Barcelona has started the first proceedings against illegal tourist rentals, the local press reports.
The authorities have started at least three legal proceedings against home owners in Barcelona accused of engaging in short-term tourist lets without a licence.
The city government recently extended a ban on all new tourist rental licences, with around 9,600 licences already issued to date.
Demand for tourist rentals in Barcelona is strong, and owners can earn good returns from short-term rentals. Illegal rental is the only option for owners who didn’t get a licence before the ban was introduced.
By some estimates there are more than 6,000 homes in Barcelona that are being rented out to tourists illegally.
Catalonia’s Tourism Law, passed last summer, introduced fines from €30,000 to €600,000 for tourist rentals without a licence.
“It’s disproportionate,” says Elizabeth Casañas, spokeswoman for the ProViviendas Turisticas industry group, quoted in the press. “The fines are enormous and can lead to financial ruin for simply renting a flat out for five days a year.”