Barcelona wants tourists to check if their Airbnb-style rentals are legal

Barcelona City Council has a message for tourists looking to visit and stay in a shared or vacation rental: first make sure it is properly licensed.

A social media campaign and its support sponsored site by the Catalan government encourages visitors to check whether the holiday listing they wish to hire is legally registered with the city. It also encourages residents to report apartments they believe are illegally rented. The online process for tourists can be done entirely in English. Naturally, there is also a hashtag: #fairtourismBCN

In line with a larger trend in SpainBarcelona has been at the forefront of issuing restrictions for Airbnb and similar sites for several years now. In 2011, the region of Catalunya has created the license that all legal vacation rentals must now carry, known as the HUT license. Then, in 2014, it completely stopped issuing new licenses; at present there is 9,600 apartments in the city who hold a property permit. Housing counselor Janet Sanz recently told the Guardian they have no plans to issue new licenses anytime soon, which would effectively limit the vacation rental market.

The government says it has closed as many as 2,000 illegal registrations with muscles execution teams. They also struck a deal with Airbnb to remove illegal ads of his platform following a protracted battle and taking a sum not yet paid €600,000 ende. However, officials believe their job is not done, as many other sites also offer vacation rentals illegally.

As a government fair tourism website states:

Unfortunately, for all its legal accommodation available, Barcelona also has a range of illegal accommodation that not only harms the people who rent them – depriving them of their right to complain about any incident and depriving them of the additional services they otherwise have law – but also the city itself, because it creates speculation and illicit economies and its activities leave nothing positive for local neighbors, causing nuisance and complaints.

If you are visiting Barcelona, ​​we need your commitment and cooperation to prevent the proliferation of this illicit economy in our city and the irresponsible, economically unsustainable and environmentally unfriendly tourism it encourages.

As it was well documented, While the “live like a local” travel ethos enabled by the internet age has served adventure-hungry travelers, it hasn’t always been so good for true locals. Use of the fair tourism website is of course not mandatory, but it is clear that municipal authorities place part of the responsibility for responsible tourism on tourists, and not just on travel agencies like Airbnb or tour operators. .

In terms of the seemingly intractable battle against overtourism, appealing to travelers’ sense of ethics is a notable step — and one that travelers should watch for other cities to emulate.

Quartz has contacted Airbnb and will update this post if they respond.

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