Madrid’s new housing sharing rules follow strict rules in Valencia and Palma – Quartz
Spain, it’s fair to say, is not a fan of Airbnb. The short-term rental giant has been partly blamed for the overtourism problem, and many locals see the crowds of tourists trying to “live like a local” as a plague.
And just as the tourist season accelerates, another destination has announced plans to reduce the listings offered on Airbnb and other similar sites. The municipal government of Madrid has announced its plans to “Preserve the residential use of buildings” by limiting the number of dwellings in the city that can be legally rented.
The new regulations, which were announced last week but are still pending approval, state that renting apartments or houses cannot be rented for more than 90 days a year. They also require that entire buildings used for short-term rentals have the same license as a hotel. In the central part of the city, tourist apartments should have their own entrance, separate from permanent residents. Some say this will result in 95% of the city short-term vacation rentals are taken off the market
Madrid is far from being the only city or region to oppose the overhaul of tourism through the sharing economy. The regional government of Valencia seeks to make similar movements, including plans to limit tourist apartments to the ground floor or first floor (to keep the ocean view for residents only) and not allow any new property in the historic city center. Palma de Mallorca, a tourist hotspot which is the capital of the popular Spanish Balearic Islands.voted for a ban on almost all short-term vacation rentals, which goes into effect in July. Meanwhile, Barcelona has a dedicated execution team to eliminate unlicensed ads. Around the world, cities like Amsterdam, New York and Reykjavik have taken similar steps.
An Airbnb spokesperson told Quartz that the company is working with authorities in Madrid and Valencia to “differentiate between ordinary professionals and families” hosting on the platform. He added that the service “is part of the solution to local housing problems in cities and helps put tourism dollars in the pockets of local families, not just wealthy hotel groups.”
So what should travelers think of using Airbnb in the face of this resistance? The most serious complaint about Airbnb and its ilk, of course, is that an influx of tourists into residential areas can artificially raise local rents or house prices.
But while this is often stated as a fact, it is difficult to prove that Airbnb had a significant effect on house prices, as each housing market has its own radically different set of variables. Bloomberg recently reported that while Airbnb ads often appear in gentrifying neighborhoods with rising house prices, “it could be mostly a coincidence: travelers may enjoy staying in trendy and emerging neighborhoods, or new trailblazers. may start offering Airbnb rentals as they move in. ”A study published in March found this a 1% increase in Airbnb listings in the US results in a 0.018% increase in local rents and a 0.026% increase in home prices. It’s still an increase, but not quite the dramatic story many critics tell.
Housing prices aren’t the only reason locals don’t like Airbnb and other short-term rental companies, however. Suitcases clogging the hallways, late-night revelers knocking on apartment doors, and tourists coming and going regardless of the neighborhood don’t help sell the concept of shared accommodation.
If you care about being a good guest at the place you are visiting, you obviously need to behave with decorum and respect for the neighbors. Also, make sure you rent a legal ad and don’t rely on the Airbnb site to eliminate issues. Research your destination restrictions beforehand and if it’s not clear whether an ad is compliant, ask the host for details. (In Barcelona, for example, hosts should be able to provide a license number if they haven’t included it in their listing.)
Yet resistance from locals to Airbnb, in Spain and elsewhere, puts the company in a difficult position. While tourism brings income and economic development – accounting for 11% of Spain’s economic output, for example – that doesn’t mean locals want all of these tourists in their apartment buildings. Airbnb started with a lofty premise, but it’s hard to sell the vibe of “global community” when there’s anti-tourist graffiti on the walls.