Why is Barcelona banning holiday apartments?

The city’s mayor has announced all licences for holiday rentals will be revoked in 2028 – here’s what we know about the policy

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly
Contributing Writer
Platges de Barcelona
ShutterstockPlatges de Barcelona

Barcelona is a must-see city –  it’s Spain’s most visited destination by foreign tourists, and with all the art galleries, food, beaches and bars, it’s not hard to see why. 

However, sky-high visitor numbers have caused frustration among locals for years, and anti-tourism activists in the city have just won a huge victory. That’s because Jaume Collboni, the city’s socialist mayor, has just announced a drastic measure which will see all holiday licences revoked in November 2028. 

Yes, you read that right. Every short-let apartment in the city – of which there are around 10,000 – will no longer be bookable for tourists after that date. 

This is obviously pretty bad news for holiday rental platforms like Airbnb and, and not everyone is here for it. ‘Collboni is making a mistake that will lead to [higher] poverty and unemployment,’ said Barcelona’s tourist apartments association Apartur, according to the Guardian, and they claim the ban will just lead to more illegal tourist apartments. 

And while Barcelona might enjoy the economic benefits of welcoming so many visitors, the decision has been made for good reason: to alleviate pressure on the housing market. 

‘We cannot allow it that most young people who leave home are forced to leave Barcelona,’ Collborni told the Olive Press, ‘The measures we have taken will not change the situation in one day … but we are reaching a turning point.’

According to Collboni, over the last 10 years the price of renting in Barcelona has soared by 68 percent, and the price of buying has risen by 38 percent. This measure essentially means there will be 10,000 new homes available in the city. 

Officials say that because they’ve been given more than four years of warning, landlords will be compensated for the ban. 

Other changes have been announced too. As the measure means tourists will rely on hotels more, the city is expected to go back on a previous rule that saw a clampdown on new hotels between 2015 and 2023. Collboni also outlined plans to force constructors of any new homes to allocate 30 percent to social housing. 

So, whether news of this scheme sounds inconvenient or long overdue, finding somewhere to live in Barcelona should hopefully get a whole load easier for locals. 

Madrid recently announced a ban on new holiday rentals to curb overtourism, too – you can read more about that here

Did you see that the ‘Most Sustainable Souvenir Shop in the World’ just opened in this European city?

Plus: This is the official opening date for Time Out Market Barcelona

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