Residents of the Valencian neighbourhood complain about ‘tourist cages’

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tourist cages valencia

They are called ‘Jaulas de guiris’, ‘tourist cages’ or ‘cages for foreigners’; former retail spaces on the ground floor in the El Botànic district that are rented out to tourists via platforms such as Airbnb. Because the former shutters are being replaced by ‘rejas’, the wrought iron grille to prevent burglaries, they are now more reminiscent of prisons.

In just two years, many tourist homes have appeared on Turia, Borrull or Lepanto streets. Residents wonder how that is possible. Due to rising rents in the neighbourhood just east of the historic city centre, more and more traditional local shops are disappearing. Owners need something and see their opportunity on the tourist rental market. Therefore, they rent out their former shop premises through platforms such as Airbnb, where they are in great demand. A good deal for them, less pleasant for local residents.

Loss of neighbourhood identity

According to reports in local and regional media, including Antena 3 and Levante-emv.com, residents regret the loss of the neighbourhood’s local identity. That process goes extra fast if local shops also disappear. “We have lost the essence of our neighbourhood and now we´re constantly confronted with unknown people and noise at night. There is a constant coming and going of people here,” complains one of the local residents in an interview. This phenomenon not only contributes to the alienation of the original residents, but also causes nuisance, putting pressure on the quality of life in the neighbourhood.

Process of gentrification

Botànic is now subject to the same phenomenon that is plaguing the entire city: gentrification. Rents are becoming unaffordable for average earners, construction containers everywhere point to the ongoing transformations of old houses into modern tourist apartments, or the so-called ‘tourist cages’ and tourists with their typical suitcases dominate the street scene. Older residents die and heirs sell the homes with a lot of money in prospect. Entire buildings are sold to become hotels. And other buildings are evacuated and boarded up until a good business opportunity comes along. As one resident laments in levante-emv.com: “Botànic is sold to foreigners with money”. The bitter metaphor of the tourist cage shows the frustration of the population about this.

Cogesa Expats

Also read: No more new tourist rental permits in Madrid

6,000 illegal tourist apartments

The Botànic district is clearly no exception in Valencia. There are approximately 6,000 illegal tourist apartments in the city and more than 8,000 are registered on platforms such as Airbnb. Of the latter, two-thirds belong to owners with multiple properties. They often use first names such as ‘Alberto’ or ‘Natalia’ to pretend to be city residents. Tourist accommodations are also increasing noticeably in suburbs such as Benicalap and Ciutat Fallera (+106%) or in Rascanya and Torrefiel (68.9%), la Olivereta (65%) or Saïdia and Marxalenes (98%).

Temporary stop on tourist rental licenses

With this data in hand, the opposition wants a temporary freeze on tourist accommodation licenses across the city. This must stop the proliferation of tourist apartments. At the same time, the parties want to draft a specific regulation for the problem. The Compromís party wants a register of homes and a progressive tax to tax owners with multiple properties. Yet all critical voices agree on the urgency of suspending licenses.

Also read: Green light for expansion of Alicante and Valencia airports

Baycrest Wealth

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