Barcelona’s Town Hall Asks Airbnb to Remove 2,577 Illegal Tourist Apartments from its Database

24 May 2018 – Eje Prime

Barcelona wants to put an end to adverts for unlicenced apartments. The Town Hall of the Catalan capital has asked Airbnb to remove a total of 2,577 illegal tourist apartments that are currently advertised on its platform. Janet Sanz, deputy mayor for urban planning in Barcelona, confirmed that the list of identified apartments has now been handed over to the company.

The Town Hall has explained that the Airbnb team responsible for removing the adverts, located in Ireland, received the list on Thursday. Moreover, it has highlighted that it has already opened sanction proceedings against the owners of those unlicensed apartments, but not against the company itself.

In this sense, the Town Hall of Barcelona is only planning to impose sanctions on Airbnb if the company refuses to eliminate the adverts for the illegal tourist apartments, as established by the regulations of the Generalitat de Catalunya. The local government expects the platform to withdraw the adverts within a few days like it did last summer.

Similarly, Sanz has explained that the Town Hall is scheduled to meet Airbnb next week to consider a technological proposal designed by the platform to avoid the advertising of illegal apartments.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Airbnb: Holiday Homes Have No Impact On Housing Stock In Palma

4 April 2017 – El Mundo

Yesterday, Airbnb expressed its disagreement with the decision taken by the Town Hall of Palma to prohibit the rental to tourists of homes in multi-family buildings and stated that the occasional rental of a regular home “did not have any impact on the stock of available homes”.

The vacation rental company said in a statement that it wants to work with the Town Hall on the solution and advised that the occasional rental of primary residences helps many middle-class families “supplement their income”.

Airbnb states that the Town Hall has taken “figures that do not correspond to the reality” as a reference and that entire homes in Palma that are rented out for more than 120 nights per year account for just 0.8% of all the homes in the city.

According to data from Airbnb, Palma currently has 171,000 homes, down by 10% from 182,000 in 2011. In addition, it has more than 16,000 empty homes and apartments, a figure that represents more than 9% of the available housing stock in the city. In Mallorca as a whole, the percentage of empty homes is 16% (71,255 units).

The multinational company defends itself, by saying that those who practice “home sharing” are opening up the home they live in and are therefore not reducing the available housing supply.

Airbnb has 5,000 adverts in the city, according to data as a January. However, not every advert corresponds to a single housing unit, given that a host may have two adverts for the same house, for example, if he shares two rooms.

22% of all of the adverts relate to rooms only, which represents 1,100 adverts, which “are not removing homes from the long-term rental market”, given that the people who are renting these rooms also live in the property.

78% of adverts correspond to entire homes, which represent 3,900 adverts. Of those, 36% are let out for more than 120 days per year, a percentage that is equivalent to 1,400 homes. Airbnb says that that is the figure that represents the number of homes that are being deducted from the rental market, which account for 0.8% of the available homes Palma, a percentage that it says is “too low to have any impact on the market as a whole”.

75% of the hosts in Palma that advertise on Airbnb have just one advert and the typical host in Palma rents his property out for less than 60 days per year.

The rental company says that Palma has been suffering from “tensions in terms of house prices” for years and points out that the Association of Residential Property Developers in the Balearic Islands warned back in 2012 that the islands were going to be hit by a shortage of available housing and that the few developments that were being built were going to generate serious difficulties in terms of rising prices.

“House prices rose in the city long before Airbnb even existed and they have evolved in line with the dynamics of the real estate market, with investment in property in the context of a shortage in supply”, said the note.

Original story: El Mundo

Translation: Carmel Drake

Idealista: 12% Of Rental Homes Leased In <2 Days In Feb

24 March 2017 – Inmodiario

Rental homes on the market for less than 48 hours accounted for 12% of all rental operations closed in Spain during the month of February, according to a study published by Idealista. More flats than ever are now being advertised on the residential rental platform, however, the extensive demand is still not being fulfilled.

The incidence of immediate rentals is not homogenous across all of Spain’s autonomous regions. The pressure from demand is the greatest in the Balearic Islands, where 19% of the homes that were rented in the islands during the month of February were advertised on Idealista for less than 48 hours. It is followed by the Community of Madrid (18%), Navarra (17%), Cataluña (12%), Euskadi (12%), (the latter two are in line with the national average), and below that are Aragón (11%), Andalucía (9%), the Canary Islands (9%) and Galicia (8%).

The bottom end of the table is propped up by Cantabria, the Community of Valencia, Castilla-La Mancha (7% in all three cases), Castilla y León (6%), Extremadura (5%), Asturias, La Rioja and Murcia (4% in all three regions).

The provincial capitals are the areas where demand for rental properties tends to concentrate, therefore the immediate rental rates there are generally higher.

Orense is the city that recorded the highest percentage of immediate rentals as a percentage of total operations, with 33%. It was followed by Albacete and Málaga, with rates of 27%, and then Pamplona and Palma de Mallorca (25% in both cases). Next came the city of Barcelona, where properties involved in 21% of all rental agreements signed had been on the market for less than 48 hours, followed by Ávila (20%) and Madrid (19%).

Nevertheless, the study revealed that the immediate rental phenomenon does not exist in at least 12 Spanish provincial capitals, namely: Teruel, Segovia, Pontevedra, Palencia, Lugo, Lleida, Huesca, Huelva, Girona, Cuenca, Ciudad Real and Castellón.

Of the provincial capitals that do experience the phenomenon, Oviedo and Córdoba saw the lowest incidence of immediate rentals (4% in both cases), followed by León, Granada and Badajoz (5% in all three cities). Moreover, like in the case of the provincial capitals, the main cities in the country have different immediate rental rates depending on the district in question.

In Barcelona, for example, Sant Andreu is the neighbourhood where the most immediate rentals were signed in February: 40% of all the homes that were rented there had been on the market for less than 48 hours. It was followed by Nou Barris (38%), Horta Guinardó (31%) and Gràcia (27%). By contrast, the lowest immediate rental rates were recorded in Sarrià Sant Gervasi (8%), Sant Martí and Ciutat Vella (21% in both cases).

In Madrid, by contrast, the district most affected by this immediate rental phenomenon was Villaverde (31%), followed by San Blas (29%), Latina (28%), Arganzuela, Puente de Vallecas, Usera and Villa de Vallecas (26% in all four cases).

Analysis of the prices of the homes that are being immediately in Spain reveals that one third (33%) cost less than €500/month, whilst 46% ranged between €500/month and €750/month. (…).

Finally, most of the homes that were rented in a matter of hours had a surface area of less than 80 m2: 11% measured less than 40 m2; 31% measured between 41 m2 and 60 m2; and 30% measured between 61 m2 and 80m2. (…).

Original story: Inmodiario

Translation: Carmel Drake

Anti-Eviction Law: Public Bodies Denounce Bank Breaches

22 July 2015 – El Economista

The monitoring of the measures adopted by the Government to alleviate the hardship of families doomed to eviction is not proving to be as orderly as had been expected. Yesterday, the Bank of Spain revealed, in its Monitoring Report for 2014, that complaints had been received from “several public bodies” about “various credit entities” regarding the implementation of the so-called Code of Good Practice.

The aforementioned code was introduced in 2012 to force the restructuring of debt owed by underprivileged households, to grant them more favourable conditions, including significant discounts, “daciones in pago” and even, letting families stay in their homes in return for the payment of minimal rents to avoid forcing them out onto the street. The adoption of the code is voluntary, but once adhered to, its application becomes obligatory. The financial institutions signed up on mass, more than anything to avoid public embarrassment, given that the list of members is made public.

Yesterday, sources in the sector acknowledged that certain local and regional authorities have filed complaints about the monitoring process.

Local and regional governments

This represents a leap, albeit not in terms of scale, but maybe in terms of the focus of the conflict. The adoption of good practices and consumer protection measures are still major unfinished projects for the sector, whose reputation was seriously damaged during the crisis, due to the poor marketing of products such as preference shares, the scandalous retirements of managers from rescued entities and even, the sale of mortgages with floor clauses.

Conscious of the extent of the damage, numerous bankers publicly admitted their mistakes and sought to make amends. Last year, the supervisory body itself bolstered its schemes to ensure the proper marketing of products and the rapid resolution of disputes, through the creation of the Department for Market Conduct and Complaints, which took on a strengthened version of the role previously performed by the former Director General of Supervision and complaints service. The Department was launched on 1 October and in just three months (to 31 December), it opened 18 investigations and one inspection in situ.

The Department directs its efforts on the basis of alerts logged by other units of the Bank of Spain, by public and private institutions and above all, by customer complaints. One of its operations last year involved the aforementioned analysis of complaints regarding the use of the Code of Good Practices; and another also verified that the granting of consumer credit to certain firms complied with the necessary conditions regarding transparency and customer protection. According to the supervisory body, that most recent investigation was activated as a result of a complaint “from a public body, which filed a complaint against a number of lenders”. (…).

In 2014, the Bank of Spain forced the withdrawal or rewording of 132 adverts published in the press and online. The most positive piece of data to result from the year is that customer complaints decreased for the first time since 2011, by 15%, to 29,500. Nevertheless, that still represents a near-record volume compared with the 10,000 or 15,000 claims that were typically processed in the years leading up to the outbreak of the floor clause conflict.

Original story: El Economista (by Eva Contreras)

Translation: Carmel Drake