Barcelona decides to ban short term tourism rentals

Barcelona decides to ban short term tourism rentals

Barcelona city council has announced a radical plan to rid the city of its roughly 10,000 tourist flat licences over the next five years, according to local media reports.

The measure seeks to address the growing national housing crisis, which is particularly acute in touristic cities such as Barcelona. It will prioritise residential over tourist use in one of Europe's most visited cities.

The plan reflects a global trend of cities beginning to combat the effects of mass tourism on local life.

The decision grants the Catalan city's authorities the power to regulate tourist flats in their municipalities. Barcelona has not granted new licences since 2014, when it froze supply at 9,600 units, although some subsequent cases are pending court decisions.

The city has experienced big rises in housing rents as the supply of housing for local residents has declined in the last decade.

Jaume Collboni, the city's mayor, described the measures as "a turning point" in tackling the problem of access to housing, especially for young people. He acknowledged that the results will not be immediate, but believes they will open an important political and social debate.

"We want to guarantee the right to live in Barcelona and deal effectively with the housing crisis we have been suffering for years," he tweeted.

Meanwhile the deputy mayor, Laia Bonet, stated that the five-year period before the licences expire will act as a form of compensation for landlords.