Venta piso turístico en Sagrada Familia de Barcelona
Tourist flat for sale in Sagrada Familia of Barcelona
Venta piso turístico en el Barrio Gótico de Barcelona
Venta piso turístico en el Barrio Gótico de Barcelona
Venta piso turístico en el Eixample de Barcelona
Venta piso turístico en el Eixample de Barcelona

Table of Contents

Buying and selling of flats for tourists in Barcelona

Tourist flats or tourist homes are a business and, as such, their purchase or sale should be studied. The tourist licenses granted by the city council of Barcelona were granted in perpetuity and as a consequence of the different regulations and requirements of the city council, more and more professionalized companies have been created to manage this type of real estate. Currently, there are some 10,265 licenses in force in Barcelona city, although many of these are not being exploited.

Do you want to sell a tourist flat?

Contact us. We are specialists in buying and selling tourist flats in Barcelona.

At Arquitectura Residencial we are specialists in the sale of this type of business. The valuation of a tourist apartment depends on the type of property, its location and the profitability obtained from it.

If you are looking for an investment opportunity or have a property with a tourist license for sale, do not hesitate to contact us: we will accompany you in the transaction.

Currently, in Catalonia there is a moratorium on the granting of tourist licenses (DECRET LLEI 3/23, 7 Novembre de mesures urgents sobre el règim urbanístic dels habitatges turístics). The Barcelona City Council has to adapt to the new decree on tourist housing of the Generalitat. At the moment, no new licenses are being granted in any area, although the transfer of active licenses is possible.

What is a tourist flat?

A tourist apartment or flats (VUT) is a real estate property that is fully transferred by its owner directly or through a management company for its immediate use, against payment of an economic consideration.

Tourist occupancy must be for a continuous period of less than 31 days. This is important, since higher rents would be temporary rentals that currently have a price limit by decree. In order to be able to rent a tourist property, it must have the necessary services for its immediate use. In addition, the relevant activity license must have been previously applied for. The activity is regulated by Royal Decree-Law 7/2019, of March 1, on urgent housing and rental measures The powers are assigned to the autonomous administrations, so that each of them has a particular regulation. In the case of Catalonia all the information is published by the Generalitat de Catalunya in the DOGC no. 8195, 06/08/2020.

The VUT license for tourist use is requested at the town hall where the property is located and is registered by the Generalitat through a Registration Number in the Tourism Registry of Catalonia (NIRTC).
To consult the current licenses, you can consult the list of tourism companies and establishments of the Departament d’Empresa i Treball de la Generalitat de Catalunya.

In turn, the Barcelona City Council has a page where you can check whether a tourist accommodation has a valid license: PEUAT activity census (Special Urban Plan for the regulation of tourist accommodation establishments, youth hostels, tourist housing, shared homes and collective educational residences for temporary accommodation in the city of Barcelona).

Currently, and due to the last ruling against the Barcelona City Council in which more than 1,000 new licenses had to be granted, there are 10,265 licenses in force. However, many of the homes that have licenses are not being used.

Grafico de evolucion HUT

Differences between tourist accommodations and tourist dwellings

Basically, the difference is that tourist accommodations are managed by a company and are located in a block of apartments or formed by a group of houses. Initially, tourist apartments were individual flats managed by a private individual, directly or indirectly, in exchange for an economic consideration for a seasonal stay and under conditions of immediate availability. Management has become more professional and, as it is more demanding in terms of mandatory services, in many cases service companies specialized in tourist rentals are subcontracted.
The profitability obtained with tourist housing has led many investors to acquire a large number of properties and, in turn, companies specialized in the management of this type of activity have appeared, taking care of check-in, check-out, cleaning and possible incidents.

Obligations of the owner of a tourist flat

The owner of a tourist flat or the company to which he/she delegates the management of the rental must have a 24-hour operating telephone number to resolve queries or incidents for users or neighbors. Said number must be visible at the front door of the property. In addition:

  1. It must guarantee the service of assistance and maintenance of the dwelling.
  2. Provide users with the community of owners’ rules of coexistence in Catalan, English, French and Spanish.
  3. Users who violate community standards or municipal ordinances will be required to vacate the property.
  4. The license number, maximum capacity, and telephone number for assistance and maintenance must be clearly displayed.

The requirements to be met are set forth in Decree 75/2020, of August 4, or the regulations that may replace it. In addition, it must comply with Law 18/2007, of December 28, 2007, on the right to housing and subsequent laws.

Additional Services

As a result of the needs of this type of real estate, interesting devices have emerged to facilitate management:

  • Sound detectors that alert the property in case of disturbing noises.
  • Fire detectors.
  • WIFI connection detectors. The owner will be able to detect if the occupancy exceeds the contracted occupancy by the number of connected devices.
  • Autochek-in: Automatic locks with code to avoid displacements at check-in and check-out.

Most profitable tourist apartments

The profitability of this type of activities is well marked by:

  • Location of the property. In Barcelona city, tourism is stable all year round, and clients prefer apartments near the sea or tourist attractions.
  • Number of places available in the property: this is determined by the certificate of occupancy and the license for tourist use.
  • Type of property and services offered The properties for tourist use must be furnished and have all the necessary utensils and appliances for immediate use and must be in a perfect state of cleanliness. Location is paramount, although the terrace or patio, or the communal pool are also highly valued. Inconveniences that are sometimes essential for a sale are less important as it is a temporary accommodation.

Tourist cities such as Barcelona or Madrid are good places to invest in tourist flats, due to the influx of tourists all year round and the presence of trade fairs. The prices of the flats are adapted to the demand, so during the MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS, for example, the prices are much higher.
In general, 2-3 bedroom homes in tourist cities and close to points of interest are the most appreciated by travelers and, therefore, have higher occupancy and profitability.
The host or the company that manages the rental is very relevant in the business, since positive reviews attract more customers. The advertising, presentation of the property and the reviews can make or break a tourist apartment.

PEUAT. Where are the best tourist flats in Barcelona?

The best properties for tourist use in Barcelona are those that are close to areas of tourist interest. These are concentrated in the Eixample, including Sagrada Familia and Sant Antoni, or in the Old Town. However, the growth of licenses has been exponential, and the City Council, through the drafting of the PEUAT, intends to limit licenses to avoid tourist crowds and inconvenience to neighbors.
The special urban plan for tourist accommodations was approved at the plenary meeting of December 23, 2021 and came into force on January 23, 2022 with its publication in the Official Gazette of the Province of Barcelona.

Grafico densidad de pisos turísticos por zonas de Barcelona

The special urban development plan determines 4 specific zones that are established according to the density of places currently offered, the saturation of public space and the urban morphology of the area and with the clear intention of reducing the number of licenses in areas of high concentration. Currently, new licenses are paralyzed until the City Council incorporates the new regulations drafted on November 7, 2023 by the Generalitat de Catalunya.

ZE-1 Specific Zone 1 Eixample, Gòtic and PobleNou

Zone 1 is the most attractive for tourists, together with part of zone 2. In case of investing in a tourist flats, these two areas are the most recommendable. ZONE 1 concentrates more than 60% of the supply of tourist housing in Barcelona and the city council does not allow the opening of more accommodations even if the activity ceases in any of them. However, it does make it possible to open a new one in zone 3 when a tourist dwelling is cancelled.

Plano PEUAT Zona 1

ZE-2 Specific Zone 2 Sagrada Familia, Vila de Gràcia and Diagonal Mar

This area is quite interesting for investment, especially Sagrada Familia and Gracia. The municipality allows the opening of new tourist dwellings when one with the same number of vacancies is removed from the census. Distance and radial density criteria are established according to the establishments.

Plano PEUAT Zona 2

ZE-3 Specific Zone 3

In this zone, new establishments and the expansion of existing ones will be allowed. It is an area of sustained growth. Provided that the established maximum density is not exceeded. Establishments may be opened if they are closed in zone 2 or zone 4, up to a maximum of 370.

They may only be located in blocks whose density does not exceed a ratio of 1.48% between the number of VUTs and the number of dwellings (average of the maintenance area) or to fill an entire building with a maximum of ten VUTs (and, in this case, with non-dwelling uses).

Plano PEUAT Zona 3

ZE-4 Specific Zone 4

It is a low density zone divided into 4 large areas.

Plano PEUAT Zona 4

Subzone 4A, àmbit Marina del Prat Vermell (ZE-4A)

Subzone 4B, La Sagrera (ZE-4B)

Subzone 4C, 22@ Nord (ZE-4C)

Subzone 4D, Estació de Sants (ZE-4D)

Documentation for selling a tourist flat

In order to sell a tourist flat, all the legal documentation used for the sale of a flat without a license is required:

  • Valid certificate of occupancy.
  • Energy efficiency certificate.
  • Property deed.
  • Certificate of current community expenses.
  • IBI receipts up to date of payment.
  • Certificate of suitability of the technical inspection of the building, if applicable.
  • Supply receipts.

And it will also have to be added:

The license is granted to the owner of the property and may only be transferred to the new owner. Once the property has been acquired, the new owner must notify the municipality of the change of ownership within 30 days.

Valuation at market price of tourist flats

To sell a tourist flat, it is advisable to go to a specialized company that assesses the activities licence correctly. The price, logically, is set by the price of the property itself; the valuation of this at market price, but a plus must be added, corresponding to the expectations of additional income that will be obtained with the licence.
The activity of the flats to date must also be taken into account. Properties operated by a well-rated host have more bookings and therefore end up being more profitable. Owners can demonstrate the profitability of their business to date. The portals themselves allow you to download statistical data.
Since the Special Urban Plan for Tourist Accommodation (PEUAT) has come into force, preventing the growth of the number of tourist licenses in Barcelona, the so-called tourist flats have become highly sought after by business-savvy investors.
Furthermore, in order to carry out a successful tourist activity without “surprises” in the future, a potential buyer of a tourist flat, apart from reviewing the standard documentation of any sale, you will need to pay attention to some extra details, such as the existence of incidents related to the flat pending resolution at Barcelona City Council, or complaints from neighbours reflected in the latest minutes of the meetings of the community of owners. And, of course, it will check if the license is in force. https://portaldogc.gencat.cat/utilsEADOP/PDF/8195/1857521.pdf
Finally, unlike the sale of a dwelling without a license, there is an additional step that consists in the transfer of the license itself to the dwelling for tourist use. It is also important to take into account the contractual relationship that may exist if the flats were being managed through a tourist housing company, as well as to negotiate the management of confirmed reservations and their collection in order to avoid conflicts in the future.

Marketing of tourist flats

The marketing of a vacation home begins with the presentation of the property, the services, the quality of the photographs, and the attention that will be given to the guest. Tourist homes are differentiated by their characteristics, but also by their management. Autonomous arrival service, maintenance, cleaning, etc.

Imagen de AirBNB

Most of the owners of vacation properties advertise them on the main portals:

Airbnb.es is the most used by travelers and many hosts rely on this portal for all reservations. Others, however, diversify and use: booking.com, hometogo.com, trivago.com, rentalia.com, among others.
There is software specialized in the delivery of advertising and automatic booking management in multiple portals, such as avaibook.com or holidu.com.
Running a business on one of these portals requires experience. Not only because of the quality of the ads, but also because the reviews made by the users will be of vital importance in the result of the ads. In addition, prices have to be adapted to the times of higher demand, for example, when there are relevant fairs in the city, prices go up, and an expert host knows how to increase the profitability of his business.
For this reason, buying a property that has very positive reviews and a superhost has an added value when deciding on which property to invest in.
Many owners manage the business on a very personal basis, but others delegate to specialized companies that take control of the entire business in exchange for a percentage of the price.

Tourist flats management companies in Barcelona

There are local and global management companies, operating in several cities and even countries.
With the proliferation of tourist flats and the professionalization of management, companies dedicated solely to the management of tourist flats were created.
The managers take care of all advertising, reservation management, check-in and check-out, management of guest incidents and settlement of municipal taxes, maintenance, cleaning and laundry, among other tasks.

Some examples of management companies in Barcelona:

Tourist housing associations

With the proliferation of the tourist use housing (VUT), associations have been born to defend the interests of the owners and keep them informed of the changes in the regulations.

Apartur

Born in 2004. The association of tourist accommodations in Barcelona has been giving voice and legal advice to the owners of tourist accommodations for 20 years. Its members represent 20% of the tourism arriving in Barcelona, generating almost 300 million Euros in taxes.

Imagen de Apartur 2024

They have agreements with professional service providers directly related to their activity;

  • Up-to-date information on the sector.
  • Personalized legal advice.
  • Access to the agreements that the Association makes with institutions.
  • Exclusive agreements with companies and suppliers in the sector.
  • Specific insurance for the group.
  • Monthly occupancy statistics and forecasts.
  • Daily press clippin with the news of the sector.
  • Access to the “Apartur Forum” chat.
  • Labor exchange.
  • Access to codes of ethics, manual of good practices and seals of quality and excellence.
  • Specific and innovative training courses

Federatur

Catalan Federation of tourist apartments. It represents 380 companies offering approximately 20,000 apartments; the largest legalized offer of tourist apartments in Barcelona, Girona and Tarragona.

Imagen de Federatur

“The main objective and commitment of the entity is the firm defense of the sector and its representation before public administrations and other economic sectors in everything related to the legislation and legalization of the sector. We work tirelessly in the fight against illegality and we are equally combative in the face of rules and regulations that hinder the sector’s progress.

Our mission is, in short, the promotion of a responsible and sustainable tourism development model, encouraging quality tourism and a good balance between city and tourism.”

Do you want to buy a tourist flat?

Contact us and we will inform you about the flats we have in our portfolio.

Buy tourist apartment in Barcelona

At present, there are companies that are looking to expand their tourist housing stock. Regulatory changes are causing them to be more cautious in the selection of the properties they purchase. Therefore, the license valuation is already discounting the possibility that the duration may end up being limited to 10 years.
What does a tourist apartment investor look for?
Currently, it is looking for a return of approximately 8-10 %.
Central location in Barcelona or areas with lower license density and higher profitability
Housing that is easy to build and recover the investment in a period of approximately 10 years.

Do you want to sell a tourist flat?

Contact us. We are specialists in buying and selling tourist flats in Barcelona.

Selling tourist homes in Barcelona

Most owners who decide to sell an flat do so either because they are unable to attend professionally or because of the increase in income tax that this activity represents. Since they are not professionally engaged, the income is added to their taxable income, increasing their taxable income.
If you are thinking of selling or buying a property for tourist use do not hesitate to contact us, we are specialists in apartments for tourist use in Barcelona.

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