The Government’s New Rental Act Limits Annual Price Increases to CPI

1 March 2019 – Eje Prime

On Friday, the Government approved a new Rental Act containing urgent measures for the rental sector, including a limit on annual price rises for new contracts to CPI. However, in the end, no IBI rebate incentive was included to reward landlords for maintaining rental prices below the reference price index.

The measure to limit rental price increases will take effect for new contracts signed from the date that the law enters into force.  Moreover, the law provides for the preparation of a state-managed house price reference index within eight months, which will be updated annually.

In addition, the law extends the period for extending rental contracts to five years, from the current term of three years.

Original story: Eje Prime

Summary/Translation: Carmel Drake

PSOE & Podemos to Save the Rental Reform without Price Limits

27 February 2019 – Cinco Días

Despite the initial disagreements and failures, all indications are that the Government and Podemos are going to end up rescuing the Rental Act. The Executive is expected to present new text to the Council of Ministers on Friday, which will not include limitations on rental prices, but which will reflect significant changes with respect to the text that was toppled a month ago. Those changes include: the compilation of an official price index in large cities; updates to rents subject to CPI; and greater guarantees against evictions, according to reports from El País yesterday.

The draft being finalised by the Executive does not include any measures regarding limits on rental price increases, but it does propose compiling some official price indices to serve as a tool for autonomous regions to establish their own housing policies, since they have the authority in this regard.

Podemos, a key partner to enable the validation of the Act regards this measure as insufficient but sources in the party acknowledge that they would have to concede to save the other improvements proposed by the text and reverse the harmful measures introduced by the PP in 2013. One option being considered is an 80% discount on the IBI charge for those owners who comply with the price index (…).

Another feature of the new text is that the update to rental prices during the term of a contract may only be subject to CPI, something that used to be included in the Urban Rental Act until the PP eliminated it in 2013.

The Act also recovers the increase in the duration of contracts from three to five years, or seven in those cases where the owner is a company, but also adds that all contracts will be valid, regardless of whether they are registered in the Property Registry (…). Another initiative included in the draft text, to provide greater security to tenants, are the notice periods for the non-renewal of contracts, which increase from one to four months in the case of owners and from one to two months for tenants.

The new regulation will also include enhanced guarantees against evictions (…).

Original story: Cinco Días (by E.C.)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Azora: Spain Needs to Build 2 Million Rental Homes in 15 Years

12 January 2019 – El Economista

The rental market is gaining more and more followers in Spain and is now the way of life chosen by 20% of the population. That means that the market has doubled in size over the last 15 years, according to data from Eurostat. Nevertheless, its growth is running into many obstacles along the way, given that the increase in demand has not been accompanied by a rise in supply at the same rate, which has led to the saturation of certain markets, such as Madrid and Barcelona, where several neighbourhoods have experienced price increases of up to 18%, making them even more expensive now than they were during the boom period.

Faced with that situation, the major players in the market and the real estate experts assure that the construction of homes dedicated to rental and the policies to incentivise owners to place their homes on the rental market are two of the most important ways to provide agility to a mechanism that is oxidised right now.

“Rental is a sector with enormous social importance, on which more than 10 million tenants and more than 4 million small Spanish savers and institutional investors depend, who use the rental market as a way of supplementing their income and pensions”, explains Azora in a comprehensive report about the rental market.

In its study, the manager says that the rental housing deficit amounts to another 2 million homes, which will have to be built over the next 15 years to satisfy the increasingly growing demand. “Ensuring legal certainty and a contractual equilibrium is basic for attracting around €300 billion in private and institutional savings necessary to finance this new stock of homes. It is an investment equivalent to 30% of GDP over 15 years or 2% of GDP every year”, says the report.

For Azora, which is one of the largest managers of rental housing in Spain, the construction of these homes is fundamental if we are to avoid “structural imbalances between supply and demand, and it is vital to guarantee access to housing through the rental formula for millions of Spanish families, especially the youngest in society and most vulnerable families”. In this way, according to the Ministry of Development and Eurostat, rental has become the solution for accessing housing for 75% of young people in Spain aged under 29 (compared with 40% in 2007) and for 40% of families with a household income of less than 60% of the national average.

The major challenges

According to comments made by Azora in its report, the three most important challenges facing the sector are, on the one hand, “establishing a public social housing policy to resolve the situation of highly vulnerable people and those at risk of social exclusion”.

In Spain, social housing accounts for just 1.5% of the total, compared with the EU average of 15% (…).

Another challenge is “the creation of a rental stock at affordable prices, below market rates, for families with the lowest incomes and young people” (…).

Finally, the need to increase supply by at least another 30% over the next 15 years. “The problem today and in the future in the private housing market is not the increase in prices (which are still 15.5% below their 2007 peaks, according to data from the Ministry of Development), but rather the complete lack of available stock for rental compared with the sharp growth in demand”, says Azora (…).

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Deutsche Bank, APG & CBRE GI Enter Spain’s Residential Rental Market

7 December 2018 – Expansión

The large international investors have placed their focus on the residential market and, specifically, on the rental segment. The success of this sector, together with labour mobility, the difficult access to housing and changes in living habits mean that, increasingly, renting is an option over buying in Spain, and that has fuelled interest from capital in the sector.

Blackstone, the largest real estate investor in Spain, was one of the first funds to back the residential rental sector with the purchase of 18 developments comprising 1,860 units from the Municipal Housing and Land Company of Madrid (EMVS) in 2013, but it has not been the only one. The Dutch pension fund APG, in conjunction with Renta Corporación; the German bank Deutsche Bank; and the international fund manager CBRE GI have been some of the most committed investors in this market in recent months.

In this way, APG reached an agreement in the spring of 2017 with the Catalan real estate company Renta Corporación to launch Vivenio, a Socimi specialising in housing, with the aim of acquiring assets worth €1 billion in Madrid, Barcelona and the provincial capitals. The Socimi is going to close a particularly active year for acquisitions, with a total investment of €400 million and is planning to repeat that amount in 2019 to reach a total portfolio of €1 billion in just over two years. One of the largest purchases it has made this year was the batch of 1,100 homes that belonged to the manager Aquila Capital, headquartered in Hamburg, for €240 million.

With the aim of diversifying its portfolio and entering this growing segment, the international fund manager CBRE GI joined forces with Azora, the Spanish manager founded by Concha Osácar and Fernando Gumuzio, with experience in this sector, and the New York investment firm Madison to invest €750 million over the next two or three years. That three-way alliance started with a portfolio of 65 buildings and a total of 6,458 homes and has the aim of reaching, at least, 10,000 units.

Another large investor that is betting heavily on the Spanish residential sector is DWS, the asset management subsidiary of the German bank Deutsche Bank, which has prepared a budget of €500 million to acquire between 1,000 and 2,000 homes in Spain. In that case, it is backing new build developments and it will do so through three formulae: delegated development, the acquisition of construction projects from other property developers and direct development. The objective is to maintain the assets in its portfolio and rent them out. In that case, the vehicle will not be a Socimi because German regulation of the funds from which the capital proceeds do not allow that. 60% of the investment will be made with own funds and the rest, bank financing. The plan is to invest primarily in Madrid and Barcelona, but they will also study plots in cities such as Bilbao and Sevilla, provided the rental market is very liquid.

Meanwhile, Catella Asset Management Iberia (CAMI), the Spanish subsidiary of the Swedish fund manager is intending to reach 2,000 units by 2020. The manager, which will add 1,000 homes to its portfolio at the beginning of 2019, entered the residential rental market two and a half years ago and has invested around €160 million in the business to date. It plans to double that figure to reach 2,000 homes within two years.

Another real estate company that has teamed up with foreign funds to grow in this segment has been Elix. The firm, which is dedicated to the purchase of buildings, their renovation and the sale of homes by unit, has signed an alliance with KKR and Altamar to invest in buildings, renovate them and dedicate them to the rental market. Its aim is to invest €200 million in Madrid and Barcelona through the Socimi Elix Vintage.

Finally, Redevco has created a new fund to invest €500 million in residential projects in several European markets, including Spain (…). Redevco is planning to build a pan-European residential portfolio comprising approximately 2,500 units.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo & Marisa Anglés)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Mountpark to Invest €30M in a Macro-Warehouse for XPO in Toledo

23 October 2018 – Eje Prime

A new macro-operation is on the cards for Plataforma Central Iberum. The logistics developer Mountpark is going to invest €30 million in the development of this enclave to the south of Madrid in an asset measuring 44,000 m2 for XPO Logistics. In turn, the logistics operator has already agreed to rent the space to a large fashion chain, according to explanations provided to Eje Prime by the Director General of Mountpark for Spain and Portugal, John Derweduwe.

This warehouse is being promoted under the turnkey model and it is scheduled for completion and opening in June 2019. The latest-generation asset is going to be located 35 km from Madrid, in the municipality of Illescas, in Toledo. The real estate consultancy Estrada&Partners has been responsible for advising this operation.

The future tenant of the warehouse of Mountpark and XPO, is going to be the Swedish fashion retailer H&M, which will use the platform for its e-commerce logistics. The boom in e-commerce is also the reason why other overseas giants have also set up shop in Plataforma Central Iberum, which has converted the park and its surrounding area into the new prime axis of the real estate logistics market in the centre of the country.

Mountpark is entering a platform where Amazon, Airbus, Michelin and Toyota, amongst others, are already present. Located on a plot spanning more than 3.5 million m2, Plataforma Central Iberum is also the largest eco-industrial park in Spain.

The platform that it is building for XPO will not be the only one that Mountpark is promoting in this park. The company owns a second plot measuring 89,000 m2 in Illescas for which it is currently finalising a rental agreement with a high-profile domestic retailer.

“This project is just the start of an ambitious future for Mountpark in Spain” highlighted Derweduwe. The director, formerly the Vice-President and Administrator of Prologis Spain between 2002 and 2006, is “heavily committed to the south of Madrid”, where he plans to constitute a “significant” land bank to be able to respond to “the new logistics needs of the 21st century”, added the executive.

Specialising in the construction of so-called XXL assets (those spanning a surface area of more than 40,000 m2), Mountpark already owns a 99,000 m2 plot in Alcalá de Henares and is working on another land bank spanning several million square metres.

Changing trend in Madrid

Regarding the arrival of giants such as Amazon to Illescas, Derweduwe points to the “saturation” of the Corredor de Henares thoroughfare, which is leading to a “change of trend” in which the province of Toledo is gaining a lot of notoriety due to its proximity to Madrid and because “being located in Castilla-La Mancha also has benefits for tenants”, said the executive.

As well as the central area, Mountpark is also looking “seriously” at Cataluña and Valencia (…).

The parent company of the Iberian subsidiary led by Derweduwe is Mountpark Logistics, a joint venture between Usaa Realco-Europe Holdcom, the Dutch subsidiary of Usaa Real Estate, and Mountpark Finco Sarl (Mountpark). The joint venture promotes large logistics buildings all over Europe, but with the focus primarily on the United Kingdom, Western Europe and Central Europe. Mountpark has a portfolio comprising 16 assets with the potential to offer logistics facilities spanning more than 1.85 million m2 in the continental market.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Jabier Izquierdo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Who are Spain’s Largest Residential Landlords?

11 October 2018 – El País

Every month, they receive rent from thousands of tenants who live in the thousands of flats that they own. They are the large landlords of Spain, although it is worth noting one important point: even though between them, they own more than 120,000 residential rental assets, that figure accounts for just 5% of all of the homes on the rental market. In Spain, the stock of rental housing – which exceeds 2.3 million properties, according to calculations from the Ministry of Development – is still dominated by individuals above all. At the other end of the spectrum, that of companies, it is not easy to draw a clear map of who’s who in the Spanish market. There are banks, investment funds, Socimis, real estate companies, servicers, managers…the difference is substantial: some are owners of houses whilst others specialise only in administering the properties.

The properties intersect between these two larges groups. The homes of a bank may belong to a real estate company owned by the entity itself and be administrated by its manager, which in turn, may be responsible for the houses of other companies. Or a fund may own several servicers, the name given to the platforms that, since the crisis, have absorbed a large proportion of the toxic assets (both properties and mortgages) owned by the banks, and that in turn, may be entrusted with the administration of some of the homes by the banks. The examples are simpler if we look at specific cases. What follows is a portrait of the main protagonists of the residential rental market in Spain. Seven companies that control portfolios that come close to or exceed 10,000 assets each, according to figures facilitated by them and by other sources in the sector.

Blackstone. This real estate investment fund is well on its way to becoming the largest owner of rental housing in Spain. It entered the market in 2013 with the purchase of a portfolio of social housing properties that the Town Hall of Madrid, led at the time by Ana Botella, put up for sale. Those 1,860 homes were just the start of a portfolio that now contains around 32,000 properties. Since then, Blackstone has acquired thousands of toxic assets from entities such as Banco Popular and Catalunya Caixa. From the real estate arm of the latter, CX Inmobiliaria, a subsidiary of the US fund emerged, which is now responsible for managing most of its rental homes. Anticipa is a specialist servicer in what is known as “fragmented management”. Its 15,000 homes do not form part of blocks of buildings, but rather they are scattered all over the country. In addition to that portfolio, Fidere manages 6,200 properties. That Socimi (…) was created specifically after the operation was closed with the Town Hall of Madrid and then continued to add other residential assets to its portfolio, which unlike Anticipa’s form part of blocks and urbanisations. The latest blow, in terms of the effect on the market, came last month, with Blackstone’s agreement to purchase 70.01% of Testa. With the control of that Socimi – which until then belonged to Santander, BBVA, Acciona and Merlin – around 32,000 rental assets are now under the orbit of the US fund, making it the largest landlord in Spain.

CaixaBank. Until recently, the Catalan entity was the largest owner of rental homes and it is still in the top three. Unlike the other banks, which succumbed to the pressure to sell to interested investors, the former Caixa owns 27,557 residential rental assets through its real estate arm Building Center. The entity’s own manager, Servihabitat, is responsible for managing those assets, and its portfolio also includes assets entrusted by other owners, taking its total to 42,163 assets. Of those 28,549 are homes (and the remainder are storerooms and parking spaces).

Banco Sabadell. A very similar example to CaixaBank. In this case, the entity’s own servicer, Solvia, is responsible for managing its residential rental assets. Its rental portfolio comprises around 32,000 residential assets and, of those, 74% belong to Sabadell, making it the third largest landlord in Spain with around 23,600 assets.

Haya. In fourth place on the list is the servicer owned by Cerberus. The investment fund created it after acquiring some of Bankia’s real estate portfolio. Then it increased it with purchases from other banks such as Santander. At the end of 2017, based on the most recent data provided by the company, it managed around 14,100 assets.

Azora. This manager administers around 11,000 homes on behalf of other companies and Socimis. Its main clients include Lazora, a company recently recapitalised by CBRE GIP and Madison, which owns 6,800 assets, and Encasa Cibeles, which has 2,500 assets and is owned by the investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Sareb. The (…) bad bank concentrated more than €50 billion in toxic assets during the crisis, including both mortgages and properties. Its objective was, and still is, to divest them, but in the meantime, it has been capitalising what it can. One of the ways is placing some of its properties up for rent. It has more than 10,000 in its portfolio, but it does not manage them directly: it has distributed the management of 5,223 units between Altamira, Haya, Servihabitat and Solvia. The 1,383 that form part of Témpore, a Socimi owned by Sareb, are administered by Azora. Finally, it has around 4,000 that it is reserving for social housing rentals and that it is handing over on a piecemeal basis as one-off agreements are reached with autonomous regions and large town Halls.

Altamira. Another servicer, which belongs to Apollo and Banco Santander. Its rental portfolio comprises 12,500 properties including tertiary assets. Most, around 9,700, are residential assets and belong to Santander or Sareb.

Original story: El País (by José Luis Aranda)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Catalana Occidente Injects €31M into its Real Estate Subsidiary to Buy Assets

20 September 2018 – Eje Prime

Catalana Occidente has given a boost to its real estate subsidiary to handle new purchases. Grupo Catalana Occidente Activos Inmobiliarios has carried out a capital increase amounting to €31.1 million, which has been fully subscribed by several group companies. Those funds have been earmarked for the acquisition of the WIP office building and the Bellesguard Tower, both located in Barcelona, according to sources at the company speaking to Eje Prime.

With this operation, the real estate arm of the insurance group is dealing with the strong investment activity in the real estate sector, with a cumulative investment of more than €200 million in two years. Following the increase, the share capital of Grupo Catalana Occidente Activos Inmobiliarios is set at more than €69 million.

In July, Catalana Occidente purchased the WIP office building from the property developers Castellví Group and the funds Stoneweg and 1810 Capital for €20 million. The property, located at number 121 Calle Ciutat de Granada, in the 22@ district of Barcelona, has a surface area of 4,400 m2 and is leased to the multi-national WeWork.

WIP is located next to two other buildings, Luxa Silver and Luxa Gold. They have a surface area of 10,000 m2 and 7,000 m2, respectively, and have formed part of Catalana Occidente’s asset portfolio since September 2017. The group spent €90 million on the purchase of the Luxa office complex, which is leased to Amazon and WeWork.

These three new buildings have been added to the one that the company purchased at the beginning of last year, also in the 22@ technological district, when it acquired the La Llave de Oro building, which houses the Atos headquarters, for €21 million.

A clear commitment to the office market

The other asset behind this capital increase is the Bellesguard Tower, a modernist building located in Barcelona and constructed by Antonio Gaudí. In July, Catalana Occidente reached an agreement to acquire that property, owned by the Guilera family, for €30 million.

The operation responds to the group’s intention to “add value to the company, and is exceptional nature”, according to a statement from the insurance company, which also plans to finance the conservation and restoration of the tower, which is open to the public.

At the end of 2017,  Catalana Occidente had real estate assets worth more than €1.17 billion. Its portfolio mainly comprises offices (95%), a strategy that seems to have a lot of potential. In fact, in the last two years alone, the company has spent €208 million on the purchase of six business buildings located in prime areas of Madrid and Barcelona.

Original story: Eje Prime (by B. Seijo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Tomás Olivo set to Acquire El Mirador Shopping Centre in Gran Canaria

13 September 2018- Eje Prime

General de Galerías Comerciales is bidding exclusively for the largest retail space in the Canary Islands. Eroski, the owner of the Mirador de Jinámar, is holding exclusive negotiations with the company owned by the Murcian businessman Tomás Olivo, the Socimi General de Galerías Comerciales, with a view to selling the asset. The offer is expected to amount to around €45 million, according to sources close to the operation speaking to Eje Prime.

Valued at between €45 million and €100 million, General de Galerías Comerciales is not the only company that has expressed interest in the shopping centre in Gran Canaria in recent months. In fact, Eurofund’s investment fund offered €46.6 million in July for the asset, which opened its doors to the public in 2010.

Although sources at General de Galerías Comerciales have indicated to Eje Prime that the process is still “in its infancy”, sources in the sector explained that the operation is causing controversy because the company owned by Tomás Olivo has offered less than Eurofund’s bid.

The Mirador de Jinámar is a commercial area promoted by Eroski and the property developer Ambrosio Jiménez. The shopping centre spans a total surface area of 50,000 m2, of which 11,300 m2 is dedicated to the largest hypermarket that the cooperative distribution company belonging to Corporación Mondragón owns in the Canary Islands.

Since November 2010, the Mirador de Jinámar has been home to a total of 120 stores. Spread over two floors, some of the tenants of the property include firms in the Inditex group (its Zara store has a surface area of 2,000 m2), H&M, the Cortefiel and Primark brands (the latter’s store spans 5,000 m2 making it the Irish company’s largest in the Canary Islands).

The complex is located in Jinámar, a neighbourhood located between the municipalities of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Telde, the two most important cities on the island. The complex also has a parking area with capacity for more than 40,000 vehicles.

In a second phase, which is still pending, the centre is planning to expand its offer to include 45,000 m2 of additional space, which will be allocated to DIY and homeware firms (…).

General de Galerías Comerciales, on the hunt for new assets

Controlled by Tomás Olivo,  General de Galerías Comerciales made its debut on the MAB in July last year, to become one of the largest Socimis by capitalisation in the sector. The company has twenty years of experience undertaking its activity right across the value chain, from the purchase of land to the management of assets.

The main assets in its portfolio are retail parks and shopping centres in Spain, such as La Cañada (Marbella), Mediterráneo (Almería), Mataró Parc (Mataró), Gran Plaza (Almería), Las Dunas and Nevada Shopping (Granada). The company also has an extensive portfolio of residential assets and retail premises, as well as land, primarily in the south of Spain. When the company made its debut on the MAB, its portfolio of assets was worth €1.9 billion (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by B. Seijo and P. Riaño)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Just Four Socimis Own Almost 20,000 Rental Homes in Spain

22 July 2018 – El Diario

The debates over rental housing, rising prices and the risk of a new real estate bubble are all continuing to rage. Whilst Pedro Sánchez’s government has started to outline its new policy to avoid a hike in prices, investors are not letting up in their frenzy to take positions in the sector. Proof of that is the continuous trickle of new listed Socimis specialising in the residential rental sector.

One of the latest entities to hit the headlines in this regard is Testa Residencial, whose General Shareholders’ Meeting approved its debut on the Alternative Investment Market (MAB) this week. That secondary market, specialising in Socimis and companies with smaller market capitalisations, will have 19 companies that either specialise in housing or own a significant portfolio of rental homes. Together they own a volume of assets that now comprise almost 24,000 homes, with a combined value of just over €4.1 billion.

Specifically, Testa is going to make its debut on the MAB as the largest rental home real estate company on the secondary market. Following its most recent operations, the Socimi now has 10,573 homes. The entity is owned by BBVA, Santander and Merlin, amongst other shareholders. It is followed, in terms of the number of assets owned, by Albirana, Fidere and Torbel, the three residential Socimis owned by the vulture fund Blackstone, which together own more than 9,300 homes.

Those four companies alone own almost 20,000 rental homes, according to data registered by the companies themselves in their issue brochures or annual accounts. That figure coincides with the plan outlined by the Minister for Development, José Luis Ábalos, which includes the creation by the Government of a stock of public housing for rent over the next four to six years.

Another of the most important Socimis in this field is Témpore, a subsidiary of the bad bank, Sareb, in which the company that owns the toxic assets of the rescued savings banks has placed some of its best homes and which made its stock market debut in March. It owns almost 1,400 homes and announced recently that it will be increasing its portfolio with new assets from Sareb.

Madrid is the province that is home to the most homes owned by the almost twenty Socimis that are listed on the MAB, accounting for 47% of the total (…). It is followed by the province of Barcelona, with 22%, and to a lesser extent, Valencia, with just over 4%. Together, those three provinces account for almost three-quarters of the assets owned by those entities.

Rising yields

The real estate consultancy firm JLL justifies this interest from the Socimis in rental housing by the significant returns that they generate. According to that firm, over the last year, rental homes generated a yield of 11.4%, compared with 10-year public bonds, for example, which generated a return of 1.6%. “Our forecasts indicate that yields will grow by 6.1% over the next three years”, they add, although they highlight that there are differences by region.

JLL specifies that the market is “highly fragmented” despite the “profound transformation” that is happening in the rental housing sector due to the development of Socimis and the arrival of institutional investors. The consultancy firm points out that these types of real estate investors are faced with the limitation of a shortage of entire buildings available for rent, a model that they prefer because it allows for a more efficient management. For that reason, they say that investors such as Testa and Azora are looking to grow their portfolios by building new rental homes in collaboration with property developers and construction companies.

Another noteworthy point about this growth in the number of Socimis dedicated to rental housing is the ownership of the companies. Almost half of the real estate companies that are listed on the MAB, eight to be precise, are controlled by companies that have their headquarters in Luxembourg. Such is the case of Albirana, Elaia, Elix Vintage, Fidere, Hadley, and Torbel, a company that is also indirectly controlled from the Cayman Islands. Another of the companies is located in The Netherlands (Barcino) and two others, Galil and VBare, are linked to Israeli investors (…).

Original story: El Diario (by Diego Larrouy)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Barcelona’s Town Hall has Shut Down 2,355 Illegal Tourist Apartments in 2 Years

11 July 2018 – Inmodiario

After launching the emergency plan against illegal tourist apartments (HUT) in July 2016, the Town Hall of Barcelona has closed 2,355 properties and is in the process of shutting down another 1,800.

Moreover, this summer the “Fair Tourism BCN” campaign is being promoted once again to inform and raise awareness amongst citizens and visitors alike about the dangers of this illegal activity for everyone.

In total, 10,635 files have been opened and 5,503 fines have been imposed, five times as many as during the period from 2014 to 2016. The number of termination orders rose from 663 in 2014 to 4,148 in 2016.

By area, the files opened have been located primarily in L’Eixample (3,193) and Ciutat Vella (2,920), followed by Sant Martí (1,220), Sants-Montjuïc (1,042) and Gràcia (939).

In addition to this activity, inspections have been conducted of: 81 entire buildings where it was suspected that illegal tourist activity was being undertaken; 21 student halls, also suspected of tourist activity; and 61 illegal B&Bs, under the umbrella of rooms for rent, which were leasing all of their rooms.

Besides the fining activity, the team comprising more than 100 inspectors and visualisers is continuing to work to ensure that closed down apartments do not reopen, to identify new illegal properties and to hunt down the organised networks that are managing more than one property.

In parallel, work is continuing with holiday rental platforms through a joint roundtable that has been working for some time with Homeaway, Booking, TripAdvisor, Rentalia and Apartur, and which has recently been joined by Airbnb.

Work is currently on-going to allow the Town Hall to have access to data about users who have joined the platforms since 1 June 2018.

Original story: Inmodiario 

Translation: Carmel Drake