A RENEGADE mayor has finally lived up to her campaign promise and slapped home rental websites Airbnb and HomeAway with massive fines for promoting unregistered accommodation.
It’s been a long time coming for the two global rental powerhouses who have been heavily criticised by Barcelona mayor Ada Colau for artificially inflated rents in the Catalan city.
The city hall has now levied a whopping €600,000 fine on each of the companies after raising the maximum fine available from €30,000.
Colau is a former property eviction activist who made her name fighting against ruthless landlords. Her tenure as mayor has been controversial to say the least, but is likely to influence other regions across Spain.
The unregulated home rental business is being cracked down on across the country, especially in Andalucia, the Balearics, and Valencia.
Barcelona has set the ball rolling and regional governments may feel more comfortable following through on their frequent threats to impose draconian fines on anyone renting out their homes without paying the appropriate taxes.
While Airbnb is at the height of its power in major cities across the world, it is also increasingly being used in smaller communities. One silver lining is that Barcelona elected to target the corporations sponsoring illegal rentals, rather than the property owners themselves. But it would be unwise to expect that trend to continue, especially with fines ranging up to €600,000 in the government’s weaponry.