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Barcelona’s mayor vows to abolish short-term holiday lets by 2028 | World News

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The mayor of Barcelona has vowed to abolish short-term holiday lets in the Spanish city.

On Friday, Jaume Collboni, the city’s mayor, said he would ban apartment rentals to tourists by 2028 in an unexpectedly drastic move.

It comes as the city struggles to grapple with soaring housing costs, making it unliveable for residents.

Mr Collboni said by November 2028 the city would scrap the licences of 10,101 apartments currently approved as short-term rentals.

This, he said at a news conference, would help them confront “Barcelona’s largest problem” as the apartments would become available to locals instead.

Over the past 10 years, rents have risen 68% in the city, and the cost of buying a house by 38%, according to Mr Collboni.

Barcelona is Spain’s most visited city by foreign tourists and lack of access to housing has become a driver of inequality, especially among the young, he warned.

The city’s mayor later added on social media: “We want to guarantee the right to live in Barcelona and deal effectively with the housing crisis we have been suffering for years. For this reason, from the town hall, we act.”

Spain’s national government benefits from tourism, but residents in the Catalonian city are being priced out, with gentrification and over-tourism already hot topics in Spain.

The country’s Balearic Islands have recently seen thousands of protesters march against mass tourism.

Spain’s socialist housing minister Isabel Rodriguez said she supported Barcelona’s decision.

“It’s about making all the necessary efforts to guarantee access to affordable housing,” she posted on X.

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Barcelona’s tourist apartments association APARTUR claimed the ban would trigger a rise in illegal tourist apartments.

It said: “Collboni is making a mistake that will lead to (higher) poverty and unemployment.”

The city’s local government said in a statement it would maintain its “strong” inspection regime to detect potential illegal tourist apartments once the ban comes into force.

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And Barcelona Popular Party leader Dani Sirera said: “The Barcelona City Council cannot resemble the Bolivarian regimes” – in reference to the Venezuelan government which has been accused of expropriating property.

However, hotels stand to benefit from the move and Mr Collboni signalled he could relax previous restrictions banning the opening of new hotels.

No new tourist apartments have been allowed in the city in recent years.

The local government has ordered the shutting of 9,700 illegal tourist apartments since 2016 and close to 3,500 apartments have been recovered to be used as primary housing for local residents, it said.

Local governments in places like Lisbon, Berlin and Spain’s Canary Islands have also announced restrictions on short-term rentals.

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