Planning To Rent A Holiday Apartment In Barcelona? Read This First

Apartment rentals catering to tourists will be phased out by 2028 according to the mayor of Barcelona
Apartments in Barcelona
Apartments in Barcelonacaesarjulivs/Shutterstock

The popular tourist hotspot of Barcelona in Spain has announced that travellers will be unable to rent holiday apartments by 2028 in a bid to curb rising housing costs and make the city liveable for residents.

The city’s mayor said that by November 2028, Barcelona will scrap the licenses of 10,101 apartments currently approved as short-term rentals. As Spain's most visited city by foreign tourists, Barcelonians are finding themselves unable to afford apartments after rents rose 68 per cent in the past 10 years and the cost of buying a house rose by 38 per cent, according to the mayor. Access to housing has become a driver of inequality too, particularly for young people.

A Cost Of Living Crisis

Barcelonians are finding themselves unable to afford apartments after rents rose 68 per cent in the past 10 years and the cost of buying a house rose by 38 per cent
Barcelonians are finding themselves unable to afford apartments after rents rose 68 per cent in the past 10 years and the cost of buying a house rose by 38 per centValery Bareta/Shutterstock

Spain ranks among the top three most visited countries in the world but with local residents priced out in some places, gentrification and owner preference for lucrative tourist rentals are increasingly a hot topic across Europe. Local governments have announced restrictions on short-term rentals in places such as Spain's Canary Islands, Lisbon and Berlin in the past decade.

Hotels stand to benefit the most from this move. The opening of new hotels in the city's most popular areas was banned by a far-left party governing Barcelona between 2015 and 2023, but Barcelona’s mayor has signalled they could relax the restriction. The 10,000 apartments will be used by the city's residents or will go on the market for rent or sale.

Hotels stand to benefit the most from the closure of holiday apartments. Pictured here is the swimming pool of the W Barcelona
Hotels stand to benefit the most from the closure of holiday apartments. Pictured here is the swimming pool of the W Barcelonafivetonine/Shutterstock

Barcelona's local government said in a statement it would maintain its "strong" inspection regime to detect potential illegal tourist apartments once the ban comes into force. No new tourist apartments have been allowed in the city in recent years. The local government has ordered 9,700 illegal tourist apartments to shut down since 2016 and close to 3,500 apartments have been recovered to be used as primary housing for local residents, it said.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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