Barcelona City Hall has announced that it will ban renting rooms to tourists when regional laws make it officially possible in August, whilst already ruining anyone caught doing it with fines of 60,000€.
Room sharing with tourists has not been regulated in Catalonia until a decree from the Generalitat, or Catalan regional government, was passed in August 2020 formally allowing the practise to start this August, but giving the local authority powers to regulate it in the case of Barcelona.
When the decree was announced, Barcelona’s municipal government, led by hard-left Mayoress Ada Colau, immediately suspended any procedures to grant licences for room rentals, and has now announced a total ban of room rentals for less than 31 days when the decree regulating shared housing in Catalonia comes into force this August.
According to deputy mayor and town planning supremo Janet Sanz, allowing short-term room sharing “would lead to an explosion in the city’s tourist capacity, and a danger, as 670,000 households could take in tourists,” she said whilst announcing new regulations for tourist accomodation. She thinks it’s a danger to let households do what they want with their spare bedrooms.
Sanz goes on to say that “The city already has 150,000 regulated beds, which is more than enough.” She also argues that short-stay room sharing is “impossible to control,” and is used to cover up illegal tourist flats and “mafia practises”, whilst restricting the supply of homes for rent, and driving up housing costs.
The city authorities have already been slapping 60,000€ fines on anyone they catch renting out a spare room for less than 31 days, even though there was no law expressly forbidding it. According to the Catalan dailly La Vanguardia, hard-up households, especially empty-nesters, in desperate need of additional income to help pay the mortgage, and avoid losing their homes, are being ruined by fines of 60,000€ for renting out their spare rooms for 31 days or less. There is outrage at the disproportionate size of the fines for an activity that was not illegal, and causes no harm to anyone You can read the article in Spanish here. If you want to read it translated into English, use Chrome and right click anywhere on the page then select ‘Translate to English’.