In 2014, the city council suspended the issuing of licenses to carry out tourist housing activities and all the files in progress and future files have, consequently, been stagnant since then.
This included apart-hotels, guesthouses, hostels, hotels, youth hostels, collective residences of temporary accommodation and tourist apartments, including the seasonal rental of apartments called “HUT” (rental with no minimum duration with an economic counterpart).
What you should know about the PEUAT
The licenses issued before the suspension of 2014 are not being questioned if they are registered in the “Censo de Establecimientos de Alojamientos Turísticos – CEAT” and if no infraction is found.
This system was implemented to limit the number of touristic apartments in the city centre, and therefore protect the inhabitants of Barcelona from a rise in prices.
The new Special Urban Plan for Tourist Housing (“Plan Especial Urbanístico de Alojamientos Turísticos – PEUAT”) responds to the need to reconcile the activity of tourist housing within the city of Barcelona with an urban model of sustainable development.
The plan consists of dividing the city into several areas to control all types of tourist accommodations and seasonal rentals to gradually take them away from the city centre.
The basic objectives are; to reduce tourist pressure (especially in certain areas of the city) promote urban balance and diversification, to mitigate the consequences of disproportionate tourism, and to guarantee the right to housing.
- The first zone in red is the decrease zone, where no new establishment can be implemented or replaced and where the number of HUT is wished to be decreased.
- The second zone in yellow is the maintenance zone where the number of existing tourist accommodations is to remain stable.
- The third zone in green has been configured as the contained growth where new establishment could be implemented.
- The fourth zone in blue is divided into three sections, each one will have a limited number of tourist places:
- The first one is the area of the Marina del Prat Vermell
- The second one is the Sagrera area
- The third one in the Nord area
- The grey zones inside the third and second zones have specific criteria added over the ones that are already set in the zone they are in.
Moreover, it will only be possible to have a new HUT inside a building dedicated to touristic accommodations or another compatible activity.
The PEUAT was put into place on the 6th of March 2018, after it was voted on the 27th of January 2018.
Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona since 2015, is the head of this housing policy. It was the most central and ambitious point of her campaign, along with a fight against evictions, regulation of tourism and improvement of public transport.
She said during her campaign that “even if Barcelona cannot live without tourism, it must not live only from tourism”, hence the need to improve the management of the most important source of income for the city, but also to guarantee its better cohabitation with the inhabitants.
With this in mind, the Special Urban Plan of Tourist Accommodation of Barcelona (PEUAT), approved in January 2017, not only prohibits the opening of new hotels and tourist apartments in the most populated areas and limits them in other districts but the regulation also imposes fines on platforms such as Airbnb that allow renting of unlicensed housing. The payment of a tourist tax, to limit negative consequences on the city, allowed investments of up to 5 million euros in neighbourhoods, cultural projects and heritage conservation. So when tourists pay the city tax, they support the development of the city or region that they visit.
The rise in rents will be one of the concerns for the next Mayor election in May 2019 along with the PEUAT which is presented as a means of regulation in urban planning, but its implementation will have a direct impact on the economic activity.
All of this said, you should know that the competition for buying properties in Barcelona will increase, but it is still possible to make it a success. You should always keep in mind to buy an apartment with a touristic license or at least one that could get a license because it respects the PEUAT rules.