Shortly after suffering setbacks as a result of a crackdown initiated by Berlin on illegal rentals in the city, Airbnb once again finds itself in a similar predicament as Barcelona initiates a renewed crackdown of its own for the same purpose.
In a city that prides itself as one of Spain’s tourism hotspots, Airbnb claims it generates over €5,100 in annual income for a typical local host.
The company says it has over 21,000 property listings in the city which — based on what it claims as the average annual earnings of a typical host in Barcelona — should generate millions in revenues from rentals alone for the locals in the city.
But the record-high inflation of rend and mounting complaints from other rental establishments proved to be enough grounds for Barcelona’s city government to put its foot down on home-sharing apps like Airbnb earlier last year.
A series of crackdowns resulted in fines imposed and even stricter rental regulations being applied by the city’s local government.
Following its initial announcement on a stern enforcement of city regulations on rentals, Barcelona’s local government slapped home-sharing platforms and related businesses with stern penalties.
The city initially imposed a fine of €60,000 on companies running platforms that it accused of promoting illegal rentals, which it defines as properties being rented out without the due registration required by the government.
Barcelona’s local government requires properties being used for the purpose of rentals to be registered under the Catalan Tourism Register (RTC).
But because of the recent inflation in rental rates, the city government placed and extended a temporary cap on the annual number of new registrations for local rentals.
Airbnb, along with Expedia’s HomeAway, were fined the amount of €60,000 for promoting illegal rentals in the city last year.
With its renewed efforts to crackdown on rentals not registered with the RTC, however, the city government decided to implement a sterner penalty of €600,000 — ten times the original amount it charged last year.
The city council also called on its local residents to report properties that they suspect are being rented out illegally.
For this purpose, the local government has set up a dedicated hotline and a website that allows users to check whether or not a property is being rented out illegally, as well as the tool to report those who are found to be in violation of the local government rules.
In addition to this, Barcelona’s local government also extended efforts to encourage residents to report violators via announcements delivered through a mailshot.
Barcelona and Berlin are not the only world-renowned tourist destinations to initiate a crackdown on home-sharing apps like Airbnb.
Both Paris and Miami Beach also carried out similar crackdowns of their own, although both cities seem to still fall short in comparison to Barcelona’s efforts to shoot down Airbnb.
Paris seemed to have only went as far as releasing a map of tourist rentals in the city which it considers legal, while Miami Beach — despite imposing a whopping $20,000 fine on property owners who rent out space for less than six months — has not really exhausted all its efforts on cracking down on home-sharing app rentals.
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