1000 illegal apartments taken down from the famous platform, Airbnb, after “bed protest” in the center of Barcelona to raise awareness of risks of renting unlicensed apartments.
On Tuesday 15th August 2017, Airbnb was in force to pull 1000 illegal listings of apartments around Barcelona.
Barcelona is currently practicing a “One-host, One-home” policy called ‘Vivienda de Uso Turístico’. This means that if home owners want to rent their property for less than 31 days, then they are in requirement to hold a license. These are limited due to Barcelona’s mayor, Ada Colau, fiercely cracking down on the mass tourism which has been affecting local families. Limiting and reducing the number of licenses has a direct effect on the number of tourists that are able to stay in the area and visit.
Raise awareness of risks of renting unlicensed apartments
City Hall previously placed beds in specific locations around the center to send the message to be careful of renting online. The message was signposted in multiple languages stating that ‘just because this bed is available on the internet doesn’t mean it is legal’. But how much did this warning impact sites such as Airbnb and HomeAway? Well, who’s to know! However, it has definitely become clear now that Airbnb was allowing a large number of illegal properties on their site. And they are now experiencing the repercussions. It is fair to say that this warning would only reach tourists that are already in the area, not to tourists booking online from other countries before their holiday begins. Therefore, this message may not seem effective due to the location of the ideal target audience.
The over population of tourists in the area has become widely spoken about. And it is a growing problem here since locals have taken to voicing their opinions and issues through vandalism. One way in which the locals have retaliated has been by destroying rental bicycle tires. There has also been an incident where they have put graffiti on a touristic bus and another where there were some locals caught urinating in the corners of the Festa Major de Gràcia.
Top Tip! If you are going to Barcelona, ensure you do a good accommodation research and choose a safe and legal home!
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Photo credits: elpais.com