The Madrid city council has approved a special plan regulating holiday rentals that will foreseeably shut down over 10,000 apartments currently used for short-term tourist stays.
The new regulations stipulate, among other things, that apartments used as holiday rentals inside residential buildings in the city centre must have a separate access area from the one used by regular residents. Guests will not be able to use the same building entrance or elevators.
In practice, this means that 95% of these apartments will be unable to obtain the required license for this kind of activity, according to city officials.
Opposition groups in the council said the plan will have an economic and legal impact on an entire sector, and will likely lead to challenges in court.
The popular platform Airbnb has described the new regulations as “not very clear,” “unfair” and containing “disproportionate restrictions.”
The 90-day rule
The new rules target properties that are used as holiday rentals for more than 90 days out of the year, at which point they are considered to be engaging in commercial activities that require a license.
The restrictions affect an area that has been divided into three rings covering the historical city center as well districts such as Moncloa-Aravaca, Arganzuela, Latina, Usera and Carabanchel.
The city councilor for sustainable urban development, José Manuel Calvo, said that these rules are necessary because “massive tourism does not bring added value to cities, rather on the contrary, it degrades them.” “In the neighborhood of Sol, there are two tourists for every resident. In the Cortes neighborhood, the ratio is 1.3 tourists for every resident. This is what’s known as touristification,” he added.
At the very least, 9,944 registered properties would be unable to adapt to the regulations, leaving 524 in operation.
The city has a team of 22 inspectors who have examined 11,936 homes in 502 buildings. Of these, 1,729 (14,48%) were being used as holiday rentals. While municipal authorities do not have the power to issue fines, they can initiate individual proceedings that could end in the closure of the unlicensed business activity.