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Knowing your rights and avoid real estate scams

Tourist Rentals and Illegality

Laura
Written by Laura

What is there as far as tourist rentals in Barcelona?
The city of Barcelona offers a multitude of touristic accommodations; meaning stays no longer than 31 consecutive days. This type of accommodation has been very popular for years as it offers a level of comfort superior to more traditional accommodations, such as pensions or hotels. For the same price, the tenant benefits from more space, more intimacy and can appreciate and live in the culture with more detail.

Architectural Detail of Iron Railing Balcony on Exterior of Colorful Building with Ornate Facade in Historical Poble Espanyol Museum Area, Barcelona, Spain / Photo via ShBarcelona

What does the price of a touristic stay include?
In touristic apartments, everything is included! The price is set when you make the reservation – no surprises or additional taxes. The price of the stay is calculated according to the number of people per night, as well as reservation costs, water, electricity, gas, Wifi, if the apartment has it, and the deposit (this is normally requested when you enter the apartment and it is returned upon leaving).
On the other hand, certain times of arrival, normally at night, will without a doubt be charged extra. However, this is indicated in the reservation conditions. Read all the conditions and the reservation to avoid surprises.
The apartment offers the perfect conditions for your stay – it is clean and without interior leasing. The only requirement for the tenant is that at the end of your stay, you take out the trash and washes the dishes you have used.
With this type of accommodation we try to give the comfort of a home in any other city, which you should take care of as it if were your own: take out the trash and wash the dishes. Of course, the price also includes a cleaning at the end of your stay (quantity indicated in the reservation), which leaves the apartment in perfect condition for the next tenant (floor cleaning, changed sheets and towels, etc).

Illegal touristic apartments?
Be careful – in Barcelona the law is very strict with respect to commercialization of touristic apartments. Due to the unarguable success of the city on a national level, the supply has risen to the demand of touristic accommodations and exceeds it. In some neighborhoods now it is very difficult to find a new home because large flows of tourists come in, the prices of rentals are sky high and tenant see renting to tourists as easier than renting to locals. Since 2015, the solution given by the Barcelona City Hall has been to grant touristic licenses. It is important to know that without this license, a tenant cannot legally rent an apartment as a tourist, and can earn a huge fine (30,000 euros).
It should be noted that the leaseholder wanting to rent an illegal touristic apartment is not exempt from risks. These apartments do not have a license that authorizes the landlord to rent to tourists, and can be harmful for leaseholders who, in case of a dispute with the landlord, don´t have any resources. Furthermore, this contributes to a parallel trade that hurts the economy, with locals finding it difficult to find a home. As for the landlord without a license, they end up involved in a witch hunt, given that the city council has put in action a productive and well-managed system to locate those who carry out infractions (by means of repeated surprise inspections, an Internet platform for anonymous reporting by neighbors, a free telephone number for help, investigation into known platforms such as AirBnb in which there can be illegal offers, etc.)
Today, there are more than 6000 catalogued illegal apartments with a total of 16,000 published online.

Photo via Dreamstime

Is your tenant renting your apartment illegally?
Effectively, one can try to have an illegal sublease: tenant leave for a few days and rent the apartment to another tenant. If illegal subleasing is discovered, it is up to the landlord to pay the fine of 30,000€. However, if the landlord can prove that the tenant rented the apartment without their knowledge, it is up to the tenant renting the apartment to pay the fine. In whatever case, legal measures will be taken.

Our advice:
As such, renting or subleasing an apartment illegally can be very problematic, keeping in mind the tax agency. When there is an unlicensed touristic rental and illegal sublease, it is charged as a double fraud (both are unauthorized in Barcelona).
On behalf of the agency, be sure not to fall in the trap of renting an illegal apartment. In fact, no agency will publish an unlicensed touristic apartment since it risks having to pay the same fine as the landlord. No agency assumes this risk due to their exposure. They are the first that the city council examines.
Our team is at your disposal at all times during your stay to give you the best support. We will try to satisfy your needs and do everything we can to make your experience as nice as possible.

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About the author

Laura

Laura

American journalist living temporarily in Spain. Her passions include news and feature writing, Spanish language and culture and the outdoors.

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