Carmena to Outlaw 95% of Madrid’s Tourist Apartments

27 July 2018 – Expansión

The days are numbered for tourist apartments in the centre of Madrid. Yesterday, the Town Hall of Madrid gave the green light to legislation that will put a limit on holiday rentals: 90 days or three months, is the maximum term that a person may rent their home for those purposes. From day 91 onwards, owners will need to have a commercial lodging licence, just like hotels.

Yesterday, the Spanish capital’s Governing Body approved the Special Plan for the Regulation of the Use of Lodgings, which will apply to the city’s most central neighbourhoods. The plan is expected to enter into force at the beginning of 2019, after being approved by the plenary session in October.

The Town Hall led by the mayor Manuela Carmena is also going to prohibit the operation of all homes destined to tourist rental that do not have an independent entrance, like in the case of hotels. According to the Town Hall, with that requirement, “95% of homes that operate as tourist apartments will no longer be able to do so”.

“Specifically, the affected radius will span 52.7 km, distributed in three concentric rings, depending on the massification of the ads. According to the Town Hall, in the rest of the municipality, “the existing legislation will be maintained”. Madrid is, in fact, the European capital where the number of adverts on these platforms has grown by the most, up by 67% in 2017 with respect to 2016, according to a report from Colliers International.

With this legislation, Madrid’s Town Hall is opening a new chapter in the fight between public administrations and tourist apartments. Its intention is to outlaw almost all of the tourist apartments that are advertised on platforms such as Airbnb in the centre of the city.

The prohibition is tacit. The trick is that 95% of the homes advertised on these platforms in the capital do not have an independent entrance. That limitation will only exist in the case of homes that are leased for more than three months. The 90-day limit draws a line between what is considered a home for tourist use and a property in the collaborative economy.

Obtaining a licence is not going to be easy. It will be subject to zoning, following in the footsteps of cities such as Barcelona. Once the Special Plan comes into force, it will not be possible to change the use of a home located within the inner two rings from residential to tertiary, given that those properties account for the majority of the regulated and unregulated tourist supply. Together with this new plan, the Town Hall has approved a moratorium that prohibits the granting of tourist licences of any kind for one year.

Putting a cap on rents

The objective of the plan is to preserve residential use in the central areas of the city that, with the tourist boom and rise of online platforms, are seeing rising rental prices.

In this vein, the Town Hall wants to establish maximum rental prices. To that end, and as it already did in the case of the request for the tourist tax, the delegate for Sustainable Urban Development, José Manuel Calvo, yesterday asked Sanchez’s Governments for the necessary powers.

Original story: Expansión (by I. Benedito)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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