The following is a summary of the main regulations contained in Decree 75/2020 of 4 August 2020 on Tourism in Catalonia (hereinafter, the “Catalonia Tourism Decree“), which focuses mainly on tourist accommodation establishments, the new regime for tourist accommodation and the regulation for the first time of shared accommodation for tourist purposes (home-sharing), as well as the control of compliance with the requirements established by the tourism regulations.
It was published in Diari Oficial de la Generalitat de Catalunya on 6 August 2020 and came into force 20 days after its publication, i.e. on 26 August 2020, except for Title IV on home-sharing, which will come into force on 6 August 2021.
According to the Explanatory Memorandum of the regulatory provision, “with this Decree, the integration of tourism regulations applicable in Catalonia culminates its process, recasting 7 regulatory provisions in force in the field of tourism in Catalonia“.
- Decree 66/2014, of 13 May, on the regulation of tourist information, dissemination and assistance services in Catalonia.
- Decree 159/2012, of 20 November, on tourist accommodation establishments and dwellings for tourist use.
- Order EMO/418/2012, of 5 December, on the structuring of the Catalan tourism quality system.
- Decree 420/2011, of 20 December, on the creation of the Catalan Tourism Board.
- Decree 46/2010, of 30 March 2010, creating the Interdepartmental Commission for Tourism.
- Decree 52/1997, of 4 March, which regulates the sanctioning capacity in tourism matters.
- Decree 161/2013, of 30 April, approving the Regulations of the Fund for the Promotion of Tourism.
With regard to the scope of application of the Catalonia Tourism Decree, based on Article 111-2, “The provisions of this Decree apply to the tourism businesses and activities regulated in the Tourism Act and to the tourism administrations located in Catalonia. They also apply to the new types of tourist accommodation companies regulated in this regulation under the name of motorhome reception areas, unique accommodation and shared homes.
Excluded from this Decree are those establishments, residential facilities, means of transport or vehicles where overnight stays are permitted that are regulated by their own regulations, such as youth facilities, residences for the elderly, student residences, establishments where sexual or similar activities are carried out”.
- TOURIST APARTMENT ESTABLISHMENTS
Tourist accommodation establishments are those which, in a habitual manner, with a professional character and with the corresponding authorisation, offer users, for a price, temporary accommodation in accommodation units, as well as other tourist services in accordance with the conditions and typologies established in this regulation.
Within this typology, we find the establishments of tourist flats, which are buildings or continuous complexes made up entirely of flats or studios as a single establishment or as a business unit of exploitation, with the corresponding tourist services.
Annex 1 of the aforementioned Decree establishes the minimum tourist requirements for hotel establishments.
- TOURIST DWELLINGS
According to article 221-1, a dwelling for tourist use is considered to be that which is ceded by its owner, directly or indirectly, to third parties, in exchange for an economic consideration for a seasonal stay and in conditions of immediate availability.
A seasonal stay is considered to be any occupation of the dwelling for a continuous period of time equal to or less than 31 days. Therefore, tourist accommodation establishments cannot become the main or secondary residence of tourist users.
Furthermore, it is important to bear in mind that tourist dwellings are rented as a whole, and are not allowed to be rented on a per-stay basis. As for their maximum capacity, they may not be occupied with more places than those indicated in the certificate of occupancy and in any case, the number of places may not exceed 15. The purpose of this restriction is to make tourist accommodation activity compatible with neighbourhood coexistence, the right to rest and the provision of a quality service.
On the other hand, it is important to bear in mind that only duly authorised dwellings registered in the Tourism Register of Catalonia may be transferred, and in the event that the owner of a property becomes aware of a clandestine activity, he/she has the duty to notify the competent Administration, as well as to take the corresponding civil action aimed at the effective cessation of the tourist activity.
Consequently, the use of a dwelling for tourist use must be compatible with the regulation of the uses of the sector in which it is located and with the applicable civil regulations.
In line with this, it is worth highlighting the special regime in the municipality of Barcelona, as it provides for the possibility for Barcelona City Council to establish, by ordinance and for new authorisations, specific requirements for tourist accommodation activities in dwellings for tourist use and in shared homes, as well as time limitations and maximum periods of validity.
Finally, the maximum limit of 15 places will not apply to tourist accommodation already registered at the time of entry into force of the Catalan Tourist Decree, except in the event of a change of capacity or change of ownership. Thus, in the event of cessation, termination or expiry of the authorisation, the new activity to be implemented must comply with the regulations in force.
- SHARED HOME
The Tourist Decree of Catalonia does not expressly regulate the tourist rental of rooms, but includes a new type of tourist accommodation: the shared home.
A shared home is considered to be tourist accommodation that is the main dwelling and effective residence of the owner and that is shared as an accommodation service with third parties in exchange for a financial consideration and for a seasonal stay.
It is essential in this legal concept that the owner of the property must reside in the dwelling for the duration of the stay. As mentioned above, a seasonal stay is considered to be any occupation of the dwelling for a continuous period of time equal to or less than 31 days.
The person in charge of the activity may be the owner of the property or the person expressly authorised by the owner. In this case, the authorised person must fulfil the same conditions of census registration and effective residence required of the owners.
It is also important to note that dwellings that are not registered and duly authorised may not be transferred. In the event that the owner of a property becomes aware of any clandestine activity, he/she has the duty to report it to the competent Administration, as well as to take the corresponding civil actions aimed at the effective cessation of the tourist activity.
Therefore, the destination of a shared home must be compatible with the regulation of the uses of the sector where it is located and with the applicable civil regulations.
- UNIQUE ACCOMODATIONS
The Catalan Tourist Decree provides for this new type of accommodation that, while providing temporary accommodation in exchange for a financial consideration, does not fall into any of the regulated types of tourist accommodation or those expressly excluded by the aforementioned regulation.
By way of example, this type of accommodation could include tree huts, shepherds’ huts, huts such as those in the Ebro delta, caves, etc., among others.
Local councils may set up unique accommodation in their municipal area provided that they define and delimit the activity, in accordance with the minimum conditions established by these regulations, as well as all applicable non-tourist sector regulations (safety, health, environment, etc.). However, under no circumstances may unique accommodation be enabled with the aim of avoiding the application of the different sectorial requirements demanded of other types of tourist accommodation.