Barcelona announces plans to ban holiday rentals for tourists from 2028

24 June 2024, 07:43 | Updated: 24 June 2024, 09:47

Barcelona is set to crack down on Airbnbs
Barcelona is set to crack down on Airbnbs. Picture: Alamy

By Flaminia Luck

The mayor of Barcelona - Spain's most visited city - has pledged to end short-term tourist lets in the city within five years as the country continues its nationwide crackdown on mass tourism.

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Jaume Collboni told a news conference he does not plan to renew any of the 10,101 tourist licences granted to landlords when they expire in November 2028.

Mr Collboni said the appartments, advertised on sites such as Airbnb and Homeaway, would be available to locals instead.

The boom in short-term rentals in Barcelona by foreign tourists meant some residents could not afford an apartment after rents rose 68% in the past 10 years and the cost of buying a house rose by 38%, Mr Collboni said.

Politicians opposing the move accused him of undermining property rights.

However, the mayor said that the new measures would be "equivalent to building 10,000 new homes".

View over the city from the Palau Nacional, Montjuic, Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain
It is hoped the move will bring down housing costs for residents. Picture: Alamy

Mr Collboni clapped back saying rents had risen by 70% over the past 10 years and had become unaffordable.

“More supply of housing is needed, and the measures we’re presenting today are to provide more supply," he added.

Barcelona has struggled with a limited supply of housing for years.

Access to housing had become a key driver of inequality, particularly for young people, he added.

New building has not kept up with the increased demand, driving up prices.

In response to the recently announced plans, 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?"

Right-wing politicians said the measure threatened property rights and said the Barcelona City Council cannot resemble the Bolivarian regime.

The Association of Tourist Apartments of Barcelona said the change would lead to flats being illegally rented to tourists.

The policy was a "smokescreen" for the failure of Mr Collboni's housing policy, it added.

Spain ranks among the top-three most visited countries in the world,

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

Read more: 15,000 anti-tourism protesters boo holidaymakers in Majorca as organisers vow 'this is just the start'

Read more: Heat health alert to be issued for most of England as temperatures to soar amid fears for NHS

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