Barcelona to abolish holiday flats amid housing crisis

June 22, 2024 02:08 | News

In a drastic move to resolve its acute housing shortage, the northeastern Spanish city of Barcelona plans to abolish holiday flat rentals by the end of 2028. 

All flats that are currently legally rented out to tourists for short-term stays will then be available for use by residents, Barcelona’s mayor Jaume Collboni said on Friday. 

“From 2029, the city of Barcelona will no longer have holiday flats as we know them today. And this will allow us to put 10,000 homes on the rental or sales market,” Collboni said at a press conference. 

This will be “the equivalent of building 10,000 flats,” the socialist politician stressed. 

The mayor noted that rental prices in Barcelona – the capital of Catalonia – have risen by almost 70 per cent in the last 10 years and purchase prices by about 40 per cent. 

The city council therefore felt compelled to take drastic measures by decree in order to guarantee access to affordable housing. 

Existing licences will not be renewed once they expire. 

“We cannot allow the majority of young people who want to leave their parents’ home to be forced to leave Barcelona,” Collboni said. 

This measure would not end the housing shortage overnight, according to Collboni: “These problems take time. But with this measure, we are marking a turning point.” 

Resentment towards mass tourism is growing rapidly in Spain. 

There have recently been major protests in tourist strongholds such as Barcelona, Mallorca and the Canary Islands. 

The increasing number of visitors is blamed in particular for the lack of affordable housing but also for environmental destruction, traffic jams, overcrowding, price rises and water shortages as well as overloading the health sector and waste disposal.

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