Student Residences that accommodates tourists will be fined up to €600,000 for breaching the law
Prosecutors of Barcelona City Council have been investigating illegal tourist floors in Barcelona and have now found evidence of a growing number of student residences posing as tourist accommodations. The local council have reported that, within the last few months, over fifteen residences that were allegedly intended for students, have been admitting tourists of all ages who were spending a few days in the city into their residence. The lodging was also openly advertised on their websites and was easily accessible to the public through popular internet platforms
The 15 cases of illegal tourist accommodations were then identified in many different areas of the city: four have been found in the district of Ciutat Vella, one in Eixample and in Les Corts, two in Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, four in Gràcia and one in Horta-Guinardò; followed by two more residencies in the Melon district.
The city council had then announced that, within the following days, they would have implement a regulation that would restrict Student residences to illegally operate as tourist lodging apartments and will solely accommodate students. The deputy Mayor of Urban Planning, Janet Sanz has explained that, companies legally identified as student residences “Are only allowed to act as such, as the buildings were originally built for the specific purpose of accommodating students”. The council officially declared that business who exercise tourist activities without a license would be fined from 30,000 euros up to 600,000 euros.
The first cases reported by the City Council was about the student residences in the Melon District. The landlords were notified in July to stop the illegal activity, though, this resulted in the owners filing claims that requested a precaution stay of the tourists. The claim was then dismissed by the court and the council then filed the corresponding bans and fined the business between 30,000 euros up to 600,000 euros.
The same process will be done with the remaining 13 residences. The amount of the fines they will receive is based on the economic benefit they gained through the illegal activity.
79 closed tourist floors
By the 31 of October, the council delivered over 709 cease-and-desist orders to tourist apartments, followed by 2943 open records by the municipal inspectors. Though the regulation that the government implemented helped identify many illegal residences, only 79 of them stopped operating after the order.
To detect the highest amount of illegal tourist floors, the council delivered 807,000 letters to the citizens of Barcelona, inviting them to reveal the residences who are illegally welcoming tourists. To do so, they installed a free telephone and a website for the people to access and share what they knew to the council.
After putting the plan into practice, the government received 2360 communication from both the internet, phone calls as well as other channels. This then helped the prosecutors to check the owners’ licenses and initiate sanctions procedures.
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