Barcelona court rules 50% rent cut for renter of 26 tourist apartments due to Covid restrictions

Company reported 83% fall in profits, but landowner rejected repeated calls to reduce monthly payments

Tourist on a cycle rickshaw in Barcleona (by Carola López)
Tourist on a cycle rickshaw in Barcleona (by Carola López) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

January 13, 2021 08:14 PM

A local court has ruled that a company renting 26 tourist apartments in Barcelona should be compensated with a 50% rent reduction after the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent mobility restrictions shattered its profits.

The company, Venpre SL, reported an 82.7% fall in earnings from the leased flats, mirroring the dramatic collapse of the tourism industry in Catalonia and across Spain since the first statewide lockdown came into force on March 15, 2020.

Attracting over 12 million visitors every year, the number of foreign tourists arriving in Barcelona fell by more than 80% since March, costing the Catalan economy around 25 billion euros, a GDP reduction between 1.5 and 2.9%, and the loss of approximately 90,000 jobs.

The renter repeatedly asked the landowner for substantial discounts on the 40,877 euros owed every month to lease the apartments, the contract of which states they can only be used for tourism-related activities.

The landowner declined all requests, suggesting a moratorium instead. Venpre SL took the apartment holder to court on July 1, and this week the judge ruled in favor of the requested 50% rent reduction.

'Unpredictable change in circumstances'

The ruling acknowledged that there had been "an unpredictable change in circumstances" from when the rental agreement was reached that should affect the fees paid by the renter.

The discount will have retroactive effects, applying to the period from April 1, 2020, to Marcy 31, 2021.