back to article Airbn-bye: Barcelona bans short-term apartment rentals for tourists

Tourists in the Spanish city of Barcelona will have fewer lodging options come 2028, as the city has decided to evict operators of short-term apartment rentals.  Barcelona mayor Jaume Collboni said last week that the city planned to let all of the 10,101 tourist rental licenses granted to local landlords expire when they timed …

  1. sgp

    Good. Hopefully a few other tourism destroyed cities follow suit.

    1. BartyFartsLast Bronze badge

      This isn't really a story about AirBnB or tourism though, it's about a particularly pernicious form of buy to let where rich people tear the heart out of an area, jack up property prices and exclude the locals.

      There's nothing wrong, per-se, with the idea of subletting, it can provide valuable income for property owners to share their homes and let a room or floor etc, the problem comes when people buy second (or more) properties as "investments" with no intention of living in them.

      1. Chinamissing

        I mean you can't have rich locals? And there is nothing wrong with people owning properties and renting them out, there are all sorts of reasons for people to own 2 properties. The issue is with hyper short term lets that only cannibalise hotel/BnB rooms and remove properties from the longer term rental market. I agree with the mayor's actions, even if they are not perfect, I have yet to see any other solution actually work.

        1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

          There are plenty of legitimate reasons for people to own two properties, as residential properties for themselves or family, there are fewer reasons to own three, even fewer to own four, so that by the time that you get to someone owning an entire block full of properties, and letting them out nightly at hotel rates, there are no legitimate reasons at all, unless you happen to count profiteering from driving down the supply of housing stock as legitimate.

          There are two extremes; owning (or having access to) no property whatsoever, and being beholden to the whims of landlords, or owning all the property, and controlling the housing of everyone else. Obviously the "happy point" lies somewhere in the middle, where nobody is homeless, and nobody is price-gouging the rental market.

          1. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

            so that by the time that you get to someone owning an entire block full of properties, and letting them out nightly at hotel rates

            So that's hotels, B&Bs, and the like outlawed then.

            I do agree that having rich people buy up all the property and exclude locals is bad for the area - we have it where I live. But the only truly effective way to deal with that is socialism, and I think it's fair to say that true socialism has been demonstrated to be a failure everywhere it's been done. Trying things like needing a licence (and not issuing any licences) is not the way to do it - as mentioned, it will lead to "off the books" rentals without the protections renters get from official channels, and it's not going to do the tourist industry much good either.

            You may say tourism is bad for an area, but I suspect most people (if they are prepared to consider all factors) will agree that the only thing worse is no tourism - especially when they find themselves unemployed as the tourists are no longer paying their wages (directly or indirectly).

            As to the appropriattion law, that smacks of (as I've seen someone describe it) "look mummy, they've got something nice, please steal it for me". If actually actioned, I see it going to court and being squashed (eventually, after much money is wasted by both sides - but the lawyers will be happy with their pay cheque).

            1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

              You could read my other post below, and see that this is not what I am saying at all.

              If anything, uncontrolled AirBnB letting drives both rents up, and hotel prices down, hurting both local people, and local businesses. What I am saying is that we need regulation to limit the number of residential properties used for short-term lets, thus removing them from the housing stock, but also allow for building of purpose-built short-term lets, or conversion of empty buildings in areas where there is not a demand for accommodation, such as city-centre office buildings, which are in a great location for a place to stay for a few nights when sightseeing, but are not suitable for people to live in long-term as there is no prospect of peace and quiet, or, generally, access to open spaces.

              The thing is, it's not an "either/or" situation, and I think you're deliberately misrepresenting what I am saying. Whilst there is a housing shortage, there should not be a laissez-faire attitude towards unregulated short-term lets, as they are only good for the people letting them out. Tourism isn't going to fall off a cliff if people have to pay a few more quid a night to stay in a hotel instead.

            2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              so that by the time that you get to someone owning an entire block full of properties, and letting them out nightly at hotel rates

              So that's hotels, B&Bs, and the like outlawed then.

              Maybe dial the hyperbole back a little?

              I don't know where you live, but I've never stayed at a B&B or rental house that was more than a single property, and very few of the hotels I've stayed in have occupied an entire block.

              I loathe AirBnB (VRBO is, in my experience, a somewhat better player, with more oversight of properties, but that might be a regional thing), and long-term rentals have definitely been gutted by the surge in short-term ones. But there's a vast difference between a traditional B&B and "someone owning an entire block full of properties".

        2. BartyFartsLast Bronze badge

          That's pretty much exactly the point I was making, but your argument for second home ownership falls rather flat.

          There's plenty of places in the UK which have been left with no local shops, schools etc. because second home owners leave their places empty for month out of season, that means there's no trade for local businesses, there's not enough kids to keep the schools open and the community dies because they can't afford to rent or buy with the overinflated prices which are a result of second home ownership.

      2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

        Exactly this. I've long thought that the "short term let" sector needs some heavy regulation.

        It's literally a cash-tap for anyone who can afford to buy up a property, do it up for rental, and let it out on AirBnB. Rather than a residential let at, say, £1,000 PCM, they are renting the same property at often over £100 per night to tourists. The effect of this is to not only to push local rents up, towards that £3,000 PCM, but to push prices down for hotels, thus driving them out of business.

        However, the flip-side of this is that tourism brings money into places, and tourist accommodation isn't a bad thing per se, so what is required is proper regulation - things like a limit on the number of residential properties that can be converted to short-term lets, licensing systems, to control numbers and distribution, purpose-built short-term lets that don't eat up the housing stock (convert empty city-centre office buildings, for example, where it's not a good place for people to live permanently). Introduce limits on how many nights a year someone can rent out their own property, or spare room, so that "normal" people can still rent their place on AirBnB when they're on holiday, but people can't buy properties and let them permanently as a source of income. Back these measures up with real, and heavy penalties, for those who try to work around the system, and not just a slap-on-the-wrist that can be absorbed as a cost of doing business.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          At a minimum

          They should be subject to the same regulations as hotels & BnBs are, like taxes, inspections, commercial insurance, and equivalent levels of fire protection like sprinklers and fire escapes.

          They are able to undercut hotels/BnBs because they are purchased and regulated as a residential property, since when written the laws did not anticipate people buying residential properties and renting them piecemeal hotel style versus traditional seasonal/yearly leases.

          Now an argument could be made for not doing that if someone really is just renting out their house for a few weeks a year when they are on vacation, but once you're offering a location for more than 20 or 25 days a year I'd say this has become a place of business, not a residence. If you've got a second home you only spend a few months a year in and want to rent it out the other nine, I'm sorry, you're operating a business where you are one of your own customers.

          1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

            Re: At a minimum

            This is a good point, and I think it's important to draw a distinction between people letting out a room for a bit of extra cash, or people letting out their property when on holiday, and people letting out a property solely as a short-term let.

            I think for the former, licensing and a limit on the number of nights they can be let in a year (say 28, for example), along with proper enforcement, would prevent this system from being abused by people doing the latter. For them, they should be licensed and regulated in exactly the same way as a hotel or B&B is. The problem really seems to be that there is no regulation at all, and this almost certainly has come about because those in place to create those regulations are either profiting from this themselves, or are subject to heavy lobbying from those who are. The adage of "follow the money" always holds true.

            1. DS999 Silver badge

              Re: At a minimum

              The reason there's no regulation is that the regulations were set up decades ago and they didn't anticipate the type of rentals Airbnb did. When it first appeared it was used by property owners who had some slack times, it has only become a problem when it got big enough that people were buying properties to become full time Airbnb rentals.

              There's no way Airbnb could possibly fight these regulations in every city they operate, they have money but not that much money! But they probably do in bigger cities like NYC since they can justify the lobbying cost by the money they're making in those cities and knowing how much it'll drop when Airbnb hosts have to compete with hotels on equal footing.

              1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

                Re: At a minimum

                I think another reason is that in much of the western world, the type of governments we have had in the last couple of decades have tended towards the "fewer regulations" type, and not the "more regulations" types. This links directly to the tendency towards a more neoliberal economic model (fewer regulations, more "austerity", smaller state, more free rein for capital to draw money to itself), which favours big operators like AirBnB (and Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Tesla, et al). This is in large part down to the fact that we measure economic success by the ability of corporations to grow and become richer, and not by the even distribution of wealth throughout society, so we can claim we are more "successful" whilst the vast majority of people are becoming more miserable and impoverished.

                We need a willingness for legislators to regulate, but that is often in direct opposition to the people funding them. I'm open to suggestions for how to solve this seemingly intractable problem, short of armed insurrection (which superficially seems like it might be a good idea, right up to the point where you end up as one of the ones up buried in a mass grave).

    2. SundogUK Silver badge

      So only the rich should be allowed to go on holidays?

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        What a load of shit. That wasn't true before the advent of AirBnb, and it won't be true after AirBnB gets regulated or driven out entirely.

        Try to come up with a real argument next time.

  2. FirstTangoInParis Bronze badge

    Alternatively….

    Let’s hope the council now plan to deal with the problem by building extra lodgings out of town but with frequent and cheap mass transit into the tourist areas.

    Airbnb et al may make a lot of money but other tourist locations are available…..

    1. abend0c4 Silver badge

      Re: Alternatively….

      A number of popular destinations are wrestling with the problem of getting people out of the tourist areas. Barcelona has stopped publishing the timetables for some bus routes because the locals are struggling to get to and from work. Investment in tourism doesn't necessarily provide returns for local people. The most obvious example is Venice which has largely ceased to function as a residential area.

      Whereas tourism has sometimes lifted formerly isolated rural economies out of poverty - Spain and Portugal's coastal resorts spring to mind - it can be an economic trap: the jobs that are created are mostly low-wage hospitality gigs or temporary construction jobs and subsequent generations end up leaving to get better jobs elsewhere.

      We seem to have reached the point either that not enough other tourist locations are available, or, more likely, people are increasingly going to the places they've seen on social media and creating a snowball effect by posting their own visits to those same places on social media. And also the point at which frustration with tourism is turning towards hostility to tourists. The solution to that is not to bus them in in greater numbers.

      1. ArrZarr Silver badge

        Re: Alternatively….

        The thing that's always concerned me about tourism-based economies and industries is that they're one of the first things to get hit in any sort of economic turmoil. It's great to lift a place out of poverty, but you're fully reliant on the general economic health of the world to get enough people coming to support said economy.

      2. Robin

        Re: Alternatively….

        Spain and Portugal's coastal resorts spring to mind - it can be an economic trap: the jobs that are created are mostly low-wage hospitality gigs or temporary construction jobs

        This is getting worse down here in South-Western Spain, or at least it is where I am. The tourism has increased greatly of late and the powers-that-be are improving the area a lot, but the stuff that's being constructed seems to be purely luxury second home stuff. Just this week a new site has been marked out to build a series of villas starting at 800k€ (so with taxes that's easily over a million euros). Meanwhile locals find themselves with fewer and fewer "normal" places to just go and have a coffee or lunch, because the restaurants etc realise they can put their prices up for the owners of those expensive villas. So affordable housing gets harder to find, while there are plenty of places around which are unoccupied for 10 months of the year.

    2. katrinab Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Alternatively….

      They have hotels in Barcelona, you could stay in one of those.

      Or, when I visited, I stayed in a hotel in Madrid, and took a day trip to Barcelona on the AVE.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Alternatively….

        Well, that's partly the point. People are paying near hotel prices to stay in apartments and this is both increasing capacity and driving up rents. More Silicon Valley "disruption" in action.

        1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

          Re: Alternatively….

          I think it's a bit more subtle than this. AirBnBs undercut hotels, principally because they are not strictly regulated in the same way, so have lower costs. This in turn drives down the prices of hotel rooms, as they have to compete fort his business. This makes them less profitable, so they go out of business, the end result being reducing capacity of "proper" hotels, then the AirBnB operators realise that they no longer have any competition from hotels, and can ramp their prices right up, which has a knock-on effect of attracting more people to do this, reducing housing stock, and driving the cost of that up, too.

          We need to get serious about treating residential property as homes, and not as an investment, or as a business. People need somewhere to live, and in places where there is a shortage of that, short-term lets should be severely limited (or banned outright in extreme cases), as should owning a second property in the area. This could easily be subject to various allowances such as inherited property, and homes that are unoccupied because someone has moved in with their partner instead - give a limit on how long they can be owned before attracting increasing taxes, for example, giving an incentive to release that unoccupied housing back to the community that needs it.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Alternatively….

            I did say "near hotel prices". The effect is to increase capacity, hence more tourists, and drive up rents: in the places where this is a problem I haven't seen many hotels going to the wall. The effect of both is to put pressure on local resources and residents.

            Property is always an investment of one form or another. Trying to add rules to it as an investment class will just increase bureaucracy for those who don't have the resources to find workarounds. Apartments have, for years, been available around the world for short term rent, but such rentals have usually been very limited in time and subject to strict regulation. AirBnB et al. try and work around this by pretending they're doing something new, and therefore, not subject to regulation and even where it is, they're not liable for enforcing it because "they're just a platform…", though they're happy to take commission.

            However, whichever way you spin it, you're still going to see in some places more tourists than the area can cope with.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Alternatively….

        Barcelona is struggling to cope with daytrippers too. Venice lost that battle years ago and other tourism hotspots are on the verge of succumbing to daytrippers

        These areas HATE daytrip tourists even more than AirBnbers because they bring virtually nothing to the local economy whilst clogging the streets

        The only question I have if "if it's tourist season, what's the bag limit?"

        1. Blank Reg

          Re: Alternatively….

          And the worst offenders would be cruise ships. People swarm off the ships, clog up every tourist spot, then go back to the ship to eat since it's already paid for. I know there is a head tx that the cruise lines pay at each port, but maybe it needs to be much higher given how little cruise passenger contribute to the economy

    3. nijam Silver badge

      Re: Alternatively….

      > Airbnb et al may make a lot of money but other tourist locations are available…..

      And for some reason tourists seem not to prefer them.

  3. entfe001
    FAIL

    I suffer this problem

    I do live in Barcelona in a building where there are currently three flats operating for tourists fairly near a very well known landmark, so the pressure is really high on the neighbourhood.

    Besides the skyrocketing prices (if I wasn't living in a property flat bought many years ago when they were still affordable I couldn't live there at all), another problem from tourist flats is one of noises and other misbehaviours. Loud night parties are a rule on these flats, and for those who have to work for a living it's a issue if you can't sleep well. Local police are routinely called but they never come.

    However, this move will mean absolutely nothing, because all three flats are unlicensed and no measure at all has ever been taken to remedy them. For two of them the owner should be fined, but either they are not or the fines are being passed as a "operation tax" if fines are not high enough.

    The third one is more problematic: the law only relates to landlords who directly operate them, but this is actually on a long term rent and those are who actually re-rent the flat as a touristic. In this scenario they're operating in a void of law: the owner is off the hook on this because his rent contract is allowed, and there is no provision for renters who re-rent: only the owner could do something, but if this assures him that rent will be paid and a bit more, he has no real incentive at all.

    Furthermore, this coming from a mayor who, on the tenure of his own strong opposition to this kind of drastic measured when the former mayor pursued them (Ada Colau, you may have heard of her and her strong position against massive tourism), and the quite long term of the effective application of the measure, gives me zero confidence that that will take effect, not even if it would be effective.

    Meanwhile, the insomnia days have already begun.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I suffer this problem

      Yep, Colau got far more criticism for far less and was also was taken to court for it.

      If anyone believes there are just 10000 tourist flats in Barcelona I've got a bridge to sell them. As well as reducing tourist licences which is what Calau tried to do, the town hall really should be going after unlicensed flats in any way possible. Fining tourists who break noise rules, fining AirBnB for listing non-licenced flats, etc...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I suffer this problem

        They should go for AirBnB. Once there are no legit licenses, all listings will be illegal. Make AirBnB cough up the names and addresses. Internet companies are actually a single weak link in illegal activity once you target them.

        1. cyberdemon Silver badge
          Mushroom

          > Make AirBnB cough up the names and addresses.

          Don't forget to prosecute AirBnB for being complicit ..

    2. keithpeter Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: I suffer this problem

      "Local police are routinely called but they never come"

      Contact the local politicians and try to get more responsive policing for a few example cases?

      A few examples of tourists spending part of their night in the nearest police station might make the rentals less popular. News travels fast on social media, so I am told (see icon).

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: I suffer this problem

        or contract a few "private security companies" to "sort things out" ?

        How rentable is an AirBnB with the front door stoved in?

    3. Irongut

      Re: I suffer this problem

      AirBnB are a scourge on city dwellers worldwide. I had similar problems to you in Glasgow with three flats on AirBnB in my building. We had constant strangers coming and going, leaving the downstairs door open, pressing the wrong buzzer (usually mine) and having parties till lunchtime the next day. More than once I had to go shout at a bunch of teenagers with local accents who had rented the AirBnB for a party.

      Not to mention the keys in a plastic "key safe" outside that would allow anyone into the building. A few seconds with a screwdriver and anyone could have the keys.

      Thankfully I moved at the start of the summer.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: I suffer this problem

        "A few seconds with a screwdriver and anyone could have the keys."

        Including occupants of other apartments in the building who wanted some peace and quiet

    4. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: I suffer this problem

      I had a friend in a similar position in Chicago, also near a popular destination (Wrigley Field)

      The owner(s) of the condos being offered as Airbnb rentals were absentee owners - they had some service show up to clean/manage them so there was no way building residents could talk to them about the problems they caused. When they called police they'd come and tell people to quiet down, but a night or two later a new group would be there and they'd have to call them again, and nothing seemed to be done about the persistent issue. There is some part of the city government that deals with repeated issues at a property but noise complaints aren't high on their list when they're also getting repeated calls about dealing drugs or whatever in other parts of the city.

      So he and a few of his neighbors decided to take matters into their own hands, by damaging the locks on the door, breaking the lockbox that held the key, unscrewing the electric meter for a unit, whatever they could do. That resulted in strings of bad reviews. At one point someone tried to go before the building's co-op board claiming to represent the owner of a couple units wanting to see the security camera footage to try to catch the perps, but people on the board live there too and weren't inclined to help. They tried to install their own camera in the hallway but it was immediately removed by the board as the condo owners don't own the hallways.

      Eventually the units were put on the market, and someone on the board called the realtor who had the listing and explained about the "problems" they had with Airbnb there and said that the same things were likely to happen if a new Airbnb owner took over. Dunno if that caused the realtor to scare away potential Airbnb clients but in the end they were sold to people who actually live there and the problem is gone (for now at least)

      Now I'm not recommending you do the same thing since Barcelona isn't Chicago, but I know what I'd do if I was in that situation...

  4. Ken G Silver badge

    Simple solution to complex problem

    I personally think there needs to be a combination of laws and actions to address the root cause, not the symptom.

    One law I saw that made sense (can't remember where) - new builds are only available to owner occupiers for 5 years. This stops investment companies bulk buying apartment complexes for either short term let or rent out at market rates. This drives down cost to buy.

    Have state and local government build high quality social housing, as in Vienna, and rent control it. This drives down cost to rent and discourages sub-letting as anyone doing it could lose their favourable rent.

    Give tax relief and protection to those who rent out part of their own home, for AirBnB or students or whoever. This increases room utilisation without driving out locals and helps distinguish between "BnB" and hotel.

    Increase taxes on empty residential property. It can be cheaper to leave an apartment empty and wait for it's resale value to increase than to let someone live there.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Simple solution to complex problem

      >>Give tax relief and protection to those who rent out part of their own home, for AirBnB or students or whoever.

      No. Make renting illegal for airbnb

      1. Zolko Silver badge

        Re: Simple solution to complex problem

        Make renting illegal for less than 1 month. Should fix the problem without disturbing real-world workers. Let the tourists go to hotels

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Sounds good, but at the condition that sub-renting is forbidden.

        2. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

          Re: Simple solution to complex problem

          So you are proposing to punish someone who (for example) goes away on holiday elsewhere for a fortnight and wants to rent their own home out for the duration ? Such a situation helps both parties - the owner gets a bit of income from a property that would otherwise be sat empty, and some tourists (probably a family) gets to live in a home (rather than a faceless hotel) for their holiday.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Simple solution to complex problem

            Shrug. Many things that are prima facie harmless get caught up in regulation, because regulation is an imprecise tool. If this is the cost of eliminating the short-term-rental problem, it's a price I'm more than willing to pay.

            1. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

              Re: Simple solution to complex problem

              You also have to remember that there are a lot of positives to short term rentals.

              Wimbledon (the tennis tournament, not the place) is an example. AIUI, a lot of locals just go on holiday for a fortnight to get away from it - and by renting their home out relieve pressure on transport. I'm pretty certain there won't be the quantity of hotel rooms available locally to support such an event - if there were, there's be a lot of empty rooms for 50 weeks of the year and unprofitable hotels. So without these short term rentals, there would be more price gouging by what was available, and a lot more pressure on transport with people being forced to stay further away. So to me, it seems short term rentals are a win for (almost) everyone in that case.

              For Wimbledon, substitute any of many similar "short term but very popular" events. I bet Silverstone (for the F1 GP) is similar - not that that interests me either.

              So I do not believe an arbitrary ban is the right answer. Holding those who rent out properties to the right standards (e.g. fire safety) is the right answer - see above, if someone is renting out multiple properties then it looks a lot like a hotel (or perhaps more like a motel) business and should be held to the same standards. That authorities are not doing that is the fault of the authorities. But then, laying the blame at someone else's door is often easier than actually doing your own job properly.

      2. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

        Re: Simple solution to complex problem

        It's not AirBnB that's the problem, that is simply the easy "label" to apply to it.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Simple solution to complex problem

          AirBnB is certainly a major contributing factor. It's the most prominent market-maker for short-term rentals.

          1. Ken G Silver badge

            Re: Simple solution to complex problem

            It is the most prominent now, ban it by name and someone else will take up that mantle. That's why I think the solution is to increase housing availability, drive down prices and let short terms lets go back to being the a nice extra earner for owners and cheap way to stay rather than taking flats from residents and rooms from hotels.

      3. Ken G Silver badge

        Re: Simple solution to complex problem

        so Anonymous, do you work for Booking.com, VRBO or Atraveo?

    2. SundogUK Silver badge

      Re: Simple solution to complex problem

      Rent control never works. You'll just get fewer people renting out property altogether.

  5. willyslick

    High time that the farce known as the "sharing economy" is prohibited. Back when Airbnb was really a couchsurfing outfit there was little to take issue with; but what they have eveolved into is a true monstrosity of social damage:

    They compete directly with hotels but are subject to practically none of the associated regulations on safety, tourism taxes, privacy, etc - so they can offer cheaper rates than hotels while exposing the guests to unsafe and dangerous conditions and deflecting any blame to those offering flats.

    They remove massive amounts of housing stock from the market and force locals to move ever further away to afford housing. Many newer Airbnbs are even purpose-built to sere this market - no chance to find a place if you are just working a normal job.

    Airbnb has steadily increased thier cut with "service fees" (so in many cases almost eliminating the discount over hotels) - but should there be any problem with the booking or complaints from the nieghbors due to parties or noise disturbance, you won't find Airbnb anywhere to be found. The customer service is non-existent. Effectively they push the risk down to those offering the flat, much as Uber does for taxi rides.

    So these sharing companies essentially make huge revenue without taking any risk or any responsibility for the social problems that arise due to thier business- described often as "disrupution" but really more accurate to describe as "online robbery with no consequences".

    The sooner the market boycotts these services the better - and any help from politics is IMHO extremely welcome and will have my vote.

    1. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

      I think you are pointing the blame in the wrong place.

      Uber is a different beast - they "employ" their drivers and have control over them. Basically they are a massive version of the traditional private hire (incorrectly referred to as taxi) business just like you find on a street corner in many towns - you phone them up, the person sat in the office uses the radio to get a driver to come and pick you up). Uber have lost a few court cases around the world trying to claim otherwise - but they are just that traditional business with "and done via app".

      AitBnB are in this case merely an agent - a bit like if you use booking.com or hotels.com to book a hotel room. It is the person offering the property that should be held to account for safety rules etc. Yes, AirBnB (and other booking sites) can, and should, be policing this with their clients - but ultimately it needs the local authorities to clamp down. As another has suggested, if someone is offering a property on a full time basis, and more so if offering multiple properties, then they should be held to the same health and safety standards as other types of business doing the same (e.g. hotels and guest houses). Lets face it, there are hotels which offer less than many AirBnB rentals - you get a room, no services, go out and get your own meals, ... So if there are AirBnB (or other service) rentals not meeting standards, then the authorities are partly to blame for not taking action - a few well chosen prosecutions might change matters a bit.

  6. David Thorn

    GSMA will be unhappy

    Given Mobile World Congress alone attracts 100k people and there are only 76k hotel beds in Barcelona…

    1. abend0c4 Silver badge

      Re: GSMA will be unhappy

      They'd be even unhappier if you asked them to explain how their wonderful technology hasn't materially reduced the number of people getting on aeroplanes for the sole purpose of sleeping off their resultant jetlag during interminably dull marketing presentations.

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: GSMA will be unhappy

      That's true for a lot of really big conferences like that. Not all those people are there the whole time, some of them are doubling up, and some are staying in outlying areas either because their company won't pay big city rates or because they tried to reserve their room too late.

  7. Bitsminer Silver badge

    The Canada fix

    Same problem in cities and towns in Canada.

    Vancouver ultimately had a city registry for AirBnB and an enforcement group. Big fines for failure to register.

    But it didn't stop the ultimate rental-revenue problem: daily AirBnB rental income far exceeds monthly long-term rental income. Even adjusting for the risk of bad customers.

    The Vancouver suburbs had a similar law but no enforcement. Every apartment building had "no rentals for less than 30 days" sign that was observed more in the breach than the observance.

    The Canada fix was to change federal tax laws prohibiting cost deduction of any expense for a short-term rental unit that you didn't already live in. So mortgage payments, insurance, cleaner fees, AirBnB fees are all now not deductible as an expense for their business of short-term rentals. That means the end of the "business." Some people had three dozen apartments all in AirBnB and have now sold or rented them to longer-term tenants.

    The apartment-sized rentals on AirBnB dried up totally.

    AirBnB in Canada now is literally BnB in someone's home. Nothing else.

    Did it help the rental market? That's an open question.

  8. nijam Silver badge

    Sounds tom me as if AirBnB, for all its faults, is only a symptom - perhaps scapegoat would be a better word - here. Barcelona's problem seems (like many other places) seems to be that they want tourists' money, but not tourists.

    Don't care, I'm not going there anyway, too many tourists.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Barcelona's problem seems (like many other places) seems to be that they want tourists' money, but not tourists.

      It's quite easy to understand, a large number of landlords want tourists' money and everyone else has to put up with it.

      AirBnB facilitates a huge number of unlicensed tourist rentals and is part of the problem.

  9. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

    THis is a perfect example of how globalisation is actually a loss for all locals. Sure they gain a few dollars in sale or rentals, but they actually lost because now they cant afford a home. Everywhere in the western world the result is the same. Globalisation is a scam for the percentage parasites (tm) my term so dont copy it.

  10. PRR Silver badge
    Unhappy

    > Same problem in cities and towns in Canada.

    Same along the coast of Maine. We used to be infested with dreary motels. Now the little AirBnB signs are everywhere. Working people from maids and waitresses, roofers, lawn-care and car mechanics, can't find a place to shack-up at less than vacation rates. Town boards dither but the short-term land-lords pull much sway. And the locals know that without tourists, this place is a wasteland. Barcelona's decree can't happen here. It may come to me renting the garage by the week just so I can afford to eat.

  11. UnknownUnknown

    Outside City Limits

    It will just relocate the problem outside the City Limits, along tourist friendly local rail links. Same as in NYC, but that was more a cost thing that local regulations.

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