tourist apartments

Barcelona cracks down on illegal subletting for tourists and closes 256 apartments

August 11, 2016 06:35 PM | ACN

The Catalan capital’s action plan against illegal accommodation for tourists resulted in July in the closure of 256 apartments whose activity has been considered illegal, a figure which has to be added to the 112 orders announced in the first half of 2016. Besides ordering the ceasing of their activity, the accommodation websites responsible for the flats, Airbnb and Homeaway, will have to face a 30,000 euros fine for not having the required licence. This has been possible mainly due to the task of the so-called ‘flat scouts’, a figure recently created by Barcelona’s city hall, who have found 234 illegal accommodations, while the official inspectors in charge of this only detected 22. “This is not a summer campaign but an action plan which has come to stay” warned Barcelona’s deputy mayor for Ecology, Urbanism and Mobility, Janet Sanz and emphasised that tourism in Barcelona “is not related to seasons”. 

Barcelona City Council to forgive fines on illegal tourist apartments if owners put them up for social rent

August 5, 2015 08:52 PM | ACN

The City Council of the Catalan capital has announced it will remit 80% of the fine on tourist apartments with no licence located in Barcelona's Ciutat Vella district if the owners put the property up for social housing rent for a minimum of 3 years. Once this period is over, the owner will be able to extend the social rent or pay the remaining 20% of the fine. The City Council explained that the initiative is "a pilot test" in order "to start changing the city's tourist model", as tourists are too concentrated in some areas. This has created some friction with locals, mostly due to some visitors' wild street parties and to the rise in rent prices, as many properties have been transformed into tourist rentals, quite often without a licence. In this vein, the City Council will ask digital platforms such as Airbnb for the identification data of all their rentals in Barcelona. These platforms will be fined for each illegal flat on offer or if they refuse to issue the requested list.

Newer forms of tourist accommodations to be regulated under Catalan Government decree

July 15, 2015 09:29 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government has presented a decree, pending approval "in the coming months," that will regulate up to eight types of tourist accommodations, including new types that until now were not contemplated by the law, like motorhome areas, casual Bed & Breakfasts and informal rentals. The decree is an effort to quell the rapid expansion of tourist accommodations in newer platforms – like the Internet service Airbnb – and bring already-existing establishments under control.  The Catalan Minister for Business and Employment, Felip Puig, said all establishments must be registered. For Bed&Breakfasts and Airbnb rentals (or similar platforms) its users must pay a tourist tax of 0.65€ in Barcelona and 0.45€ in the rest of Catalonia. In addition, the City Councils will determine which areas can be used for placement of accommodations.