With the majority of tourist rentals failing to comply with regulations, regional authorities are reported to be going after illegal tourist rentals in greater numbers, and now require all owners to include their registration number in all adverts.
The Generalitat, Catalonia’s regional government, has started proceedings against the owners of 1,362 properties rented out to tourists, and carried out 3,739 inspections, say press reports. Fines on illegal rentals go from 3,000 to 30,000 Euros.
In 2013, the number of tourist rentals registered with the authorities amounted to 150,000 beds, up from just 27,000 at the start of the year. The Generalitat is working on a “real and effective” audit reported to be “pioneering” in Spain. Last year they registered 25,691 tourist-use homes, and 205 tourist apartment complexes.
The Generalitat estimates that private tourist rentals in Catalonia amount to some 500,000 beds in competition with hotels. That means that just 30pc have been registered, 32pc of them in Barcelona province, 40pc in Girona, 24pc in Tarragona, and 4pc in Lleida. The rest are illegal.
To get a tourist lettings permit owners have to register with their local town hall, which then notifies the central register of tourism in Catalonia or the Registro de Turismo de Cataluña (RTC) in Spanish. Owners are then sent their registration number, which they now have to publish with all their online advertising, according to the latest reports. Owners advertising without a registry number will be presumed to be engaged in illegal rentals.
The local authorities are reported to be checking websites offering tourist rentals, and demanding the websites provide detailed information on tourist rentals in Catalonia. Seventy-five companies are being investigated for not cooperating, and now the regional authorities are going after landlords, with proceedings started against owners of 1,347 properties and 15 tourist apartment complexes.
The regional Government claims it will start promoting holiday lettings in Catalonia to tourists once the business is properly regulated and under control.