Barcelona clamps down on informal holiday rentals

City council says 7,000 unlicensed holiday rentals in Barcelona.

Barcelona has launched a crackdown on illegal, unlicensed apartments used for holiday rentals, increasing the city's number of inspectors and issuing fines of up to €60,000 for those caught flouting the rules.

The council says that the city has around 16,000 holiday rentals of which almost 7,000 are unlicensed.

The dominant platform in Barcelona for informal rentals of apartments or rooms is website and app Airbnb which was fined €600,000 by the city last year for advertising unlicensed flats.

Opponents of the San Francisco-based company claim its rentals are taking property off the longer-term rental market, driving up rents and pushing residents out of certain areas.

Airbnb says that many of its home owners are renting out rooms out of economic necessity but Barcelona city council claims that a lot of the rental operators own several properties.

The city currently has 40 inspectors hunting down rogue rentals, with plans to raise the number on the beat to 100 next year.