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.
Tourist 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.