Barcelona bans renting out spare rooms to tourists, at least for a year

barcelona city hall ajuntament
Barcelona City Hall (Ajuntament)

Renting out a spare room in your Barcelona home to tourists is now illegal, as Barcelona City Hall continues its campaign to stamp out all private income from tourism.

Renting out a spare room to tourists in Barcelona was made illegal this week, as City Hall officials in Barcelona took advantage of a grey area in regional laws to ban the practise, at least until regional laws are clarified, reports the local press.

In effect, what the Ajuntament, or city authorities have done, is announce a one-year moratorium on all permits to rent out rooms to visitors.. Some owners used room-share rules to rent out entire flats illegally, whilst others used them to rent out rooms in their own homes, providing much needed income in difficult times.

Janet Sanz, the local politician in charge of town planning, including tourist licences, told the press it is just a “suspension of licenses”, even though renting out a room doesn’t require a licence per se, as local press reports point out.

Planning permission for work on flats intended to adapt them for room sharing will also be put on hold, Sanz announced.

The one-year moratorium on room sharing with tourists is intended to give City Hall time to develop new regulations to restrict the activity, and comply with regional regulations, the Colau team claim. If the new regs are not ready in a year, the moratorium will be extended for another year.

Sanz called on the regional government, the Generalitat, to change its decrees on room sharing, which she described as “made to order for digital platforms like Airbnb.” Colau and her team want full control over the minute detail of what is allowed, and what is not, when it comes to room sharing, according to local press reports.

According to data from Inside Airbnb, taken from Airbnb listings, there are 9,000 room shares available in Barcelona, out of a total of 14,000 in Catalonia. According to room share associations, just 3,000 are bona fide room shares, whilst the rest are flats for rent under the pretence of room-shares.

An online survey by the local daily La Vanguardia revealed that readers were 72% in favour of the city taking a “hard line” against illegal tourist rentals, so the current city council may well have popular support on this question.

Thoughts on “Barcelona bans renting out spare rooms to tourists, at least for a year

  • Ada Colau gets worse as each month passes.
    What people do with their own homes is none of her business…providing you do not cause a nuisance to your neighbours.
    Anyway, it´s unenforceable…You can just say you have friends or relatives staying with you.
    She should turn her attention to dog owners. Defecating in the street, barking all day (and night) long while their owners are at work…disturbing whole streets of people.
    Here in my village up in hills outside Barcelona dogs are a nightmare. The Police take no action and they disturb people 24 hours a day. I am woken up at 3 or 4 a.m. every morning by their constant barking and then throughout the whole day.

    • Mark Stücklin says:

      I haven’t noticed dogs as a problem in Barcelona city centre, and though you still see dog turds on the street, it seems to me less so than a decade ago. But dogs barking in the villages? Now that is a problem. We were in a village in the Empordà for three weeks this summer, and dogs barking until 1am were a frequent problem (owners out for diner, left dogs at home alone). It was a much bigger problem this year than any previous year, all thanks to C19, of course. Usually the village is full of foreign tourist at this time of year, and they don’t bring their dogs. This year it was mainly locals – with their dogs! I love dogs, but one dog allowed to bark all day and night can make life hell for everyone else. I feel your pain.

Leave a Reply