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Barcelona to Fully Ban Airbnb Rentals by 2028: What Happens Now?

Barcelona, Spain

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Barcelona, one of Europe's most popular tourist destinations, has announced a groundbreaking plan to completely ban short-term apartment rentals for tourists by 2028. Mayor Jaume Collboni unveiled the bold move as part of the city's efforts to address its worsening housing crisis and improve the quality of life for residents.

Over the past decade, Barcelona has seen a dramatic rise in housing costs, with rents increasing by a staggering 68% and home prices by 38%. This has made it increasingly difficult for locals, especially young people, to find affordable housing in the city. Many residents blame the proliferation of short-term rentals, like those offered on Airbnb, for exacerbating the problem by reducing the supply of long-term housing and driving up prices.

Details of the Barcelona Short-Term Rental Ban

Under the new plan, Barcelona will stop issuing new licenses for tourist apartments and will not renew the 10,101 existing licenses when they expire in November 2028. This means that by 2029, there will be no legal short-term rentals for tourists in the city. Mayor Collboni emphasized that this drastic measure is necessary to increase the housing supply and prevent the working middle class from being priced out of Barcelona.

Reactions and Perspectives

The announcement has sparked mixed reactions. Housing advocates and some government officials, like Spain's housing minister Isabel Rodriguez, have applauded the move as a necessary step to guarantee access to affordable housing. However, the tourism industry, including the Barcelona Association of Tourist Apartments (Apartur), has strongly criticized the ban, warning that it could lead to increased poverty, unemployment, and illegal rentals.

Airbnb, which hosts many short-term rentals in Barcelona, has not yet commented directly on the ban. However, the European Holiday Homes Association, which represents short-term rental platforms, argued that the ban could harm local families' income and favor international hotel chains without addressing the core housing issues.

Short-Term Rental Restrictions in Other Cities

Barcelona is not alone in its efforts to regulate short-term rentals. Other European cities, such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Lisbon, and Florence, have implemented various restrictions in recent years to address housing affordability and the impact of overtourism. In the United States, New York City has also cracked down on short-term rentals, requiring hosts to register with the city and limiting rentals to owner-occupied units.

The ban on short-term rentals is expected to have significant implications for Barcelona's tourism landscape. Some predict that hotels may benefit from the reduced competition, and the city may relax its previous restrictions on new hotel development. However, others worry that the ban could hurt the local economy, which relies heavily on tourism. Mayor Collboni has emphasized the need to promote more sustainable and diversified tourism that benefits residents and respects the city's urban fabric.

Conclusion

Barcelona's decision to ban short-term rentals by 2028 is a bold and controversial move that reflects the city's struggle to balance the benefits and costs of mass tourism. While the ban aims to address the urgent housing crisis and improve residents' quality of life, its effectiveness, and potential unintended consequences remain to be seen. As other cities grapple with similar challenges, Barcelona's experience may provide valuable lessons on the complex interplay between tourism, housing, and urban sustainability.

⚡️
Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.