Valencia closes 166 illegal tourist apartments

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illegal tourist apartments

To combat the extreme proliferation of apartments for tourist rental, the municipality of Valencia has introduced stricter controls. The result of this is that 166 illegal tourist apartments have now been closed.

Like many other tourist hotspots in Spain, the city of Valencia is also struggling with the problems resulting from excessive tourist interest. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find a regular rental apartment for the long term and slum landlords who enrich themselves through the tourist rental market are becoming more dominant on the supply side. It is practically impossible for the ordinary person to find a rental home for a ‘normal’ amount. They are moving away from the centre, and now also all the neighbourhoods immediately adjacent to it, are increasingly turning into a place where everything is aimed at tourists.

The order to close the illegally operated holiday homes is part of a comprehensive action against unregulated rental of tourist accommodations. It can’t be a surprise. At the start of her term of office, Mayor María José Catalá indicated that she wanted to tackle illegal holiday homes in her city as a priority.

Explosive growth

The number of holiday homes in the eastern Spanish city already rose to 10,000 last March. That is an increase of 38.6% compared to a year ago. That is evident from data provided by the organisation Visit Valencia. The Valencian Councillor for Urban Planning and Housing, emphasised that the number of 166 complaints is more than double the total number of complaints in 2022, which stood at 73. It is not yet certain that the orders to cease activities at the 166 homes in question will actually lead to closure.

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Peripheral neighbourhoods are also in the spotlight

The figures are not only worrying in the city centre. In the peripheral neighbourhoods, the number of tourist apartments has grown by no less than 67% in the past year. The mayor of Valencia is considering stopping, following Madrid’s lead, in granting new permits for homes for tourist use in the city. The municipality of Madrid decided to do this in April. Also to prevent the proliferation of tourist accommodations.

AI used in the search for illegal homes

In January, the municipality announced that it would use AI and chatbots in the search for illegal tourist homes. To this end, bots are programmed with artificial algorithms to scour tourist accommodation booking sites and compare their offers with the official list of Valencian accommodations. Every deviation found was visited by the inspectors.

Also read: Valencian residents compaint about tourist cages

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