Navigating Barcelona's Upcoming Airbnb Ban: What Short-Term Rental Owners Need to Know

Barcelona has disclosed its plans to enact a total ban on all the short term rentals, including those listed in Airbnb, VRBO and by the year 2029. With this huge step, the city authorities are aiming at solving two major problems simultaneously: housing affordability and the negative consequences of excessive tourism for local communities. For those homeowners that provide rental services for short periods of time, it is vital to know how to survive under these conditions and reorient their business.

Barcelona saw their first Airbnb’s coming in 2009. Which grew rapidly to over 20,000 listings in 2016. Not only Barcelona saw this significant increase, many other European cities where missing regulations for  vacation flats. This investigation resulted in inflationary pressures on rents and housing scarcity. Putting pressure on long-term residential properties as investors were turning them into money making short term rentals. As this affected Barcelona, it introduced various measures designed for controlling tourism effects on housing accessibility and pricing levels including a comprehensive ban on private room rentals in the year 2019.

Barcelona is going further! 

With the private room ban in place, Barcelona still saw prices drive up, and short-term rental nights increasing. Hotels are complaining, and residents can’t find affordable housing. As a result, local communities have also felt the impact, with rising discontent resulting in anti-tourism protests highlighting the adverse effects of the influx of tourists on everyday life. 

With protests happening more often, city officials had to act. With the aim of restoring balance and maintaining livability in the city. Bringing back the pleasure to life in Barcelona. Therefore, a new set of measures will be gradually introduced over the next years. Resulting in a full ban of Short Term Rentals in 2029.

What to expect in the next years, a timeline of events leading to the 2029 Ban:

  • 2024-2025: Initial Announcement and Public Consultation

    • Official announcement of the ban.

    • Period for public consultation and feedback on the proposed measures (POLITICO).

  • 2025-2026: Gradual Implementation of New Regulations

    • Phased introduction of stricter licensing requirements for short-term rentals.

    • Increased enforcement actions and penalties for non-compliance (InsideHook).

  • 2026-2027: Further Restrictions and Monitoring

    • Enhanced monitoring of illegal listings and compliance checks. (Forbes

    • Public awareness campaigns to inform property owners and tourists about the upcoming changes.

  • 2027-2028: Finalization of the Ban

    • Finalization of legal frameworks and complete phase-out of new short-term rental licenses.

    • Continued enforcement and legal actions against non-compliant properties. (luxury Travel Diva)

  • 2029: Full Ban in Effect

    • Official start of the comprehensive ban on all short-term rentals for tourists.

    • Transition plans for existing rental properties to comply with new regulations. (Euronews)

Although there are years ahead before the ban becomes in play. Understanding and preparing for Barcelona’s upcoming Airbnb, VRBO, ban is crucial to understand the impending and yearly changing regulations, it can help mitigate the financial and operational impact. Invest time in reading the new regulations and see how you and your business can adapt to them. At HolidayHero we will keep a close eye on the rules and regulations and will continue to report them through our blog.