Madrid-based medium-stay property rental portal SpotAHome says a growing number of Spaniards are using its platform to rent out their holiday homes during the off season, newspaper Noticias Salamanca reports.
Owning a holiday home is relatively commonplace in Spain. According to the latest data from the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (National Institute of Statistics), 3.5 million Spanish households have one.
These properties are often located in coastal areas or are an ancestral home in an inland rural area (sometimes in a semi-deserted village). However, they are often little used — particularly outside of the summer months.
Not only does this represent the underutilization of a valuable resource, it also puts the property at risk from squatters. According to government data, some 10,220 homes were illegally occupied in Spain during the first half of 2022.
“Okupas” (as they are known locally) are a bigger issue in Spain than in most other European countries, as a convoluted legal process means that it can often take months (or even years) to evict them. This is particularly the case when the property involved is not a primary residence. This leads some owners to expedite the process through extra-judicial means.
Organized crime can also be involved, in which case squatters usually try to extort money from the owners before leaving, in lieu of a long, potentially expensive court case.
“[Medium-term rentals] … allows the owner to have the home in use and, therefore, more protected against squatting, but, at the same time, to enjoy it during the periods that they wish. Thus, in addition to keeping the property protected, economic benefits can be obtained,” said Eduardo Garbayo, vice president of business and operations at SpotAHome (LinkedIn profile).
“Most medium-stay tenants are professionals posted for limited periods of time, postgraduate students etc., so they take care of the home … Moreover, medium-term rental is not regulated by tourist rental legislation,” he added.
Garbayo also noted that second-home owners could maximize their returns on a property by opting for short-term rental during peak season and medium term in the off season.