Spain severely cracked down on Airbnb last week

If you’ve got a vacation coming up in Barcelona (or Madrid, or Mallorca, or Valencia, or Andalucia … so like half of Spain) and you’re staying at an Airbnb, listen carefully. Over the past week, provinces across the country have proposed new roommates and vacation rental regulations that could put a damper on your next vacation. While the new regulations are not officially laws Again, they are shaking up the rental market and could result in the removal of 95% of downtown Madrid Airbnbs from the site over the next year.

Most cities (including Barcelona and Madrid) have a licensing program like the one in Paris, but illegal and unregistered shared flats remain on the site, try as Airbnb could remove them. It is up to the host to register an apartment or vacation home with the local or federal government (the detail here is attractive thoroughness). Where are you entering? Be aware that booking a night or two at an illegal Airbnb can lead to unpleasant surprises and possibly a last minute cancellation. To stay ahead of the game, check out Airbnb’s help site, which has a fairly comprehensive explanation of big city regulations (like new York and Paris) and talk to your host. Ask your host on any vacation rental site you use, from Airbnb to HomeAway, to provide a license number (if the local government requires it) if you are concerned about an upcoming vacation.

That said, a number of cities are going far beyond simply requesting a listing – and some are banning View Airbnbs or requiring separate entry from residents. Here’s how cities across the country are treating Airbnbs.

Palma de Mallorca

Mallorca and Ibiza in the Balearic Islands have had a complicated history with Airbnb. Over the past two years, the local government has fined hosts and Airbnb thousands of dollars for failing to register homes with city officials. This week, Mallorca, in particular, offered to eliminate a lot (a lot, a lot) of existing Airbnb listings.

From July, apartment advertisements will be completely banned and only entire single-family homes will be allowed to be rented out, as long as they are not “on protected land, in an area around the airport or buildings not intended for residential use”, reports Reuters. Hosts will still need a valid license. El Pais reports that of the more than 20,000 listings in the region, just under 700 Airbnbs are properly registered. That said, if the site picks up any soon-to-be illegal listings, many homes available in apartments in Palma will have to cancel their peak season bookings in July, August, and September.


Last summer, locals protested against tourists, unhappy that their city was overrun with visitors. Many local officials also believe Airbnb’s presence has contributed to soaring house prices in the city, a claim that Airbnb globally denies with his own housing studies. More than 95% of Airbnbs in Madrid would be considered illegal according to new proposals by the city’s secretary for sustainable planning José Manuel Calvo, The Local reports. While not yet approved by the city government, the proposal would limit apartment rentals to less than 90 days per year on sites like Airbnb.

Restrictions get even more serious in downtown – Airbnbs there would need a designated entrance separate of that used by Spanish residents, preventing all but a few ground floor apartments from being evicted from the site. Currently, only six percent of all downtown apartments are used as rentals, reports the Local, a number that will surely drop as more people are deemed illegal under the new proposal.


As I reported last week, the regional government of Valencia leaves each city in the province to decide its own regulations, a political headache for Airbnb. In response, city officials in Valencia have proposed limiting new vacation rentals to ground-floor and first-floor apartments, much like in Madrid. So, in a city known for its Mediterranean views, that means no room with a view for tenants. Additionally, the proposal would block any new rentals in the historic city center, and Valencia would implement a registration process much like the other cities mentioned here.

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