Barcelona may tighten rules on short-term rentals…again

A tourist hub, Spain’s second largest city has already heavily regulated industry over the years

National Weekend Edition /
Feb.February 13, 2021 12:00 PM
Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau (Getty, iStock)

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau (Getty, iStock)

The mayor of Barcelona is proposing new restrictions on short-term rentals.

Mayor Ada Colau wants to bar the rental of a room in an apartment for anything less than 30 days, according to Bloomberg. The measure will go to public review and then a vote by the city council. With nearly 1.5 million people, Barcelona is Spain’s second largest city.

Colau’s proposed rule would make permanent a similar measure that has been in place since August.

The law is meant to “guarantee the social function of housing and avoid a saturation of tourist rooms,” that would hurt housing and local trade, according to a statement from her office.

The city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and there are plenty of residents that say the short-term rental industry is out of control. Lawmakers in other European tourist hubs, like Paris, have also regulated short-term rentals.

Barcelona has heavily regulated the short-term rental industry over the years. It started in 2011 with a licensing requirement for short-term rentals of entire apartments. In 2018, the city rolled out a host identification system to verify if units on short-term rental platforms like Airbnb were legal.

Those measures appear to be having some impact. The number of tourist beds in central Barcelona has dropped by 940 since 2017, although overall the number of beds is increasing because of growth in the city’s outer boroughs.

The city has passed some tenant-friendly laws in recent years. As of 2019, landlords must negotiate leases based on benchmark prices set for each of the city’s neighborhoods. [Bloomberg] — Dennis Lynch


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