Catalan minister urges Socialists to back law cracking down on tourist flats

New bill sets maximum limit of one tourist apartment per 100 inhabitants

Catalonia's territory minister Ester Capella
Catalonia's territory minister Ester Capella / Lluís Sibils
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

December 19, 2023 09:49 AM

December 19, 2023 01:01 PM

Catalonia's territory minister, Ester Capella, has called on the Catalan Socialists (PSC) to vote in favor of the government's new law regulating tourist accommodation.

The law, which will be voted on in parliament on Wednesday, limits the number of tourist apartments to one per 100 inhabitants. It has generated strong opposition from the tourist accommodation sector. 

"How will Salvador Illa [Socialist leader in Catalonia] explain to the mayor of Barcelona [Socialist Jaume Collboni] that he does not support a bill regulating tourist accommodation after a court suddenly approved over 900 new tourist apartments in the city," she said in an interview with the Catalan News Agency (ACN).

The minister explained that the situation of tourist apartments is an "anomaly" and that their lack of regulation "distorts" property rights by removing apartments from the housing market.    

"The right to property is not unlimited; it has a social function," she said.

Capella defended the need for unified regulation in Catalonia after a recent Barcelona court ruling forced the approval of hundreds of new tourist homes.

She said that the current over 100,000 tourist homes in Catalonia have a negative impact on permanent housing, especially in certain areas, causing "displacement" and disrupting "social cohesion".  

Capella said tourist flats are used "sporadically" for tourist purposes, despite being located in residential - not hotel - zones, and that in some cases they create "tensions" in communities. 

"It is obvious that they have been used for tourism rather than housing," she said. "I don't hold them solely responsible, but they are an additional circumstance," Capella said, pointing to them as a factor contributing to the housing shortage.