Platforms (minus Airbnb) team up against laws that veto tourist flats in Spain

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This article was written and published in Spanish and has been translated into English via Google Translate. Click here to read the original article.

The proximity of the municipal and regional elections, scheduled for May 2019, has removed the mayors and regional presidents from the lethargy in which they remained while the business of tourist flats grew. And it has done so by encouraging them to adopt restrictive regulations that seek to limit, if not practically remove, these houses from the center of the cities to try to correct the two major undesirable effects that, in their opinion, have caused: conflicts with neighbors and the rise in rental prices.

A good example is the regulation that has been approved by the city council of Madrid, directed by Manuela Carmena, which will establish the obligation that the tourist flats in the center that want to have a license have independent access to the street, which according to the calculations of their own consistory, would make 95% of the offer illegal. Other cities such as Bilbao or Valencia have limited them to low or first floors.

Aware of the risk that runs your business and the bad image that is being created about the sector in which they work, four platforms (Rentalia, Home Away, Spain Holiday.com and Niumba) that represent 250,000 tourist homes in Spain have constituted the Spanish Association of Digital Temporary Rental Platforms (PAT), born with three basic principles: the promotion of responsible tourism; the promotion of dialogue, cooperation and good practices; and the elaboration of proposals in relation to the normative regulation of the houses of tourist use or temporary rent.

In this association, Airbnb has not yet been found, who has received the invitation to join but has not responded to that offer for now. Sources of the platform based in San Francisco point out that no decision has been made in this regard, although they do not rule out that in the future it could be integrated into the aforementioned platform.

“We are worried about mass or covert bans being made as in Madrid. These decisions are made based on the fact that vacation rentals contribute to the rise in prices, but there are no relevant studies to prove it, “says Almudena Ucha, director of Rentalia and president of the PAT.

“We want to demonstrate that the vacation rental is a mature sector, which is not something recent, that has been doing for many years, that has a positive impact on society and that we are transparent. We want to put in value these aspects that perhaps due to the lack of union between us have created a bad image to the sector, “he stresses.

The platforms are prepared to present battle in the courts to the autonomies and municipalities that are hardening their standards and for this they count on the help of the National Commission of Markets and Competition, which has already resorted to the Madrid norm and also the one of San Sebastián, which limits them to certain areas of the city, and Bilbao, which only allows first floors and lower floors. This body has become the scourge of the autonomies and municipalities that have tried to put an end to the phenomenon of tourist flats. With the presentation of resources, it has been possible for the Community of Madrid or the Canary Islands to change their legislation.

This article was written and published in Spanish and has been translated into English via Google Translate. Click here to read the original article.

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Simon Baker is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Online Marketplaces and Property Portal Watch. Involved with property portals for 15 years, he’s a well-recognized expert and industry consultant.
As former CEO/MD of the REA Group for 8 years, Simon led the group to its current market-leading position. When he joined REA Group in 2001, it had $4m in revenues, $6m in losses and an $8m market cap.
By 2008, the company presided over $155m in revenues, $35m in EBITDA and enjoyed a peak market cap of $1b. Simon is currently Chairman of the Mitula Group and Real Estate Investar and a serial portal founder and, investor.