That lástima! Airbnb fined $ 40,000 for ‘illegal’ rental in Barcelona

Airbnb is once again in regulatory difficulty. This time: he is accused of illegally listing properties in Barcelona.

Apparently Airbnb, the service that allows ordinary people to rent their homes to visitors, has authorized the list of properties that cannot legally be rented to tourists according to local laws. As a result, he was slapped with a fine of € 30,000 (just over $ 40,000) from the Catalan government, according to a Guardian report.

Concretely, the violation of the law stems from the fact that apartments rented to tourists must be registered with the Tourism Register of Catalonia and the rental of rooms in private residences is in fact illegal in the region. Airbnb was launched in Catalan last April.

Apart from the actual regulatory violations, Airbnb rentals in Barcelona also cause tension among residents. While renting their apartments or rooms helps some residents make ends meet (a recent study commissioned by Airbnb found that 75% of Barcelona hosts earn an income at or below the average income in Catalonia), it does. anger others. Disgruntled residents say they have no choice but to live primarily in a hotel due to the ever-changing roster of neighbors and frequent parties from these tourists.

“In many cases the apartments are used as a party venue,” Reme Gómez, of the Barrí Gòtic Neighbors Association of the Gothic Quarter, told The Guardian.

“Tourist apartments force the rest of us to live in a hotel, but without any of the same conditions. If you’re in a hotel and it’s 2 a.m. and the other customers are too loud or vomiting in the stairwell, you can call someone to take care of it. Here no, ”she said.

But some Barcelona residents love Airbnb. Last week, 200 Airbnb hosts in Barcelona marched in the streets, claiming that renting their place helps them earn extra money and even keep the places they rent.

This is not Airbnb’s first confrontation with local authorities over the legality of its service or some of the properties that use it. Last fall, for example, the New York City attorney general hit the service with a subpoena for the 225,000 of its users in the city. The GA’s office suspected that some of the hosts were illegally renting their homes, as it is illegal to do so unless one fully owns the unit. After months of back and forth, the two parties came to an agreement: Airbnb would publish the data but it would be anonymized. Airbnb will only be required to produce identifying information of hosts that the city is investigating or are subject to “potential enforcement action.”

Last month, the Catalan government also announced fines of up to € 6,000 for drivers who use the Uber rideshare app.

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