What is Classed as a rural tourism dwellings in Spain?


Published on 08/03/2016 by Jaime Morales/Teresa Morales


Rural tourism rental dwellings are subject to Law 13/2011 of Tourism in Andalusia (article 48) and Decree 20/2002 of Tourism in a rural setting and active Tourism (article 19). According to this legislation, rural tourism rental dwellings are:

  • Dwellings located in what is classified as rural land or environment*,
  • Dwellings are totally independent, including dependent buildings such as harness rooms, stables, sheds and others of a similar nature;
  • they are offered to the public for seasonal or temporary use or to be used occasionally, once or more times in the year, without exceeding 3 months per year in total (if it exceeds it, the property will be considered as a rural house);
  • the only service they offer is lodging;
  • there cannot be more than 3 households in the same building;
  • the lodging capacity cannot exceed 20 people.

*Properties are located in a rural land or environment if:

  • The number of inhabitants of the town or village (núcleo de población) where the properties are, according to an updated census, isn’t over 20.000; and
  • the distance between the accommodation and the beach (ribera del mar) is more than 1.000 metres; or if the property is between 500,01 metres to 1.000 metres from the beach but the access to the beach is more than 1.500 metres.

The minimum infrastructure requirements for rural tourism dwellings are the following (Annex II Decree 20/2002):

  1. Signposted access, providing the lodgers with the necessary information through a map or plan of its location. The path must be practicable for vehicles; if it’s not, the owner will have to facilitate the transport to and from the accommodation.
  2. Drinking water. They must have a storage tank over 200 litres per lodger if the supply is not provided by the municipal water network.
  3. Electricity.
  4. First aid kit.

Other requirements these properties must comply with (Annex III Decree 20/2002):

  • Living room / dining room:

Living room / dining room which caters for the maximum capacity of the accommodation, furnished according Andalusia’s rural aesthetics, with a minimum area of 12 m2. It can be divided into two different rooms.

When properties are rented during the winter season (October through to April, both inclusive) heating must be made available.

  • Kitchen:

Area according to the property’s capacity. It must be fitted with burners or electric hob, oven or microwave, fridge, dishes, cutlery, glassware, kitchen and household appliances, sink and drainer with hot and cold running water. In addition, the kitchen must have direct or forced ventilation.

  • Bedrooms:

Individual rooms’ area: 7 m2 minimum; double rooms’ area: 10 m2 minimum. For each additional lodger: 4 m2. Terraces and bathrooms are excluded from this area. The area occupied by wardrobes can be included.

The rooms will have a table and bed for each lodger. If the bed is individual: 90 x 180 cm (minimum); if it is double: 135 x 180 cm (minimum). The bed bases must be rigid. The use of of wool or foam mattresses is not allowed. Light point next to beds.

A wardrobe per 4 lodgers with adequate hangers. It can be located in any of the rooms.

Ceiling height: 2 metres minimum. This minimum height must be the same in at least 70 per cent of the surface of attic rooms.

Lighting and ventilation must be to the exterior or to a ventilated courtyard. In no case the ventilation can be assisted. The windows will have blinds or shutters to obscure them when necessary.

When properties are rented during the winter season (October through to April, both inclusive) heating must be made available.

Access to the room through common elements. In no case rooms will be accessible through another room.

Clean sheets and bed linen once a week according to the number of lodgers.

  • Bathrooms:

The properties will have a complete bathroom per 6 lodgers or fraction. The bathroom will have hot and cold water, sink, bathtub or shower, toilet, mirror, towel rack, shelf for bathroom articles and clean bath linen once a week according to the number of lodgers. It must be located in the same building as the rooms and have direct or forced ventilation.

Hot water supply must be enough to ensure personal hygiene of all the lodgers, including shower of them during an hour.

Moreover, if the properties are going to be rented by rooms (shared), apart from the requirements above, the rooms will need to have a chair per 2 lodgers, a table and its own wardrobe. The bathroom will be exclusive for the lodgers. However, a kitchen won´t be required.


Owners must register their properties at the Andalusia’s Tourism Registry as “rural tourism rental dwellings” by filing an application form with the Consejería de Turismo where their dwellings are located. Once they are registered, the owners will receive a registration reference code which must be quoted on all advertisements where the dwelling is offered.

If owners begin the tourist activity without registering their properties as “rural tourism rental dwellings” with the Andalusia’s Tourism Registry, it will be deemed a clandestine activity and a serious offence with penalties ranging from 2.001 euros to 18.000 euros. Additionally, they can be punished with the suspension of the tourist activity for less than 6 months or the closure of the accommodation for less than 6 months.

Photo by Javier Rincón on Unsplash