WHILE illegal tourist rentals in Andalucia and the Costa Blanca typically see individuals leasing their homes temporarily to raise extra income, in Barcelona the arrival of giant multinational accommodation platforms like Airbnb has created severe social upheaval in the Catalan city.
Millions of tourists are using the website each year, encouraging landlords to significantly raise rental prices to compete, leading to speculation and the pricing of locals out of their city.
Mayor Ada Colau is now attempting to crack down on the situation by reducing the supply of tourist rentals and getting rid of illegal rentals altogether.
It is no longer possible to get a licence for short-term rentals to tourists and last week the city authorities unveiled a plan that will see enormous €600,000 fines for companies if they allow property owners to list their homes without a proper licence.
The plan will also see local residents asked whether they have seen any illegal tourist rentals in their city, and tourists on the street may even be asked where they are staying.
Balancing the interests of tourism and the rights of local citizens is fast becoming a key issue for many Spanish cities and towns strongly reliant on the tourist economy but eager to prevent it from overwhelming the needs of residents.