How to legally rent out accommodation to tourists

Rent out accommodation to tourists in Croatia
Image by Kavanjin Croatia Apartments

Renting out an apartment or villa to tourists is pretty common in Croatia these days. Seems like every person or family you meet rents out at least one property on Airbnb or Booking.com. It can be a great way to earn a decent amount of money in a few short months.

How exactly do 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 an accommodation in Croatia, it is necessary to know the rules of the game.

In this post, we cover:

What is considered an accommodation in Croatia?

When we talk about “accommodation”, we are referring to a unit or object that is rented out commercially to individuals. In Croatia, there are several different types of objects that 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)

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 an accommodation in Croatia?

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

  1. Citizens of Croatia, EEA member states and the Swiss Confederation who are also residents of Croatia can rent out accommodation as individuals, without a business.
  2. Citizens of third-country nations do not have the same privilege. Non-EU citizens must open a company to rent accommodation. This is because the company is treated as a “Croatian national” in the eyes of the law.

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

As stated above, citizens of EEA member states and Switzerland do not need a company to rent accommodation. This means they can rent out any accommodation that is owned by:

  • Themselves – i.e. they are owners of the land or an object
  • Their spouses
  • Their extramarital partners
  • Their life partners
  • Their relative in the direct line
  • Their family member

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 an accommodation on someone else’s land, it is necessary to get a written confirmation on providing catering services in the household from the owner of the land. You may not legally rent accommodation on leased land.

If you are a citizen of non-EU country

If you are a non-EU citizen that intends to rent accommodation, you must open a company to do so. The company must be one of the following structures:

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

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.

How to legalize the accommodation?

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” or “solution” that allows you the privilege of renting accommodation

Once this approval is received, you may offer 2 services:

  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast

Renting without approval is considered an unregistered provision and may subject you to sanctions, ranging from 2.000 to 30.000 kuna in fines. The fines are regulated by the Zakon o ugostiteljskoj djelatnosti (Law on catering) in the section VIII. PREKRŠAJNE ODREDBE (Misdemeanor provisions).

Renting as an individual

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

To a Rješenje, the rental must fulfill 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 application

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

The requirements include:

  • Request Form – Download a copy here
  • Proof of citizenship for nationals of EEA and the Swiss Confederation (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, which you can get from any company that performs electrical installations)
  • Izvješće o nepropusnosti plinskih instalacija te plinskog trošila (Proof that gas installations and gas consumer are correct, which you can get from your gas utility company)
  • Proof of e-payment of the administrative fee
  • Optional: Izvješće o higijenskoj ispravnosti vode za piće (Proof of the hygienic quality of the drinking water)

Dokaz o “uporabljivosti” građevine (Proof of the usability of the building)

As proof of the usability of the building, you will need to provide one of the documents below. Just one of them will cover this requirement.

These documents are divided into 3 groups. Each document is procured from a different government office.

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

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

2. Akt za ozakonjenje (Act of legalization):

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

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

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

This is confirmed by the Zakon o gradnji (Law on construction):

Članak 175.
(1) Akt za uporabu građevine u smislu članka 174. stavaka 1. i 2. ovoga Zakona je svaki akt za uporabu građevine, akt kojim je građevina ozakonjena te akt, odnosno dokumenti kojima se nezakonito izgrađena građevina izjednačava sa zakonito izgrađenom građevinom, izdan, odnosno pribavljen na temelju zakona koji je važio prije stupanja na snagu ovoga Zakona.
(2) Akti za uporabu građevine su uporabna dozvola, potvrda upravnog tijela da mu je dostavljeno završno izvješće nadzornog inženjera, uvjerenje za uporabu, pravomoćna građevinska dozvola, odnosno drugi odgovarajući akt izdan do 19. lipnja 1991. s potvrdom građevinske inspekcije da nije u tijeku postupak građevinske inspekcije i dozvola za upotrebu.
(3) Akti za ozakonjenje su rješenje o izvedenom stanju i potvrda izvedenog stanja.
(4) Akti kojima se nezakonito izgrađena građevina izjednačava sa zakonito izgrađenom građevinom su uvjerenje katastarskog ureda, odnosno Središnjeg ureda Državne geodetske uprave da je zgrada evidentirana do 15. veljače 1968. i uvjerenje upravnog tijela da je zgrada izgrađena do 15. veljače 1968.

which translates to…

Article 175
(1) An act for the use of a building in the sense of Article 174, paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Act is any act for the use of a building, an act by which a building is legalized and an act or documents equating an illegally constructed building with a legally constructed building, issued, that is, obtained on the basis of the law in force before the entry into force of this Law.
(2) Acts for the use of a building are a use permit, a certificate from the administrative body that the final report of the supervising engineer, a certificate for use, a valid building permit, or another appropriate act issued before 19 June 1991 with a certificate from the construction inspection that is not in progress construction inspection procedure and use permit.
(3) Legalization acts are a decision on the derived condition and a confirmation of the derived condition.
(4) Acts by which an illegally constructed building is equated with a legally constructed building are a certificate of the cadastral office, i.e. the Central Office of the State Geodetic Administration that the building was registered by 15 February 1968 and a certificate of the administrative body that the building was constructed by 15 February 1968.

Uporabna Dozvola (Use permit)

The use permit can be obtained in 2 ways:

  • Via eDozvola
  • At the Nadležno upravno tijelo za graditeljstvo i prostorno planiranje (Administration for construction and physical planning) – List of offices here

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 certain characteristics of the building. The types of use permits available are listed here.

E-Payment of the administrative fee

To get the Rješenje, you must pay an administrative fee of 70 kuna to the ured državne uprave nearest to the accommodation.

The administrative fee can be paid in 2 ways:

  • Using tax stamps
  • Directly to the prescribed account of Ured državne uprave – Payment instructions for all administrative offices in the country can be found 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 list of all state administration offices in Croatia according to Croatian counties can be found here.

The application and supporting documentation can be delivered:

  • Via email (SUBJECT: e-zahtjev – iznajmljivači)
  • Via postal office – Here are the office mailing addresses.
  • In person – Here is a list of all of the offices.

Step #3 Wait

Rješenje is issued within a period of 60 days after the receipt of the completed application. Once you have the rješenje, 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 (the tax office).

Porezna uprava will then decide on the amount of the annual tax you must pay, which varies. Jump to this section to read more about taxes.

Renting as a company

If you want or need to open a business (obrt or trgovačko društvo) for the purposes of renting an accommodation, the process for requesting Rješenje is similar 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

There are a number of documents you’ll need to provide 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) – for business space renting or “stambena namjena” (residential purpose) for tourist renting
  • 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)
  • Optional: Approval on using the buildings that 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 consumer are correct) – from your gas provider
  • Optional: Izvješće o higijenskoj ispravnosti vode za piće (Proof of the hygienic quality of the drinking water)
  • Proof of e-payment of the administrative fee

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

E-Payment of the administrative fee

To get the Rješenje, you must pay an administrative fee of 70 kuna to the ured državne uprave nearest to the accommodation.

The administrative fee can be paid in 2 ways:

  • Using tax stamps
  • Directly to the prescribed account of Ured državne uprave – Payment instructions for all administrative offices in the country can be found 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 list of all state administration offices in Croatia according to Croatian counties can be found here.

The application and supporting documentation can be delivered:

  • Via email (SUBJECT: e-zahtjev – iznajmljivači)
  • Via postal office – Here are the office mailing addresses.
  • In person – Here is a list of all of the offices.

Step #3 Wait

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 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 a Odobrenje. Collect all of them first before visiting the Ured državne uprave.

The requirements include:

  • Copy of identity card of 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 or similar)
  • 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 consumer are correct) – from your gas provider
  • Optional: 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
  • Optional: Izvješće o higijenskoj ispravnosti vode za piće (Proof of the hygienic quality of the drinking water)
  • Optional: Dokaz o nepropusnosti vodovodne i kanalizacijske instalacije (Proof of impermeability of water supply and sewerage installation) – for restaurants
  • Proof of e-payment of the administrative fee

E-Payment of the administrative fee

To get the Odobrenje, you must pay an administrative fee of 70 kuna to the ured državne uprave nearest to the accommodation.

The administrative fee can be paid in 2 ways:

  • Using tax stamps
  • Directly to the prescribed account of Ured državne uprave – Payment instructions for all administrative offices in the country can be found 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 list of all state administration offices in Croatia according to Croatian counties can be found here.

The application and supporting documentation for your OPG can be delivered:

  • Via email (SUBJECT: e-zahtjev – iznajmljivači)
  • Via postal office – Here are the office mailing addresses.
  • In person – Here is a list of all of the offices.

Step #3 Wait

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

Getting stars assigned to your accommodation

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 an evaluation of 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 certain 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 all available 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 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 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 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, assignment of stars is mandatory.

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’re going to rent. The name of these offices varies according to the county but all of them start with “Upravni odjel za gospodarstvo”. Unfortunately there is no master list of all of the offices.

The request must include these documents:

  • Zahtjev za kategorizaciju (Request for categorization) – This can be picked up at 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
  • A proof on the ownership of the renting facility
    • Izvadak iz zemljišne knjige (Land certificate)
    • A written consent of the co-owner of the facility
    • A 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)
  • Tax stamps in the amount of 70 kuna
  • 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 the facility according to rulebooks and other conditions that must be fulfilled for every star.

For example, for tourist apartments, there is a rulebook that takes into consideration certain conditions that must be fulfilled to get a certain 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 required rules that include these elements so that the number of stars can be assigned.

Taxes

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

This amount is then increased by the prirez porezu na dohodak (surtax on income tax).

Since this sounds a bit 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 are going to rent.

After the categorization process, you will deliver all of 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.

The lowest possible amount is 300 kuna. 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.

Renting as a company

When renting an accommodation as a company, you will pay taxes already obliged to pay on an annual basis according to your business structure and amount of revenue.

What next?

If you are interested in renting out accommodation, here are a few other posts you might find interesting:

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