Barcelona reveals plans to scrap holiday rentals by 2028

Barcelona reveals plans to scrap holiday rentals by 2028

Tourists will be banned from renting apartments in Barcelona in a controversial move aimed at clamping down on soaring housing costs in the city.

Over 10,000 holiday lets, which are advertised on platforms like Airbnb and Homeaway, will instead be made available to residents from 2028, the city’s mayor said.

Mayor Jaume Collboni claimed home rental prices in the top holiday destination had soared by 68 per cent over the past decade with the cost of property ownership increasing by 38 per cent.

“We are confronting what we believe is Barcelona’s largest problem. More supply of housing is needed and the measures we are presenting today are to provide more supply,” Mr Collboni said.

Mr Collboni’s opposition accused him of undermining property rights and claimed the move resembled the far-left regime of Venezuela.

Over 10,000 holiday lets will be barred from renting to tourists in controversial plans set to come into force from 2028 (Getty Images)

The Association of Tourist Apartments of Barcelona said the change would lead to flats being illegally rented to tourists and claimed the policy was a “smokescreen” for the mayor’s failure on housing policy.

Reacting to Mr Collboni’s announcement, some left-wing councillors said 2028 was too far in the future for people they said were being forced out of the city now. Janet Sanz asked: “Can we wait until 2028?”

Barcelona’s government said it would maintain its “strong” inspection regime to detect potential illegal tourist apartments once the ban comes into effect.

Since 2016, it has ordered the closure of 9,700 illegal tourist apartments and almost 3,500 apartments have been recovered to be used as primary housing for local residents.

Tourist accommodation and hotels in Barcelona received 9.7 million tourists in 2022, with 29.8 million overnight stays recorded in all, according to recent figures.

The view of Barcelona city from Park Guell (Alamy/PA)

In recent months, thousands have protested in parts of Spain, including the Canary Islands, against the effects of mass tourism, which they claim is damaging the environment and driving locals out.

In June, thousands took to the streets of the Balearic Islands to protest against mass tourism and overcrowding dubbed “massification”.

Carme Reines, from a collective which organised the protest in Palma de Mallorca, said: “We want the authorities to stop people who have not lived here more than five years from buying properties and to put more controls on holiday accommodation.”

Javier Carbonell, a real estate agent in Mallorca, added: “We want less mass tourism and more sustainable tourism.”

A Spanish National police spokesperson said around 10,000 people took part in the protest in Mallorca, while a few hundred marched in Menorca.