How to legally rent out accommodation to tourists in Croatia

Renting apartments to tourists is common in Croatia
Renting apartments to tourists is common in Croatia

UPDATED: 8.4.2024.

Renting out an apartment or villa to tourists is pretty common in Croatia. At the Adriatic coast, it seems like every person or family you meet rents out at least one property on Airbnb or Booking. It can be a great way to earn a decent amount of money in a few short months.

Do you wonder how exactly people rent out their apartments in Croatia? On the surface, it may seem as easy as creating a listing on Airbnb. However, if that’s all you do, then you aren’t following the law.

Before you decide to rent accommodation in Croatia, it is necessary to know the game’s rules.

In this post, we cover:

The facts are these…

How to legally rent out accommodation to tourists in Croatia

What is considered accommodation in Croatia?

When we talk about accommodation, we refer to a unit or object rented out commercially to individuals. In Croatia, several different types of objects are considered accommodation for the purposes of renting.

The types of accommodation are:

  • Objekti (objects)
    • Sobe (private rooms)
    • Apartmani (private apartments)
    • Kuće za odmor (holiday houses)
    • Objekti za robinzonski smještaj (Robinson accommodation objects)
  • Zemljište (land)
    • Objekti za robinzonski smještaj (Robinson accommodation objects)
    • Kampovi (camps)
    • Kamp-odmorišta (camping rest area)
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What is a Robinson accommodation object?

Robinson accommodation objects are accommodations located within nature and include unusual accommodation spaces and conditions. These objects are usually not connected to the water, gas, electricity, telephone, and other infrastructure (but they can be).

Who can rent out accommodation in Croatia?

Not everyone is allowed to rent an apartment or house as an individual in Croatia. Your legal ability to offer accommodation depends on your nationality:

  • Citizens of Croatia, EU/EEA member states, and the Swiss Confederation who are Croatian residents can rent as individuals
  • Citizens of third countries must open a company to rent accommodation because a company is treated as a “Croatian national” in the eyes of the law

If you are a citizen of Croatia, EU/EEA country, or Switzerland

As stated above, EU/EEA member states and Switzerland citizens do not need a company to rent accommodation. They can rent out any accommodation owned by:

  • Themselves
  • Their spouses
  • Their extramarital partners
  • Their life partners
  • Their relatives in the direct line
  • Their family members

This is stated in the Zakon o ugostiteljskoj djelatnosti (Law on catering):

Iznimno od stavka 2. točke 1. ovoga članka, iznajmljivač može pružati usluge i u objektu (objekt za robinzonski smještaj, soba, apartman ili kuća za odmor) ili i na zemljištu (objekt za robinzonski smještaj, kamp, kamp-odmorište) koji su u vlasništvu njegova bračnog ili izvanbračnog druga, životnog partnera sukladno posebnom propisu koji regulira životno partnerstvo osoba istog spola (u daljnjem tekstu: životni partner), srodnika u ravnoj liniji ili člana obitelji, uz njihovu pisanu suglasnost za pružanje ugostiteljskih usluga u domaćinstvu.

Which translates to…

As an exception to paragraph 2, item 1 of this Article, the lessor may provide services both in the facility (Robinson accommodation facility, room, apartment or holiday home) or on the land (Robinson accommodation facility, camp, rest area) which are owned by his spouse or common-law partner, life partner in accordance with a special regulation governing the life partnership of persons of the same sex (hereinafter: life partner), a relative in the direct line or a family member, with their written consent to provide catering services in the household.

When renting accommodation on someone else’s land, you must get a written confirmation on providing catering services in the household from the land owner. You may not legally rent accommodation on leased land.

If you are a citizen of a non-EU/EEA country

If you are a non-EU/EEA citizen intending to rent accommodation, you must open a company. The company must be one of the following structures:

  • Obrt (trade company) – view a guide here
  • Trgovačko društvo
    • d.d. (joint-stock company)
    • j.d.o.o. (simple limited liability company) – view a guide here
    • d.o.o. (limited liability company) – view a guide here

If you open an obrt or trgovačko društvo, the business entity must own the property and be listed as the owner with the land registry.

[Read: How to correct or change property records with the land registry in Croatia (pojedinačni ispravni postupak)]

How to legally rent accommodation in Croatia?

If you wish to rent out an apartment to tourists in Croatia, it’s never as simple as just listing it on Airbnb. There is a process everyone, regardless of nationality, must go through to legalize the accommodation so that it follows the law and regulations.

As part of legalization, you (or your company) must apply for a receive a decision that allows you the privilege of renting accommodation. Once this approval is received, you may offer 2 services:

  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast

According to the Law on catering, renting without approval is considered an unregistered provision and may subject you to a fine of up to approximately 4.000 euros.

Renting accommodation in Croatia as an individual

To rent accommodation in Croatia as an individual, you must receive a document called Rješenje za odobrenje pružanja ugostiteljskih usluga u domaćinstvu (Decision on the approval of the provision of hospitality and catering services).

To get a Rješenje, the rental must fulfil certain conditions for renting and be assigned a renting category. We’ll now go through the process of applying for a Rješenje as an individual, step by step.

Step #1 Prepare the application

When applying for the Rješenje, you must enclose certain documents. First, we’ll list the requirements and then review the less obvious ones in more detail.

The requirements include:

  • Application form – download a copy here
  • Copy of identity card or a passport
  • Proof of ownership of the accommodation, including:
    • Proof of ownership from the land registry called gruntovni izvadak
    • Written consent of the co-owner of the facility if there is more than one owner
    • Written consent of the owner of the facility if the application is submitted by a spouse or common-law partner, life partner, a relative in a straight line, or a family member
  • Dokaz o “uporabljivosti” građevine (proof of the usability of the building) in which the services will be provided in accordance with the Zakon o gradnji (Building Act)
  • Uporabna dozvola (use permit)
  • Izvješće o ispravnosti električnih instalacija (proof that electrical installations were done correctly) from a company that performs electrical installations
  • Izvješće o nepropusnosti plinskih instalacija te plinskog trošila (proof that gas installations and gas consumers are correct) from your gas utility company
  • Izvješće o higijenskoj ispravnosti vode za piće (proof of the hygienic quality of the drinking water) if needed
  • Proof of payment of the administrative fee

An administrative fee (approximately 9,29 euros) must be paid to the ured državne uprave nearest to the accommodation directly to their account. Payment instructions are available here.

Proof of the usability of the building

As proof of the usability of the building, you need to provide one of the documents below divided into 3 groups. Each can be procured from a different government office.

1. Akt za uporabu građevine (act for the use of the building)

  • Uporabna dozvola (use permit)
  • Confirmation from the administrative body about the final report of the supervising engineer
  • Uvjerenje za uporabu (certificate of use)
  • Building permit called građevinska dozvola or other acts issued by June 19, 1991 that confirm that the construction inspection procedure is not in progress (confirmation from the construction inspection)
  • Dozvola za upotrebu (permission for use)

2. Akt za ozakonjenje (act of legalization)

  • Rješenje o izvedenom stanju (decision on the performed condition)
  • Potvrda izvedenog stanja (confirmation on the performed condition)

3. Acts that equalize illegally constructed building with a legally constructed building:

  • Certificate from the cadastral office or Središnji ured Državne geodetske uprave that the building was registered by February 15, 1968
  • Certificate from the upravno tijelo (administrative body) that the building was built by February 15, 1968

These documents are defined in Article 175 of the Zakon o gradnji (Law on construction).

Uporabna dozvola (use permit)

The use permit can be obtained via:

  • Nadležno upravno tijelo za graditeljstvo i prostorno planiranje (Administration for construction and physical planning) – a list of their offices is available here
  • e-Građani service called eDozvola – available here

[Read: e-Građani (e-Citizens) – Online portal for Croatian government services]

In addition to the standard use permit, other types of use permits can be issued. The type of use permit can depend on the age or specific characteristics of the building. Use permit types are listed here.

Step #2 Submit the application

The request for Rješenje must be submitted to ured državne uprave (state administration office) closest to the accommodation.

The application and supporting documentation can be delivered in person, by email (SUBJECT: e-zahtjev – iznajmljivači), or by postal office.

[Read: Hrvatska Pošta – Croatian Postal Office]

Step #3 Wait for the solution

Rješenje is issued within a period of 60 days after the receipt of the completed application. Once you get it, you can rent out your accommodation.

Step #4 Notify the tax office

After you receive your Rješenje giving you permission to rent out accommodation to tourists, you must contact Porezna uprava (Tax Administration). They will decide on the amount of the annual tax you must pay, which varies. Jump to this section to read more about taxes.

Renting accommodation in Croatia as a company

If you want or need to open a business (obrt or trgovačko društvo) to rent accommodation, the process for requesting Rješenje is similar to applying as an individual (shown above).

Instead of the Rješenje from the previous section, your company will instead apply for the Rješenje za razvrstavanje i kategorizaciju smještajnog objekta (Solution for classification and categorization of the accommodation facility).

Step #1 Prepare application

You’ll need to provide many documents as part of your application for a Rješenje. Collect all of them first before visiting the ured državne uprave.

The requirements include:

  • Rješenje Trgovačkog suda o upisu u sudski registar (proof on entry to the court register) for trgovačka društva or Rješenje o upisu u Obrtni registar (Proof on entry to the trade business register) for obrt
  • Dokaz o pravu korištenja poslovnog prostora (proof of the right to use the business space)
  • Dokaz o “uporabljivosti” građevine (Proof of the usability of the building in which the services will be provided in accordance with the Zakon o gradnji (Building Act)
  • Approval of using the buildings if they are protected cultural goods
  • Graphic illustration of the accommodation facility
  • Izvješće o ispravnosti električnih instalacija (Proof that electrical installations are correct) from any company for electrical installations
  • Izvješće o nepropusnosti plinskih instalacija te plinskog trošila (Proof that gas installations and gas consumers are correct) from your gas provider
  • Izvješće o higijenskoj ispravnosti vode za piće (Proof of the hygienic quality of the drinking water) if needed
  • Proof of payment of the administrative fee

Each document is issued by the relevant state institutions and ministries.

An administrative fee depends on the type of facility, and you can view them here. A fee can be paid to the account of ured državne uprave. Payment instructions are here.

Step #2 Submit the application

The request for Rješenje must be submitted to ured državne uprave (state administration office) closest to the accommodation.

The application and supporting documentation can be delivered by email (SUBJECT: e-zahtjev – iznajmljivači), postal office, or in person.

Step #3 Wait for the solution

Rješenje is issued within a period of 60 days after the receipt of the completed application. Once you have the rješenje, your company can rent out accommodation.

Renting accommodation in Croatia as an OPG

If you want to rent an accommodation within your OPG (Obiteljsko poljoprivredno gospodarstvo), you need to get Odobrenje za pružanje ugostiteljskih usluga na obiteljskom poljoprivrednom gospodarstvu (A solution on provision of catering services on a family farm). This is the document you’ll need to legally rent accommodation as an OPG.

Step #1 Prepare application

There are a number of documents you’ll need to provide as part of your application for an odobrenje. Collect all of them first before visiting the ured državne uprave.

The requirements include:

  • Copy of identity card of an owner or a member of OPG
  • Proof of the right to use the facility
    • Purchase contract
    • Proof of ownership from the land register
    • Lease agreement, etc.
  • Copy of the rješenje o upisu u Upisnik poljoprivrednika (solution on the entry to the register of farmers)
  • Dokaz o “uporabljivosti” građevine (proof of the usability of the building in which the services will be provided in accordance with the Zakon o gradnji (Building Act)
  • Izvješće o ispravnosti električnih instalacija (proof that electrical installations are correct) from any company for electrical installations
  • Izvješće o ispitivanju učinkovitosti ventilacije (proof on the ventilation efficiency)
  • Izvješće o nepropusnosti plinskih instalacija te plinskog trošila (proof that gas installations and gas consumers are correct) from your gas provider
  • Izvješće o onečišćenju zraka od štetnih emisija za ugostiteljske objekte (report on air pollution from harmful emissions) for objects where food and drinks are served
  • Izvješće o higijenskoj ispravnosti vode za piće (proof of the hygienic quality of the drinking water) if a facility is opening for the first time or has not operated for more than 6 months
  • Dokaz o nepropusnosti vodovodne i kanalizacijske instalacije (Proof of impermeability of water supply and sewerage installation) if a facility is opening for the first time
  • Dokaz o nepropusnosti sabirne jame (proof of the impermeability of the collection pit) for facilities located in areas that are not connected to the public sewage network
  • Proof of payment of the administrative fee

To get the Odobrenje, you must pay an administrative fee of approximately 9,29 euros ured državne uprave nearest to the accommodation.

The administrative fee can be paid to the prescribed account of ured državne uprave. Payment instructions are available here.

Step #2 Submit the application

The request for Odobrenje must be submitted to ured državne uprave (state administration office) closest to the accommodation.

The application and supporting documentation for your OPG can be delivered by email (SUBJECT: e-zahtjev – iznajmljivači), postal office, or in person.

Step #3 Wait for the solution

Odobrenje is issued within a period of 60 days after the receipt of the completed application. Once you get it, your OPG can legally rent out accommodation.

How to get stars for your accommodation in Croatia?

You may have noticed a little square blue sign outside apartments that say “Sobe” or “Apartman” with a certain number of stars. These signs are provided by the Ministarstvo turizma (Ministry of Tourism) offices in each individual county.

Categorization of the property

The category and number of stars are based on evaluating the property. All possible categories and stars that can be assigned to certain tourist facilities are available here.

The rental is first assigned to a specific class and then into a category. The number of assigned stars represents the category.

Categorization is done according to several policies depending on the type/class of the tourist facility. Here is the list of policies:

  • Pravilnik o razvrstavanju i minimalnim uvjetima ugostiteljskih objekata iz skupina “Restorani”, “Barovi”, “Catering objekti” i “Objekti jednostavnih usluga” (Policy for Restaurants, Bars, Catering facilities, and Simple service facilities)
  • Pravilnik o razvrstavanju, kategorizaciji i posebnim standardima ugostiteljskih objekata iz skupine Hoteli (Policy for Hotels)
  • Pravilnik o razvrstavanju i kategorizaciji ugostiteljskih objekata iz skupine Kampovi (Policy for Camps)
  • Pravilnik o razvrstavanju i kategorizaciji ugostiteljskih objekata iz skupine Ostali ugostiteljski objekti za smještaj (Policy for other renting facilities)
    • Rulebooks for getting stars for different types of objects can be found here. It includes rules for the categorization of rooms and studio apartments, apartments and holiday houses, student homes, hostels, hunting homes, mountain huts, Robinson objects, and other catering facilities for accommodation.
  • Pravilnik o razvrstavanju i kategorizaciji objekata u kojima se pružaju ugostiteljske usluge u domaćinstvu (Policy for catering services in households)
    • Rulebooks for getting stars for different types of objects can be found here. It includes rules for the categorization of rooms and studio apartments, apartments and holiday houses, camps, and camp resting areas.
  • Pravilnik o razvrstavanju i kategorizaciji objekata u kojima se pružaju ugostiteljske usluge na obiteljskom poljoprivrednom gospodarstvu (Policy for catering services at OPG)
    • Rulebooks for getting stars for different types of objects can be found here. It includes rules for the categorization of rooms, apartments, and rural holiday houses, camps, and camp resting areas.

Stars are not mandatory if you are going to rent an apartment to one renter long-term. For tourist renting, the assignment of stars is mandatory.

[Read: How to rent out a house or apartment in Croatia to long-term tenants]

Submitting an application for stars

To get your stars, submit a request to the nadležni županijski ured za gospodarstvo (office for the economy) according to the address of the property you will rent. The name of these offices varies according to the county, but all of them start with “upravni odjel za gospodarstvo”.

The request must include these documents:

  • Zahtjev za kategorizaciju (request for categorization) from the office where you apply
  • Rješenje za odobrenje pružanja ugostiteljskih usluga u domaćinstvu OR Rješenje za razvrstavanje i kategorizaciju smještajnog objekta OR Odobrenje za pružanje ugostiteljskih usluga na obiteljskom poljoprivrednom gospodarstvu
  • Proof on the ownership of the renting facility
    • Izvadak iz zemljišne knjige (Land certificate)
    • Written consent of the co-owner of the facility
    • Written consent of the owner of the facility if the request for categorization is submitted by a family member who isn’t the owner
  • Dokaz o “uporabljivosti” građevine
  • Copy of your ID card (and passport if you are not a citizen)
  • Proof of paying administration cost
  • Optional: proof of registration of the businesses
    • Rješenje Trgovačkog suda o upisu u sudski registar (proof on entry to the court register) for trgovačko društvo
    • Rješenje o upisu u Obrtni registar (proof on entry to the trade business register) for obrt

The exact number of stars is defined according to the type of facility according to rulebooks and other conditions that must be fulfilled for every star.

For example, for tourist apartments, there is a rulebook that considers certain conditions that must be fulfilled to get a specific category/number of stars. They include information on elements such as the reception, elevators, stairs, halls, accommodation units, studio apartments, apartments, bathrooms, food, etc.

To get a certain number of stars, a facility must fulfill the required rules that include these elements so that the number of stars can be assigned.

What are the renting taxes in Croatia?

Residence fee

A residence fee called boravišna pristojba renters must pay for every individual overnight stay in the accommodation. The amount of the fee is defined locally. The same rules are applied to Croatian and foreign citizens. Children up to 12 years of age and people with a disability of 70% and higher and their companion are exempt from this fee.

Renting as an individual

Individuals who rent out an accommodation must pay paušalni porez na dohodak (paušalni income tax). Paušalni income tax is paid quarterly or in proportion to the number of quarters for which it must be paid.

Here is a formula for the calculation of this tax:

Godišnji paušalni porez na dohodak od iznajmljivanja turistima = broj kreveta/smještajnih jedinica x paušalni porez

Which translates to…

Annual tax for renting to tourists = number of beds/number of accommodation units x paušalni tax

Since this is complicated, we will simplify it as best we can. The amount of tax you must pay is defined according to the categorization and the city/local municipality where you will rent.

After the categorization process, you will deliver all this information to the Porezna uprava (the number of stars, rooms, beds, and other relevant data). Based on this information, Porezna uprava will make a calculation on the amount of the annual tax you must pay for your renting services.

Each municipality has its own rules, and they are the ones who decide on the amount of tax.

Individual accommodation renters do not belong to the fiscalization process, and their renting services are exempt from paying PDV unless their earnings cross 40.000,00 euro per year. If this happens, you must start paying PDV from the following month. This rule is valid for Croatian citizens only, while EU/EEA and Switzerland citizens have to pay 13% PDV for renting accommodation as individuals from the start.

[Read: PDV (Value Added Tax) in Croatia]

Renting as a company

When renting accommodation as a company, you will pay taxes already obliged to pay annually according to your business structure and revenue.

Get help finding a home in Croatia

Are you planning a move to the Split, Zadar, Rijeka, Dubrovnik, or Zagreb area? If so, we can help you find a place to call home. In fact, we can help you find a home ANYWHERE in Croatia.

As we shared in this post, finding a place to live in Croatia can be challenging. It is much easier when you have a local who knows the good spots (and bad), can share the realities of what you can (and cannot) find, and advocate and negotiate on your behalf with the landlord.

We can help by:

  • Combing all listings to find properties that best match your criteria
  • Personally accompanying you to view the properties
  • Pointing out red flags about a property
  • Sharing local knowledge about the neighborhoods and renting in Croatia
  • Negotiating with the landlord to make sure you get the best price
  • Reviewing the contract according to the requirements of the police and making sure it protects your interests by Croatian law
  • Finding a cleaner once you’re all moved in
  • Explaining utility payment and what to expect from your landlord
  • Guiding you in setting up the internet
  • Coordinating with the real estate agent, if required, for a property
  • Translating at every step

If you’re ready to get started in your property search, please complete the form below. To get started, we will schedule a free 15-minute call so you can meet us and we can get to know what your needs are.

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View our other renting posts


Sources:
Zakon o ugostiteljskoj djelatnosti
Zakon o gradnji
Fizičke osobe (domaćinstvo)
Obrtnici i trgovačka društva
Razvrstavanje i kategorizacija ugostiteljskih i turističkih objekata, objekata u domaćinstvu i objekata na OPG-u by e-Građani
Tax guide by Tax Administration

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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