Barcelona pilot project to turn tourist rentals into social housing

Barcelona City Hall (Ayuntamiento)

Barcelona City Hall (Ayuntamiento)

Barcelona’s left wing city Government has announced plans to launch a pilot project to encourage owners of illegal holiday rentals to offer their properties for rent as social housing.

Barcelona City Hall is drawing up plans for a pilot project in the Old Town district of Barcelona, which includes the Barcelona Gothic Quarter property hotspot.

Property owners in the district who are caught engaging in short-term rentals without a licence will face much reduced fines if they agree to offer their properties for rent as social housing for a three year period.

Owners of 330 properties in the Old Town are already facing fines of €15,000 on average for illegal tourist rentals. Fines could be reduced by 80% if owners accept the deal. Those who do will only start receiving rental payments once they have paid off their reduced fine.

City Hall is also planning to punish professional operations that market and manage illegal tourist rentals. From September onwards, operators will be fined for dealing with illegal tourist rentals. Until then, the local authorities will simply demand that tourist rental websites remove flats that are not included in the Tourism Register of Catalonia (Registro de Turismo de Cataluña).

City Hall is setting up a website where people can inform on illegal tourist rentals in the city – flats that are rented out on a short-term basis without a licence to do so.

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