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Barcelona mayor vows to abolish holiday lets

by editor

The mayor of the Spanish city of Barcelona has pledged to eliminate short-term tourist lets in the city within five years.

Socialist Jaume Collboni told a news conference he does not plan to renew any of the 10,101 tourist licenses granted to landlords when they expire in November 2028.

Mr Collboni said the appartments, which are currently advertised on platforms such as Airbnb and Homeaway, would be available to locals instead.

Politicians opposing the move accused him of undermining property rights.

Mr Collboni said that the measure would be “equivalent to building 10,000 new homes”.

Justifying the plan, he said rents had risen by 70% over the past 10 years and had become unaffordable.

“More supply of housing is needed, and the measures we’re presenting today are to provide more supply,” he added.

Barcelona has struggled with a limited supply of housing for years.

Politicians blame high rates of tourism as well as the city’s growing status as a tech hub attracting foreign workers.

New building has not kept up with the increased demand, driving up prices.

Reacting to Mr Collboni’s announcement, some left-wing councillors said 2028 was too far in the future for people they said were being forced out of the city now.

Janet Sanz asked: “Can we wait until 2028?”

Right-wing politicians accused Mr Collboni of undermining property rights.

“The Barcelona City Council cannot resemble Bolivarian regime,” Barcelona Popular Party leader Dani Sirera wrote, referring to the government of Venezuela, which has been accused of expropriating property.

The Association of Tourist Apartments of Barcelona said the change would lead to flats being illegally rented to tourists.

The policy was a “smokescreen” for the failure of Mr Collboni’s housing policy, it added.

In recent months, thousands have protested in parts of Spain, including the Canary Islands, against the effects of mass tourism, which they claim is damaging the environment and driving locals out.

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