What has happened? The Catalan government has adopted a ground-breaking regulation that abolishes permanent licenses for tourist apartments and forces them to be renewed every five years.
What are the affected areas? The new rule will come into force in 262 cities, including Barcelona, and will affect 95,000 tourist apartments, or 90% of short-term rental properties in Catalonia.
The new rules. The licenses will now be limited to a maximum of 10 tourist apartments for every 100 residents. Currently, this threshold is exceeded in 47 Catalan cities and towns. As a result, 28,000 apartments will automatically lose their licenses as part of the new requirement.
Despite setting a 10% cap, the Territory Department says it considers even five tourist apartments for every 100 residents to be “excessive” due to the risk of driving up house prices.
Catalan Territory Minister Ester Capella said a limitation on tourist apartments was a "common demand" made by local councils.
Quote. “This was something we had to deal with because it created a situation of legal insecurity, and this was often required by local councils,” she added.
The procedure. The five-year licenses will be issued after going through a legal process to be determined by each local council, and will only get the go-ahead if urban planning confirms there is already enough space for residential housing. The aim of the rule is to eliminate speculation in tourist apartments, the government says.
Renewal. The owners will be able to obtain a license extension for five years if they prove that they have not been able to pay off their investment on the apartment in the next five years.
The context. Now, to obtain a license for a tourist apartment, you only need to register a housing certificate and provide a certificate confirming that the apartment is furnished and not rented out by separate rooms.
The new rule will significantly tighten the procedure for 95,000 tourist apartments across Catalonia.
Reaction. The Catalan Federation of Tourist Apartments (Federatur) and Barcelona's Tourist Apartments Association have criticized the new legislation, calling it “populist” and “extremely irresponsible.”
Federatur's president David Riba said the rule will affect 47% of tourist accommodation and warned that 25,000 jobs could disappear, especially in tourist-heavy destinations such as Barcelona, Catalan seaside towns and the Pyrenees.
Apartur's president Enrique Alcantara believes the problem has "nothing to do with tourism", arguing that although the number of tourist apartments in Barcelona has not increased in recent years, rents have continued to rise.
Source: Catalan News