As I wrote a few months back, I’m not a fan of Airbnb who have apparently taken on massively comical proportions with their new “Belong Anywhere” campaign and #mankind hashtag. WTF? It reminds me a great deal of the fictional internet company, Hooli in “Silicon Valley” and their CEO’s “It takes change to make change”. But, as usual, I digress.
The big news is Barcelona, where as I mentioned in the enlinked article above, Airbnb, along with a couple of other exactly the same websites have decimated neighborhoods and turned this once lovely city in to a throbbing tapa, ice cream, and fruit cup disco. If that’s you’re thing, enjoy, Douchelona is there for you now. If not, stay away, stay very far away unless you’re on a cruise ship in which you’re screwed as the cruise directors will cram two million of your boat people in the Old Town during these warm months. Grease up for maximum mobility!
There is however a new mayor in town named Ada Colau. As is typical with most politicians she ran on an extremely populist platform. Amazingly and despite not holding an absolute majority, she’s already started to make some changes, the first one being tourism in Barcelona.
Undoubtedly everyone has seen the “Barcelona mayor vows to cut tourism!” headlines by now. These aren’t really true as it will undoubtedly continue to grow. She is just trying to do something that those who promote tourism never think about which is to make it sustainable. Her administration has already enacted a full halt to the approval of any new hotel or vacation buildings. This is good news but of course it doesn’t solve the Airbnb issue, which just yesterday, they’ve taken on as well:
Per tal de poder oferir aquest tipus d’allotjament en habitacions, el titular de l’activitat ha de ser el propietari de l’habitatge, ha d’estar-hi empadronat i ha de pernoctar-hi durant l’estada de l’usuari. […] El titular de l’activitat només pot cedir un màxim de dues habitacions, i com a màxim quatre mesos a l’any. Cada estada, d’altra banda, tindrà un màxim de 31 dies.
To be able to offer this type of lodging in rooms, the owner of the business must be the owner of the property, have empadronament [your official, registered residence in Spain] for the premises, and stay there during the stay of the client. [..] The owner of the business can only offer up to two rooms and they can only be available for up to four months out of the year. Each stay has a maximum of 31 days.
This is what coffee bean shitting monkey Brian Chesky, the CEO claims is actually the true spirit of Airbnb which of course, it isn’t. What Barcelona has proposed is a fully reasonable enforcement of using Airbnb. If it had been like this all along, it wouldn’t have been problematic. It would stop this place that I crashed at due to being at a dinner and drinking one night. These guys bought two apartments in this building so they are the actual owners. But they don’t stay in them as they live elsewhere. They rent them out continuously and they rent something like four bedrooms in each. So they break pretty much all the rules, not to mention other people who might actually live in the building then have to deal with their partying “guests” yucking up the new and improved Douchelona.
This would in fact shut down pretty much all rentals of Airbnb except the one that I had when I lived in Barcelona wherein I had a spare bedroom that I rented out in my very large place. That is how this horrid site should actually be used so that it isn’t taking livable spaces off the market and inflating rent while providing a socially irresponsible crashpad for the city.
But this is the first time that I’m aware of Barcelona actually addressing Airbnb and others head-on. The previous administration on Trias turned a blind eye as long as the Euros kept rolling in. Now we’ll just see if there is enforcement of these rules and things start to bring Barcelona back around to the city I met eight years ago and the one that other people would like to meet as well.