Tourism problems in Barcelona: a Barcelona woman forced to occupy her own apartment after listing on Airbnb | Economy and business

A woman in Barcelona has been forced to illegally occupy her own apartment after the tenant she rented to unknowingly listed it on vacation rental website Airbnb. Montse Pérez only managed to take control of his property, located in the popular seaside district of Barceloneta, after booking it on the online platform, moving in and then changing the locks, according to the Catalan regional daily. La Vanguardia.

A protest against Airbnb in the suburb of Barceloneta in Barcelona.MASSIMILIANO MINOCRI

The problems started when Pérez’s family signed a lease renting the apartment to a 26-year-old man. This contract included a clause prohibiting the lessee from subletting the property for tourist accommodation purposes. But after the document was signed, the family were unable to contact the tenant, later finding out their property was now listed on Airbnb.

According to Pérez’s daughter, the tenant belongs to an organization that specializes in this type of fraud. The group rented other apartments in Barcelona for the same purposeby paying €950 a month and then listing rental properties on Airbnb for €200 a night, she said.

City Hall says Airbnb is the only rental site still listing unlicensed properties

The San Francisco-based portal was quick to react to news of the case, removing the offending apartment from its books and blaming the tenant who had offered it through its site. The company has also asked all ‘hosts’, as people who list accommodation on the portal are called, to ‘certify that they have permission to list a property’ and to ‘verify and ensure that they follow local laws.”

“These provisions are very clear in our Terms of Service and on our page about being a responsible host,” the company said.

But Airbnb’s response has not gone down well with Barcelona City Hall, which is embroiled in a long-running battle with the company over the issue of unlicensed vacation rentals, even fining it €600,000. to the company for the management of these announcements.

On Wednesday, Barcelona city councilor Janet Sanz said she planned to visit Montse Pérez and said Airbnb was the only platform that continues to post property listings without the relevant documents.

“The message to Airbnb is clear: enough is enough. The question is no longer who is right or wrong: the problem is that Airbnb is hurting locals by not wanting to respect the law and [hurting] small owners. Those who do not comply [with the law] are going to come up against an administration that is on the side of the residents and defends their rights,” Sanz said.

Pérez’s daughter says family fell victim to scam affecting other properties in Barcelona

On Thursday, Pérez was still in his apartment in Barceloneta, according to La Vanguardia. The newspaper said its coverage of the story revealed other cases, with readers writing to say they had been victims of a similar fraud.

Vacation rentals are big business in Spain, where they now offer more beds than hotels, according to a recent Exceltur study, the industry trade association. But the growth of the sector in Barcelona, ​​which is closely linked to the city’s tourism boom, has led to friction between companies like Airbnb and the city authorities as well as locals. Many residents complain of being shut out of the local rental market by people engaged in property speculation.

English version by George Mills.

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