Spain Cracked Down Hard on Airbnb Last Week
If you have a vacation coming up in Barcelona (or Madrid, or Mallorca, or Valencia, or Andalusia...so, like, half of Spain) and you're staying in an Airbnb, listen up. In the past week, provinces across the country proposed new regulations on home shares and vacation rentals that may put a damper on your upcoming holiday. While the new regulations aren't officially laws yet, they're shaking up the rental market, and could result in as many as 95 percent of Madrid's city center Airbnbs being pulled from the site over the next year.
Most of the cities (including Barcelona and Madrid) are enacting a licensing program like Paris's, but illegal, unregistered home-shares remain on the site, try as Airbnb might to remove them. It's on the host to register an apartment or vacation home with the local or federal government (the nitty gritty here is pretty nitty gritty ). Where do you come in? Know that booking a night or two in an unlawful Airbnb can result in some unpleasant surprisesâ"and likely a last-minute cancellation. To stay ahead of it, check Airbnb's help site, which has a fairly exhaustive explanation of major cities' regulations (like New York and Paris) and talk to your host. Ask your host on any vacation rental site you use, from Airbnb to HomeAway, to provide a license number (if the local government requires it) if you're worried about an upcoming stay.
That said, a number of cities are going well beyond just requiring registrationâ"and some are banning Airbnbs with views or requiring a separate entrance from locals. Here is the low-down on how cities around the country are treating Airbnbs.
Palma de Mallorca
Mallorca and Ibiza in the Balearic Islands have had a complicated history with Airbnb. Over the past two years, the local government has fined hosts and Airbnb alike thousands of dollars w hen they didn't register homes with city officials. This week, Mallorca, specifically, proposed eliminating a lot (a lot, a lot) of Airbnb's existing listings.
Starting in July, apartment listings will be banned completely and only whole stand-alone houses will be allowed to be rented, as long as they aren't "on protected land, within a region around the airport, or buildings not designated for residential use," reports Reuters. Hosts will still need a valid license, too. El Pais reports that of the more than 20,000 listings in the area, just under 700 Airbnbs are correctly registered. That said, if the site pulls all soon-to-be illegal listings, many of the available homes in apartments in Palma will have to cancel on their booked high-season guests in July, August, and September.
Last summer saw anti-tourist protests from MadrileÃ±os, unhappy that their city was overrun with visitors. Many local officials also b elieve that Airbnb's presence has contributed to a spike in housing prices in the city, a claim Airbnb denies worldwide with its own housing studies. More than 95 percent of Madrid's Airbnb would be considered illegal under new proposals from the city's secretary of sustainable urban planning JosÃ© Manuel Calvo, The Local reports. While it has not been approved by city government yet, the proposal would limit apartments to only be rented out for less than 90 days a year on sites like Airbnb.
Restrictions get even more serious in the city centerâ"Airbnbs there would need a designated entrance separate from the one used by Spanish residents, preventing all but a few ground floor apartments from being kicked off the site. Currently, just six percent of all apartments in the city center are used as rentals, the Local reports, a number that will surely drop as more and more are deemed illegal under the new proposal.
As I reported last week, the regional Valencian government is letting each city in the province decide on its own regulations, a policy headache for Airbnb. In response, the city officials in Valencia proposed limiting new vacation rentals to ground and first-floor apartments only, much like in Madrid. So in a city known for its views of the Mediterranean, it means no room with a view for renters. In addition, the proposal would block any new rentals in the historic city center, and Valencia would implement a registration process much like the other cities mentioned here.Source: Google News Spain | Netizen 24 Spain