Catalonia issues pro-home-sharing decree

Spain: The provincial government of Catalonia has approved a tourism decree legally recognising home-sharing and a wide variety of other short-term rental activity.

Airbnb praised the decision in a statement, calling it welcome news for Catalan hosts who currently use the platform to supplement their incomes.

The status of short-term rentals in Spain has been in flux since March 2019, as a Spanish government law designed to protect renters allowed owners to impose limits on short-term rentals in a building. Barcelona introduced a set of stringent rental controls two months later, demanding landlords negotiate leases within a particular framework set to various prices determined by the quality of the neighbourhood.

The company was required initially to remove thousands of rentals in December after a court ruled that its lack of registration information displayed placed the company against provincial law. Airbnb initially argued that, as it is a platform, it was not responsible for compliance with local regulation, instead placing the burden on local owners.

Airbnb hopes that a new focus on home-sharing will allow tourists to spread out from tourist districts, citing that three out of four properties in Barcelona are outside the city centre. Furthermore, it highlights the potential boost Catalonia may see, as the platform added €5 million each year to the area’s economy.

The statement said: “As we move forward, we want to continue to be good partners to everyone in Catalonia and work together to ensure everyone benefits from home-sharing on Airbnb based on our experience of working with more than 500 governments and organisations around the world.”

Airbnb further reiterated its commitment to working with both local hosts and local authorities to remove “bad” actors and to ensure the following of regulations. The company further hopes to promote sustainable tourism in the region moving forward.