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Spain’s Catalonia region the latest to slap a tax on Airbnb rentals

Beach PeopleBeach People
Renting an Airbnb in Barcelona just got a pinch pricier. Photograph by Getty Images

The Catalonia region of Spain has plenty of sunny beaches, and—according to its regulators—too many Airbnb-like rentals.

The regional government this week sought to “regularize the supply of tourist lodgings” by slapping a tax on lodging provided by rental services like Airbnb—0.65 euros per night in Barcelona, and 0.45 euros per night elsewhere in the region.

Home and apartment rentals via Airbnb, the room-sharing platform that’s valued at $24 billion and has received ire from hotels everywhere, have been subject to similar taxes in cities such as Amsterdam, Portland, Ore., San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

 

A survey of hotel managers in Spain last year revealed that there were more rooms available via Airbnb-like rentals than through traditional hotels. Residents of Barcelona have complained that cheap rentals have attracted crowds of rowdy tourists.

In addition to taxing the room rentals, the regulations passed this week will limit Airbnb-like rents to two rooms per property for—at most—four months per year. Property owners must declare their rental activity to authorities and be present during guests’ stays.

Airbnb and other sharing economy companies like Uber face intense opposition in Europe. Critics have said they are anticompetitive and are undercutting traditional businesses. European Union authorities are preparing new regulations for such services, according to the AFP.