Industry news: Barcelona to ban short-term rentals

Esther Plant

Industry News, Travel News

Mayor Jaume Collboni has announced that Barcelona, Spain, will ban short-term rentals in the city, effective from 2029. This plan stems from the negative impact of mass tourism and the belief that it has led to housing shortages and rising rent costs in the area. According to The Guardian, rent prices have risen by 68% in Barcelona, and the cost of purchasing a home has increased by 38%.

Existing rental licences will cease to be renewed, and new licences will no longer be issued, with the goal that in five years’ time no properties will be rented out as tourist accommodation. This means that the 10,101 apartments currently registered as tourist rentals will likely drop throughout this period, with their purpose transitioning to either long-term rentals, second homes, or permanent homes if they are sold off to residents.

Collboni has stated that “more supply of housing is needed”, and that this plan should benefit the middle class currently having to vacate the city as they cannot afford housing. Labelled as a turning point, this disruption to tourism in the area has been described as the “most aggressive stance towards short-stay apartments” yet.

Tourists on a street in Barcelona
Tourists in Barcelona, courtesy of Unsplash

On social media, many are hailing this decision as a positive response to a growing issue within Europe. Although, counter arguments, notably from Apartur (Barcelona’s tourist apartments association), suggest that this decision will spark greater levels of poverty and unemployment in the city. According to the Barcelona Tourism Observatory, 16 million tourists visited Barcelona in 2023 alone, and thus changes to these tourism levels will greatly impact the local and national economy.  

Set to benefit from these new plans are hotels, whose own restrictions will supposedly ease in affect with the new short-term rental limitations.

This action has sparked debate within both the hospitality industry and associations dedicated to lowering tourism levels, with arguments for and against these plans taking shape. Other key locations have already taken action against short-term rentals to a lesser degree than this proposal (Canary Islands, Lisbon, Berlin). It remains to be seen if future restrictions will follow Barcelona’s example by taking an equally severe stance.

Whilst the exact impact that this decision will have on business travel is impossible to predict, rest assured that Situ will continuously strive to promote sustainable travel, as well as keep our clients informed of evolving issues in the sector.