Barcelona (PRWEB) January 21, 2009
Faced with mounting pressure from local residents and hoteliers to gain greater control over the tourist apartment rental market, Barcelona city council introduced regulations requiring that after April 2008 any property used for short-term or holiday rentals be covered by a municipal licence. Despite the risk to apartment owners of fines of up to 30,000 Euros and investigation for tax fraud, current estimates place the number of illegal apartments still available for rent to tourists as high as 1000 properties.
Oh-Barcelona.com has taken the regulations very seriously as Jörg Lahmann, Managing Director, explains: "We wanted to take immediate responsibility for the changes. We felt it was essential that we offer our customers the peace of mind that they had reserved a licensed property. Having worked with our property owners to process applications and wherever necessary removed properties from sale, we can guarantee our customers that all our apartments in Barcelona have the required licences."
The closure by the city council of 533 unlicensed apartments in the Old Town of Barcelona has led to a dramatic reduction in the supply of properties in popular areas such as Las Ramblas, the Raval, Barceloneta and Borne. With a 2-year freeze on the award of any new licences, the situation will not improve in the near future.
Paul Anderson, Marketing Director, commented: "If you are looking for accommodation in the centre of Barcelona, you may have to think beyond the Old Town. Areas of Barcelona such as the Eixample, Gracia and Poble Sec are great alternatives as they are very central yet away from the overcrowding of the key tourist areas. But we recommend you don't be tempted to rent illegally. The local community is being encouraged to report any illegal apartments. All properties are subject to instant inspection so you could run the risk of having to find new accommodation in the middle of your stay. Ask before you rent to make sure that your apartment is 100% legal."