
  • Hotels.
  • Pension.
  • Rural Tourism.
  • Tourist Housing.

What is the necessary documentation to apply for an Opening Licence for a Tourist Accommadation ?

Each Autonomous Community establishes its own requirements for processing the opening licence for dwellings for tourist use, but, as a general rule, the necessary documentation is as follows:

  • Responsible declaration by the owner or owner of the dwelling.
  • Plans of the dwelling signed by the competent and authorised technician.
  • The certificate of occupancy or licence of first occupation, as the case may be.
  • If available, the company’s memorandum of association.
  • Deed of sale, lease, assignment or any other document proving the availability of the property.
  • Identity document, either DNI or passport of the company’s owner.
  • NIF.

How to apply for a holiday rental or tourist flat licence?

Owners of a flat who wish to obtain a tourist licence should be aware that there are a number of formalities to be completed before a tourist housing permit can be issued.

The objective, regardless of the autonomous community in which you live, is to obtain the document called Declaración responsable de inicio de actividad de vivienda de uso turístico which accredits that the property meets the requirements to serve as accommodation for tourists. This document must be presented together with a plan of the property signed by a competent technician, endorsed by the corresponding professional association.

Each Autonomous Community works differently, but normally the first step is to present the following documents at the corresponding Town Hall:

  • Cédula de habitabilidad also known as licencia de ocupación. This document certifies the habitability conditions of the spaces in the house. The Cédula de Habitabilidad considers aspects such as the habitable square metres of the home, sanitary fittings, windows, distribution, etc. If the house was built less than 15 years ago, you will not need the Cédula de Habitabilidad as it will already have the Licencia de Primera Ocupación.
  • Details of the property and the owner
  • Demonstrate compliance with current regulatory requirements

Some of the elements that cannot be missing in a tourist flat or dwelling.

Once this has been done, the local council will proceed to the Tourism Register of the corresponding Autonomous Community and will give the owner the registration number. Thus, from the first day of activity, they will be considered as properties for tourist use without having to wait for a period of time as in the previous regulation.

The registration number will allow you to register your tourist accommodation on different internet portals and will help tourists to know that it is a legal accommodation and that, therefore, it has a minimum of habitability and services. However, you must be prepared to present any documentation that may be required, as each municipality and autonomous community has its own requirements.

It is also likely that the Certificate of Suitability for Tourist Housing will soon be required, whereby the homeowner will have to verify that the house is equipped with:

  • A Fire extinguisher
  • Evacuation signs in case of danger
  • Hot water available and other requirements to be determined
  • Etc

How do holiday flats work?

The activity of tourist flats has existed for a long time, but its consolidation began when platforms for the management and aggregation of the different booking possibilities were born, which is why its operation has varied over time.

Holiday flats are private homes whose owners offer them for rent to tourists for a certain period of time to enjoy their holidays. These flats are usually advertised on suitable platforms or other types of advertising media.

The owner of the flat or house can manage the whole process himself, using the advertising platform and the tools it provides, although he can also do without intermediaries. It is the owners themselves who decide how to carry out the procedures in the event that you own one of these flats.

Payment is usually made in advance and the owner of the tourist flat or flat is usually in charge of welcoming guests to show them around the place and show them the services available. The owner or person in charge of the tourist activity of the flat should also answer any questions and attend to any possible requests they may have regarding the accommodation as far as possible.

Differences between a tourist flat and a holiday home

It is common to talk about tourist flats and tourist housing as if they were synonymous concepts, but in reality there are some differences between them. Let’s see what they are.

Tourist flats are made up of several housing units that are prepared and furnished to provide a rental service. The difference between them and hotels is that they have a kitchen and electrical appliances for guests to prepare their own food.

On the other hand, holiday homes are private residences, whose owners offer them to third parties for use for a certain period of time, which can be days, weeks or even months. Sometimes only rooms are offered, and not the entire property. They must have a Cédula de Habitabilidad (certificate of occupancy) and minimum services.

Of the sector and the good professionals in it.


It will depend on the complexity of each case, as a guideline it can cost between 800€ and more.