Conditions for opening bed and breakfast in Spain


Rural land is the one in which only farming, forest and nature activity may be developed. So, purely, touristic activity is not approved. So,  when a Casa Rural, or B&B, or Camping is projected in this land it is required to get the special approval at the local and regional administration where specifically allow to that land an use different of the agricultural.  In this cases, the plot must have a size of minimum 5.000 m2, with proper parking areas, etc.  DIC  may be avoided in Casa Rural when the project do not requires extend of buildings in more than 20 % of the existence, by express exemption from the Town Hall of the areas.

The most rapid way to obtain a business for accomodation/food is obtaining a «Casa Rural» license

The difficulty of obtaining permission for this type of business is that you have to submit a project by an architect, with environmental studies, studies of engineers regarding sound, environmental impact, environmental protection, certification of supply companies of water and electricity that guarantee that the clients can obtain all the guarantees of service of a camping, or hotel.

This, in areas where they are outside the urbanized areas go through a pre-project of an architect, which must to be presented to the Town Hall in order to see what is their reaction to pass the classification of the use of the plot from “farming” to “commercial”. This action is called “Declaración de Interés Comunitario” (DIC), which, in simple words,  means that although the land of the area must be used only for agricultural and forest purposes, the “local Community” accepts that plot to be used for “commercial” activity due to the “general interest and benefit of the community”.

Presented this pre-project, in case the first impression from the Town Hall is positive, then, it will be necessary to prepare the “Definitive Project”, which is a new one more detailed, and with studies of environmental impact, health, energy, supply by the companies of water, electricity, guarantees that the water to be supplied will be potable water, that there will be enough electricity supply for all guests and installations, that the environment is not going to be damaged, that  there will be wasted water treatment, ecological infrastructure,  etc.

This definitive project must to be presented to the Town Hall which will decide if they approve in first instance the project.

In case the Town Hall accepts, then, the project will be passed to EACH ONE of the different Departments from the Regional Government to approve the project: Touristic Dpt, Sanitary Dpt., Environmental Dpt., Industry, etc. If only ONE from these Dpts rejects the project, it will be automatically refused.

If the Regional Govermnet  approves the project, they will indicate all the necessary works that you must carry out in the property inside,  and in the area. For example, they may request from you:

  • Electric: If the electric power obtained from the current line is not enough to give service to the business projected, then you will be forced to pay for the necessary increase, which passes sometimes to create a new line to connect with another point of electric with more power (sometimes this passes to pay infrastructure to bring the electric from a very long distance, paying installation, projects of installation, installation works, and even authorisation of the owners from plots where the points and pylons are installed, etc. ), and, if it is necessary, even paying a new transformer to get more electric.
  • Water: Potable water is essential for the business. So, you must be secured that the property is connected to MAINS water, and, if it is not the case, you need to pay for the works to connect to the closest point of connection.

Alternatively, you may think in make a water well on your land to get water for the business. In this case, again, you will need:

  1. To detect if there is water in the sub-soil, and that this water does not belong to someone else (maybe this is a declared sub-soil conduction who owns another owner or company).
  2. To check the quality of the water to see if it fulfils with the quality standards.
  3. That in the area is not forbidden getting water from sub-soil
  4. To prepare a technical project signed and certified by an engineer
  5. To present the project to the Spanish local administration to obtain authorisation from the Town Hall
  6. To pay the expenses of the Well’s works
  7. To install the necessary elements to guaranty the potable quality of water, as depuration systems, etc, and all of them using materials certified and authorised by the European Community.
  • Roads: The Spanish administration may require from you to improve the roads and access in the area, sometimes even asphalting surrounding roads out of your property.
  • Depuration and wasted water treatment: Treatment of Residual water will be essential to get permission, sometimes passing by installation of collection and depuration systems and plants.
  • Others like
         * Enough parking space adequate to the maximum guest’s capacity
         * Security and Health programs (in case of Fire, Inundation, accidents, etc.

Then, if ALL the regional Dtps accept the project, the land where the property is installed will be passed from “rustic” into “commercial/hotel”, and then, you will be requested to carry out with the above mentioned works as per administration requirements.

Once infrastructure works are completed, then, you will be in the position to apply for the ACTIVITY LICENSE to the Town Hall.

Other requirements:

  • To register yourself as self-employed or creating a legal registered company in Spain.
  • If you serve food in the business you need to get a license for manipulation of food (“food handler”). Even in case you have obtained this license in your country of origin, then, you need to legalised it in Spain, and or passing an exam (in Spanish) to get it.

So, as CONCLUSION, if you are thinking to open a bed and breakfast B&B in rustic land, then, these are the steps to follow:

STEP 1.- OBTAINING THE  DIC (“Declaración de Interés Communitario”)

Pre-project. At the moment you have in mind to create a bed and breakfast project in Spain, the first thing you have to do is design that project through plans, and detailed project documentation, prepared by an architect. This project would be an initial project that we would call preliminary project.

Average of time to get pre-project prepared from an architect: 1-3 months

First Town Hall impression. This project must be submitted to the city council to give us an idea of ​​whether, once all the possible works have been smoothed, and adaptations of buildings, infrastructure, etc., if they would change the classification of the land, and we would approve the project.

Average of time to get an answer from the Town Hall: 1-3 months

Definitive project. Preparation of the final project by the architect, and the rest of the engineers. Once obtained the confirmation by the municipality that they would be willing to approve a final draft declaration of community interest, it is then when the final project is drawn up through plans of architects, engineers, etc., as established in this article.

Average of time to get definitive project prepared from an architect: 3-9 months

Approval by the Town Hall. Approval of the project by the municipality.

Average of time to get definitive project approved by the Town Hall 6-12 months

Approval by the Regional Gov. Approval by each and every one of the Departments of the regional government, such as, Industry, tourism, environment, etc.

Average of time to get final answer from the Regional Gov: 1-3 years

So, as total, process to obtain DIC may take 2-6 years depending on the project and of the area.


Once the declaration of community interest has been obtained, it will be necessary to present a project of opening license to the town hall. This will pass from another Project made from the architect (this time focused in the business activity) to be presented to the Town Hall.

This license may take 1-4 years depending on the project and of the area.


If the Town Hall approves the project of activity, then, you will get the license, and then, you will need also:

Registration of the business as self-employed, or society, as well as all health requirements and licenses, food handler, etc, and registration of the business in the touristic/business Dpt.

This registration may take 1-6 months.


Above information is focused if you decided to set up the business in rustic land. When you are setting up the business in “urban” land, then, if the Town Hall already accepts the use of B&B in the plot, then, you do not need to obtain the DIC (Step 1), and then you go directly to steps 2 and 3.

This article is not an official guide, so, it cannot be used without the proper advice of specialists.

Bron: TLA Lawyers

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