Do I need First Occupation License to let my tourist property?

Published on 9 May 2022

So, you have decided to rent your Spanish property to tourists. Whether you wish to venture into a lucrative holiday letting business in the south of Spain, or simply want to benefit from it while you are not using your property yourself, you need to properly legalise the activity and obtain a tourist letting license in Andalucía.  

We covered the requirements in one of our earlier articles (please note, this and previous articles cover the urban/residential properties, the rural properties fall under a slightly different regulation). The procedure is not difficult if you have all needed documents on hands and possess a digital certificate. In essence, you just submit to the Tourism department of Junta de Andalusia a Responsible Declaration along with all required documents, where you declare that your property meets ALL legal requirements. You also agree to inform the Government in case of any relevant changes. You are then issued a Tourist Number which starts with VFT/… and you need to quote it in all your publications and adverts. 

So far simple, right? But what if you DON’T HAVE one of the most important documents – the FOL (First Occupation License). Firstly, you are not alone! Unfortunately, not all properties possess it, especially the older ones. So, I hear people saying, “my building doesn’t have FOL, but my neighbour rents his property to tourists and has a tourist license number, so it is ok if I also do it without”. The answer is – NO. If the building doesn’t have FOL or any other document duly registered with the Town Hall which is equivalent to FOL, then “on paper” the property DOES NOT meet the technical and quality requirements of a tourist license. In this case the owner needs to contact a qualified architect/engineer who would perform the inspection of the property, prepare the technical report and file it with the Urbanistic department of the municipality confirming the property compliance. Once approved and properly registered, this document qualifies your property for a tourist license application. 

Now you would ask: How is it possible that my neighbour who DOESN’T have FOL, still DOES have his tourist licence number, which makes it look legal and correct? Firstly, maybe your neighbour has gone through the procedure explained above. But if not, the answer is simple – in the online procedure the Tourist License number is assigned once the Responsible Declaration is submitted, whether WITH or WITHOUT the required documents. So, if you filled in the form correctly and followed all the online steps, at the end you are issued with the tourist number even if you haven’t provided the requested documents such as First Occupation License. However, during the process, the owner declares the TRUTHFULLNERSS of the information provided and signs that he/she is aware of sanctions implied in case the information provided was false. So, even if the neighbour continues to rent his property and is holding the tourist licence number, but the property doesn’t comply with the established requirements, he is running a risk of being inspected and sanctioned. And the fines can be VERY HIGH!

So, do you prefer to do it the “Neighbour Way” or the Correct Way? We at Malaga Expat always advise to choose the latter! 

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