Malaga Short-Term Rental Regulation: A Guide For Airbnb Hosts

Malaga, Spain

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.

Starting a Short-Term Rental Business in Malaga

If you're looking to start a short-term rental business in Malaga, it's important to understand the local laws and regulations. According to the Junta de Andalucía, which governs the region including Malaga, "short-term" rentals are defined as properties rented for less than 63 days.

To legally operate a short-term rental, you must:

  • Register your property with the Andalusian Tourism Registry and obtain a license
  • Ensure the property meets certain safety, quality, and legal standards
  • Have liability insurance coverage for any potential damage caused by guests
  • Obtain consent from the community of owners if the property is part of an apartment building or residential complex

The application process involves registering the property, submitting required documentation, potentially undergoing an inspection, and receiving the license. Failure to comply with regulations can result in penalties, fines, and even closure of the property.

Limits on Number of Properties and Rental Duration

Recent amendments to the short-term rental laws in Andalusia limit owners to operating a maximum of two tourist accommodation units directly or through management companies. This is aimed at preventing property speculation by large operators.

Additionally, there are restrictions on the number of occupants and beds allowed. An entire dwelling may have no more than 15 beds, while room rentals are limited to 6 beds total and no more than 4 beds per room. Minimum and maximum stay requirements may also apply.

Taxation and Reporting Requirements

Short-term rental income is subject to taxation in Spain. Hosts must declare all rental income and adhere to specific tax obligations:

  1. Spanish residents must declare short-term rental income on their annual personal income tax return
  2. Non-resident landlords are liable for a 24% income tax on gross rental income
  3. Hosts may need to register for and charge VAT (10%) if offering additional hospitality services

Furthermore, every booking must be reported online to the Guardia Civil or National Police within 24 hours of the guest's arrival. This reporting requirement has been in place since 2015.

Enforcement and Penalties

Andalusian authorities conduct regular inspections and compliance checks on short-term rentals. This can include reviewing registration documents, verifying the property meets safety standards, and monitoring online listings for unregistered or non-compliant rentals.

Penalties for non-compliance are steep, with potential fines, restrictions on rental activity, and even license revocation. In severe cases, hosts may face legal prosecution.

One Airbnb host in Malaga reported being asked to provide their license number in order to continue hosting on the platform. Many hosts in Spain find the process of complying with regulations to be complicated and burdensome.

Short-Term Rental Licensing Requirement in Malaga

In order to legally operate a short-term rental property in Malaga, owners must obtain a license known as a Vivienda con Fines Turísticos (VFT) from the Junta de Andalucía. This involves registering the property in the Andalusian Tourism Registry and meeting certain standards.

To qualify for a VFT license, the property must:

  1. Be located in a residential area
  2. Meet minimum size requirements (e.g. at least 25m2 for a studio)
  3. Have air conditioning, heating, and ventilation in each room
  4. Provide basic amenities like bedding, furniture, and kitchen equipment
  5. Have a first-aid kit available
  6. Provide guests with tourism information about the local area

The application process involves submitting required documentation, such as proof of ownership, a statement of responsibility, and potentially an occupancy license. An inspection may also be conducted to verify the property meets all standards. Once approved, the owner will receive their VFT registration number, which must be displayed in all rental advertisements.

It's important to note that in apartment buildings or complexes, the community of owners can vote to restrict or prohibit short-term rentals with a 60% majority. Therefore, it's critical to review the community statutes before pursuing a VFT license.

Failure to obtain proper licensing can result in significant fines, ranging from €2,000 up to €150,000 for repeat offenders. Malaga authorities are cracking down on unlicensed rentals, with inspectors actively monitoring online listings to identify non-compliant properties.

Taxation and Reporting Obligations

In addition to licensing, short-term rental operators in Malaga must adhere to tax laws. Rental income is subject to taxation in Spain, even for non-resident owners.

Landlords must therefore declare all income derived from rentals, including short-term vacation lets, and adhere to specific tax obligations:

  1. Spanish residents must declare rental income on annual personal income tax returns
  2. Non-resident landlords are liable for 24% tax on gross rental income
  3. Hosts may need to register for and charge VAT (10%) if providing additional hospitality services

Furthermore, guest details must be reported to local police within 24 hours of each new arrival. This involves collecting passport information and submitting it through an online portal.

Required Documents for Malaga Short-Term Rentals

Hosts must gather and submit several key documents to successfully register a property for short-term rentals in Malaga. These serve to verify ownership, confirm the property meets safety and quality standards, and ensure compliance with local regulations. The primary documents required include:

  1. Proof of Ownership: Hosts must provide documentation confirming their legal right to rent out the property. This typically involves submitting a copy of the property deed (escritura), purchase contract, or other official records demonstrating ownership or legal authority to operate the rental.
  2. First Occupation License (Licencia de Primera Ocupación): This critical document certifies that the property meets all necessary safety, habitability, and building code requirements. Issued by the local town hall, it confirms the property is legally approved for residential use. A technical report from a qualified architect or engineer may suffice for older properties lacking this license.
  3. Cadastral Reference (Referencia Catastral): The property's unique cadastral reference number is required for registration. This alphanumeric code identifies the property in the Spanish Land Registry and can be found on property tax (IBI) receipts or through the online Catastro portal.
  4. Energy Performance Certificate (Certificado de Eficiencia Energética): Hosts must obtain and provide an energy efficiency certificate for the property. Issued by a certified technician, this rates the property's energy consumption and CO2 emissions on a scale from A to G.
  5. Liability Insurance Policy:Proof of a valid liability insurance policy covering potential damages or injuries sustained by guests during their stay is mandatory. The policy should have sufficient coverage limits as stipulated by the Andalusian tourism authorities.
  6. Floorplan or Technical Drawing: A scaled floorplan or technical drawing of the property may be requested. This document outlines the rental unit's layout, room dimensions, and key features.
  7. Photographs: High-quality digital photographs showcasing the property's interior, exterior, and any standout amenities are typically required. These images are used to verify the property's condition and suitability for tourist accommodations.

In addition to these core documents, hosts may need to provide personal or company identification (DNI, NIE, CIF), tax registration details, and representations of any co-owners or legal representatives involved in the rental operation.

It's crucial for hosts to ensure all submitted documents are valid, up-to-date, and accurately reflect the current state of the property. Incomplete or inconsistent documentation can lead to registration delays or rejections.

Malaga Short-Term Rental Taxes

When operating a short-term rental property in Malaga, it's crucial to understand and comply with the applicable tax obligations. As a landlord, you will be subject to various taxes on your rental income, and failure to properly declare and pay these taxes can result in significant penalties.

Income Tax (IRPF)

The primary tax you will face is the Impuesto sobre la Renta de las Personas Físicas (IRPF), which is the personal income tax in Spain. The tax rate you pay depends on your residency status:

  1. Spanish tax residents are taxed on their worldwide rental income at progressive rates ranging from 19% to 45%, depending on their total income level.
  2. Non-resident EU/EEA citizens are subject to a flat rate of 19% on their Spanish-sourced rental income.
  3. Non-resident non-EU/EEA citizens are subject to a flat rate of 24% on their Spanish-sourced rental income.

It's important to note that non-resident non-EU/EEA citizens cannot deduct any expenses from their rental income, while Spanish residents and EU/EEA residents can deduct certain allowable expenses such as mortgage interest, property taxes, insurance, and depreciation.


Generally, short-term holiday rentals in Malaga are exempt from Value Added Tax (IVA) as long as no additional hospitality services are provided. However, if your rental includes services typically offered by hotels, such as regular cleaning, laundry, or meal provision, you may need to charge a reduced VAT rate of 10% on your rental income.

Tourist Tax

In some areas of Spain, including certain municipalities in Malaga province, a tourist tax is levied on short-term accommodations. As a landlord, you are responsible for collecting this tax from your guests and remitting it to the local authorities. The exact amount varies by location and property type, so it's essential to check with your local council for the specific requirements in your area.

Reporting Obligations

As a short-term rental operator, you have several reporting obligations to the Spanish tax authorities:

  1. Spanish tax residents must declare their rental income annually on their personal income tax return (Modelo 100) by June 30th of the following year.
  2. Non-residents must file a quarterly non-resident income tax return (Modelo 210) within 20 days following the end of each quarter.
  3. If you are required to charge VAT, you must register for VAT, issue invoices, and file periodic VAT returns (Modelo 303).

Regardless of your residency status, you must report each guest's details to the police within 24 hours of their arrival, as part of Spain's national security regulations.

Professional Guidance

Navigating the complex web of tax regulations for short-term rentals in Malaga can be challenging, especially for foreign investors. It's highly recommended to seek guidance from a qualified tax professional or gestor who specializes in Spanish vacation rental taxation. They can help ensure you meet all your obligations and minimize your tax liabilities.

By staying informed and compliant with Malaga's short-term rental tax laws, you can confidently operate your rental business and maximize your returns in this dynamic and profitable market. With proper planning and professional advice, the tax aspects of your rental operation can be efficiently managed, allowing you to focus on delivering an exceptional guest experience in one of Spain's most sought-after destinations.

Spain Wide Short-Term Rental Rules

While each autonomous community in Spain has its own specific regulations for short-term rentals, there are some general rules and requirements that apply across the country:

Registration and Licensing

In most regions of Spain, owners must register their property with the local tourism authority and obtain a license or registration number in order to legally launch and operate as a short-term rental. This process typically involves submitting an application along with required documentation such as proof of ownership, floor plans, occupancy license, and insurance.

The exact procedures and requirements vary by region, so checking with your local authorities for specifics is important. Once registered, you must display your license number in all rental advertisements.

Guest Reporting

Spain has strict regulations around reporting guest information to authorities for security purposes. Under the Royal Decree 933/2021, hosts are required to collect passport details from all guests over the age of 16 and submit this to the police within 24 hours of check-in via an online portal.

This applies to all types of accommodations, including private room rentals in a host's primary residence. Failure to comply can result in fines.


Income earned from short-term rentals is subject to taxation in Spain. Spanish tax residents must declare the income on their annual tax return and pay the applicable rate based on their total income level.

Non-resident hosts are subject to a flat tax rate on their gross rental income - 19% for EU/EEA citizens and 24% for non-EU/EEA citizens. Unlike residents, non-residents cannot deduct expenses.

Some regions also levy a tourist tax on short-term stays which hosts are responsible for collecting from guests and remitting to authorities. VAT may also apply if hosts provide additional hospitality services beyond just accommodation.

Occupancy and Quality Standards

Many regions set minimum requirements around the amenities, furnishings, and equipment that short-term rentals must provide. This can include things like air conditioning, heating, kitchen equipment, linens, first aid kits, etc.

There are often also limits on the maximum occupancy allowed based on the size and type of property. Entire home rentals are commonly capped at 15 guests, while private room rentals within a host's residence may be limited to 6 guests total.

Rental Duration Limits

To combat housing shortages for local residents, some cities have implemented caps on the total number of days per year a property can be rented short-term without a special permit. For example, in Madrid the limit is 90 days, while Barcelona has a 120 day annual cap.

Other areas prohibit short-term rentals entirely in certain zones, such as the city center, or require minimum stays of 5-7 days to qualify as a tourist accommodation.

Does Malaga Strictly Enforce STR Rules?

Based on discussions in real estate investing forums like BiggerPockets and Reddit, it appears Malaga actively enforces its short-term rental regulations compared to other Spanish cities. Hosts have reported receiving fines and even having their listings removed if they fail to obtain the proper licenses and meet all the legal requirements.

One Airbnb host shared their experience: "Malaga authorities conduct regular inspections and compliance checks on short-term rentals. This can include reviewing registration documents, verifying the property meets safety standards, and monitoring online listings for unregistered or non-compliant rentals. I was asked to provide my license number in order to continue hosting on the platform."

Another investor commented: "We HAVE to be super strict in Malaga. We can lose our license and face steep fines. I would love to be understanding, but the penalty for failure is too damn high."

This sentiment was echoed by others, advising that the financial and legal risks of operating an unlicensed short-term rental in Malaga are simply not worth it. "Penalties for non-compliance are steep, with potential fines, restrictions on rental activity, and even license revocation," cautioned one Reddit user.

While some markets may turn a blind eye to illegal vacation rentals, that does not currently seem to be the case in Malaga. The city relies heavily on tourism revenue but is also grappling with affordable housing shortages for residents. Strict enforcement of STR rules appears to be their attempt at striking a balance.

In contrast, hosts mentioned that other Spanish cities like Barcelona have historically been slower to crack down on unlicensed rentals. However, that is starting to change as the negative impacts of over-tourism become more apparent.

So, in summary, Malaga is not the most friendly market for Airbnb entrepreneurs looking to skirt the rules. Investors are advised to thoroughly research and comply with all regulations before pursuing short-term rentals there. While the income potential is appealing, with hosts reporting an average of €2,000 per month, operating above board is critical to avoid jeopardizing your business.

How to Start a Short-Term Rental Business in Malaga

If you're interested in starting a short-term rental business in Malaga, here are the key steps to follow:

  1. Research the local regulations and requirements for operating a short-term rental in Malaga. Familiarize yourself with the Andalusian Tourism Law and the specific rules for the city of Malaga.
  2. Identify a suitable property for your short-term rental business. Consider factors such as location, size, amenities, and target market. Ensure the property meets all legal and safety standards.
  3. Register your property with the Andalusian Tourism Registry (Registro de Turismo de Andalucía) by submitting a Responsible Declaration (Declaración Responsable) and obtaining a registration number. This must be done before advertising or renting out your property.
  4. Obtain any necessary licenses and permits from the Malaga City Council, such as a first occupation license (licencia de primera ocupación) and a tourism license (licencia de actividad turística).
  5. Ensure your property meets all the requirements for tourist accommodations, including minimum size, amenities, safety features, and accessibility standards. Make any necessary renovations or upgrades.
  6. Set up your business entity and register for taxes. Decide whether to operate as a sole proprietor or form a company. Register for the appropriate taxes, such as VAT (IVA) and income tax (IRPF).
  7. Create a detailed business plan outlining your target market, pricing strategy, marketing approach, and financial projections. Set realistic goals and budgets.
  8. Develop a strong online presence by creating a website, professional photos, and engaging descriptions of your property. List your rental on popular platforms like Airbnb, Vrbo, and, making sure to include your registration number.
  9. Implement a reliable system for managing bookings, guest communication, cleaning, and maintenance. Consider using property management software or hiring a professional management company.
  10. Provide excellent customer service to your guests, promptly addressing any concerns or issues that arise. Encourage satisfied guests to leave positive reviews to attract future bookings.
  11. Stay up-to-date with any changes in local laws and regulations affecting short-term rentals in Malaga. Regularly review and adjust your business practices to ensure ongoing compliance.
  12. Monitor your financial performance and occupancy rates. Continuously assess and adapt your pricing, marketing, and operations to optimize your revenue and profitability.

You can build a successful short-term rental business in Malaga by following these steps and maintaining a commitment to quality, compliance, and guest satisfaction. While the process requires careful planning and ongoing effort, the potential rewards of this thriving market make it an attractive opportunity for savvy entrepreneurs.

Who to Contact in Malaga about Short-Term Rental Regulations and Zoning?

If you are considering operating a short-term rental property in Malaga, it's important to ensure you are fully compliant with all local laws and regulations. Here are the key authorities and resources to consult regarding short-term rental requirements and zoning restrictions in Malaga:

1. Malaga City Council (Ayuntamiento de Málaga)

The Malaga City Council is responsible for urban planning, zoning, and enforcing short-term rental regulations within the city. Contact their Urban Planning Department for information on your property's zoning restrictions and permitted uses.

Address: Avenida de Cervantes, 4, 29016 Málaga
Phone: +34 951 92 60 10

2. Junta de Andalucía - Ministry of Tourism

The Andalusian regional government oversees the registration and licensing of tourist accommodations, including short-term rentals. Reach out to their Tourism Department for guidance on obtaining your mandatory tourist license and meeting all requirements.

Address: Calle Juan Antonio de Vizarrón, s/n, Edificio Torretriana, 41092 Sevilla
Phone: +34 955 06 51 00

4. Andalusian Tourism Registry (Registro de Turismo de Andalucía)

All short-term rental properties in Malaga must be registered with the Andalusian Tourism Registry. Contact them for information on the registration process and to verify the status of a property.

Phone: +34 955 06 51 00

5. Professional Associations

Consider joining a professional association for holiday rental owners and operators in Malaga or Andalusia. These organizations often provide valuable resources, updates on regulatory changes, and support for navigating the legal requirements.

Asociación de Viviendas Turísticas de Andalucía (AVVA)


Asociación de Empresarios de Alojamientos Turísticos de Málaga (AEHCOS)

Phone: +34 952 21 51 87

6. Legal and Tax Advisors

Given the complexity of short-term rental regulations, seeking guidance from qualified professionals is highly recommended. Look for local lawyers and tax advisors who specialize in tourist accommodations to ensure you are meeting all legal and fiscal obligations.

Colegio de Abogados de Málaga (Malaga Bar Association)

Phone: +34 951 01 79 00

By consulting with these authorities and experts, you can ensure you have the most up-to-date information on short-term rental regulations in Malaga. They can guide you through the process of registering your property, obtaining necessary licenses, and complying with zoning restrictions and other legal requirements.

Investing the time to thoroughly understand and adhere to the rules will help you avoid potential fines and legal issues, allowing you to confidently operate your rental business in this dynamic and rewarding market.

What Do Airbnb Hosts in Malaga on Reddit and Bigger Pockets Think about Local Regulations?

To get a sense of how short-term rental operators in Malaga feel about the regulatory environment, we reviewed discussions on popular real estate investing forums like Reddit and Bigger Pockets. Here are some key takeaways:

Many hosts express frustration with the strict enforcement of rules in Malaga compared to other Spanish cities. One Reddit user shared their experience of being asked to provide their license number to continue hosting on Airbnb, noting that Malaga authorities conduct regular compliance checks and will remove listings that are not properly registered.

On Bigger Pockets, a Malaga Airbnb host cautioned that non-compliance penalties are steep, with potential fines, restrictions, and license revocation. "We HAVE to be super strict," they wrote. "We can lose our license and face steep fines. I would love to be understanding, but the penalty for failure is too damn high."

Other hosts echoed this sentiment, advising that the financial and legal risks of operating an unlicensed rental in Malaga are simply not worth it. They noted that while some markets are more lax about illegal rentals, Malaga is cracking down in an attempt to combat over-tourism and preserve housing for residents.

Hosts also discussed the complicated and time-consuming process of obtaining a short-term rental license in Malaga. Many found the requirements, such as having a first occupation license and meeting certain size and amenity standards, to be onerous.

However, most agreed that operating above board is critical to avoid jeopardizing one's business. One host recommended thoroughly researching all requirements and seeking guidance from local authorities or experienced hosts to navigate the licensing process.

Despite the regulatory challenges, hosts noted that the income potential of short-term rentals in Malaga remains appealing. Several mentioned earning an average of €2,000 per month. However, they cautioned that the strict rules mean this market is not friendly to those looking to skirt regulations or operate unofficial rentals.

The overall sentiment among Malaga hosts on these forums is that the city takes short-term rental compliance very seriously. While the licensing process is complex and the rules can feel burdensome, most believe that operating legally is the only way to run a sustainable business and avoid costly penalties. Hosts advised others considering this market to be prepared for the regulatory hurdles and to budget time and money to achieve full compliance.

Disclaimer: While we here at BNBCalc strive to keep all of our city regulation guides updated and accurate with all the latest local laws, we still do not suggest using them as your sole or primary source for local regulations. We also do not recommend you rely on the third-party sources we link to or reference, and we are not responsible for any of the information on these third-party sites. These guides are for entertainment purposes only and only provide basic information and should not be considered as legal advice.

We highly recommend directly contacting the responsible parties for each city and hearing what their officials have to say. Ultimately, it's your responsibility as an investor to ensure you fully comply with the local laws, and it's best to speak with professionals before making an investment decision.

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.