Barcelona has imposed a hefty fine of €420,000 on the owner of a building located in the Ciutat Vella district. He received this fine for continuously renting almost all the apartments on his property as tourist accommodations.
These apartments were predominantly situated within a single building in the popular Ciutat Vella district (the old town). The owner illegally rented the accommodations out to tourists.
Stringent measures by the municipality
Albert Batlle, the Deputy Mayor of Security and Councilor for Ciutat Vella explained the matter during a press conference. He said the fine was the result of “a lengthy investigation conducted by the municipal police and district inspection services.”
“This is quite an exemplary fine for this owner,” said Batlle. The owner had been renting out all the apartments in the building as tourist accommodations, except one apartment. This was occupied by a tenant with an old lease agreement, who was responsible for receiving tourists and managing the key exchange.
The €420,000 fine comes after an extensive investigation and monitoring, revealing that the owner had been evading penalties by arguing that he was legally renting the apartments. Furthermore, he claimed that his tenants deceived him by renting out the apartments to tourists.
“He had the system well-prepared,” said Batlle, adding that the fined owner consistently found a way to justify his actions and evade penalties.
Activity on tourist platforms
The building is located at number 24 Calle Ample in Barcelona. Here, the owner had been renting up to 14 of the apartments. He was advertising these as tourist accommodations through platforms like ‘Booking’ and ‘Airbnb’. This was illegal because the owner did not possess the required permit for this activity.
The owner regularly shuffled the apartments on these platforms with different names, photos, and hosts to circumvent inspections. The authorities considered these illegal tourist rentals a very serious violation, resulting in a €420,000 fine. The fine was calculated based on the estimated profit derived from his illegal activities, along with other aggravating factors specified in Catalonia’s tourism law.
Furthermore, the Barcelona municipality plans to provide all information from the case to the tax authorities. They expect Hacienda to hold the owner accountable if necessary.
Strict consequences for illegal tourist rentals
Lately, Barcelona Town Hall has been severely penalising illegal tourist rentals. Herewith, emphasise the importance of compliance with regulations in this field. The city has long grappled with overtourism, causing inconvenience to its permanent residents.