Barcelona is one of the top Airbnb destinations in the world, with an equally huge number of individual Catalans supplying room and home rentals on the platform. However, Catalan government thinks it’s an ‘untaxed’ and ‘unregulated’ activity and must be stopped and slapped the US-based website yesterday with a €30,000 fine for ‘illegally’ brokering the rental of short-stay apartments that are not listed on the Catalan Tourism Register.
Catalan government who protects the registered hotel industry has further threatened that the access to the website in the autonomous region of Spain may be banned on the same grounds.
El Pais reported that the officials in the Catalan government notes that this practice of renting out private properties for very short term is not allowed under regional legislation and is an ‘unfair competition’.
Founded in 2008 in San Francisco, Airbnb has now become the world’s most popular sharing site where the home and apartments owners let their rooms or properties to the vacationers. It often face legislative issues as it charges commission from the renters of private properties with no local tax applied over the transaction. It has already been targeted by New York, Quebec and Amsterdam municipalities.
El Pais said fining Airbnb is part of a year old campaign against ‘illegal’ tourist apartments where 253 of 2000 inspected websites received cease-and-desist letters and eight were fined.