SPAIN’s crackdown on unregulated tourist holiday rentals has been dealt a blow as a Catalan court annulled Barcelona’s €30,000 fine on accommodation platform Airbnb.
The city has been at the forefront of efforts to regulate and tax online platforms and homeowners which rent out properties to tourists out-with the legal framework of hotels and hostels for several years.
Andalucia, Valencia and the Balearics have all followed suit, demanding that people who rent out their homes register with the state and be incorporated into some kind of legal framework i.e pay taxes.
But only Barcelona has actually imposed the various draconian fines on offenders and punished Airbnb, a global company that has transformed the tourist industry, for advertising properties for rental which hadn’t been registered with the authorities.
The city has a serious problem with landlords deciding to rent out their homes on a short-term basis to tourists, raking in upwards of €100 a night rather than issuing long-term rentals to local families at a far lower profit.
But the court has now ruled that the new phenomenon of tourist rentals cannot be dealt with by punitive fines in lieu of an alternative. What this means for the rest of the country is unclear.
The gargantuan fines promised to expats who rent out their homes to tourists unlawfully will probably be put on the backburner, but not everyone has access to a crack California legal team and there are plenty of penalties under €30,000 that homeowners might face.