Action plan against illegal tourist rentals in the Barcelona Eixample

Barcelona’s municipal authorities are working on a plan to deal with the growing problem of tourist rentals in the Eixample district of the city.

barcelona-eixampleTourist rental flats in the Eixample have exploded in recent years causing friction with local residents, explains a recent article in La Vanguardia, a local daily. Private apartments rented to tourists have gone from around 1,000 to 2,700 in the last three years, in an area where 270,000 people live in 135,000 homes.

Most of them are legal rentals, with their paperwork in order, but a significant number of properties in the Barcelona Eixample are thought to be illegally let to tourists, often with unwelcome consequences for the neighbours.

“The majority meet the requirements to have a licence and behave professionally, in a correct way; but we have detected cases in which the complaints of neighbours made it necessary for us to act,” said Eixample local councillor Gerard Ardanuy, in comments to La Vanguardia.

Every weekend the police and local authority receive three to four complaints about tourist rental flats in the Eixample from local residents. The action plan includes a better response to complaints. “We are on the side of the neighbours,” says Ardanuy.

The town council is setting up a team of five people with special training, including to agents from the Guardia Urbana city police, to respond to complaints relating to tourist rental flats.

Fines of €9,001 to €90,000 could be imposed on illegal rentals, and there will be new powers to close them down. To date there are 49 cases open.

The plan includes advice to communities of owners on how to proceed to avoid a tourist rentals in their buildings. “We have to give them the information they need at any time to defend their interests,” says Ardanuy.



6 thoughts on “Action plan against illegal tourist rentals in the Barcelona Eixample”

  1. Juan

    Yet another example of the hotel owners trying to monopolize tourism. It really is time the council understood that the type of tourists who rent an apartment are usually educated, considerate, well off and not interested in staying in a souless concrete block. They spend money in restaurants, bars, clubs, on transport and very often hire a car which brings tourism to other places away from the all-powerful Barcelona Tourist Trap. For an example of how encouraging all-inclusive hotels and limiting private rentals has affected trade, take a close look at Mallorca. No private owners object to being licensed but there it is simply not possible to obtain a tourist rental licence. The all-inclusive hotels give nothing back to the local economy whilst the tourist council (aka hotel mafia) use dubious underhand methods to pursue private owners. This has resulted in half the bars and restaurants in tourist areas closing down over the last few years. The net result of this is that they are killing the goose that laid the golden egg and everyone ends up in Prague, Marrakech or Bodrum. Perhaps here in Barcelona they think it won´t happen but it is time to wake up before it´s too late.

  2. Roy Martinez

    Intersting article but what exactly is “illegal tourist rentals”; renting out a property to anybody is surely not illegal in Spain or Barcelona. Rresume the key word is tourist which implies a short term holiday maker and most likely not Spanish.

    Can someone perhaps explain or should the article be saying ” illegal rentals” ?

    1. George

      I assume they mean that for touristic short-term rentals you need to have a Tourist license and appropriate permits, both for yourself and the apartment.
      Long term rentals are different, and don’t need any specific permits.

  3. david

    You need a licence to rent your apartment to tourists on short term stays, less than one month. The licence registers you with the Ayuntamiento and you have certain obligations, report the details of the tourists, have a 24 hour emergency no. and pay some taxes. If you don’t have a licence you are illegal.

  4. Roy Martinez

    Glad to see some replies to my post; not familiar with Barcelona but does it operate a different license procedure/requirement for regular long term rentals versus short term ( tourist) rentals. Cannot understand why there should need to be any diffrence other than to create more public servants to administer 2 different licesing systems -something Spain does not need right now view their economic plight.
    Cannot generalise on the type of tourists who rent for holidy purposes but can only agree that they contribute a great deal to the Spanish ( whoops Barcelona) economy as Juan has described in terms of supporting restaurants, shops, bars, car rental, golf, etc etc. If this tourist license is impacting same negatively it needs to be reviewed as it could even be discriminatory as bet most of these tourists are not Spanish.

  5. Andrew

    Rental income is taxable income – my guess is many millions is unpaid in andalucia.

    The rest is bureaucratic nonsense – like still hving to provide identity at hotels …. even the French have stopped that

Leave a Reply