Booking Holiday lettings / Vacation rental in Barcelona
Short term vacation rentals in Barcelona are highly regulated. Recently, Barcelona authorities ordered the closure of 615 holiday flats that were operating illegally and fined big names like Homeaway and Airbnb.
That said, let me give you a gist of how to book holiday letting or vacation rental in Barcelona. Be aware that in Barcelona, only legally registered apartments can officially be given out to tourists as holiday rental.
Find a Barcelona based rental agency
Popular ones like Airbnb list both legally registered apartments as well as those that are not registered. To the best of my knowledge, prominent apartment rental agencies based in Barcelona have updated their policy. Now, they do not accept any listing that doesn't have an official registration ID, also known as HUTB number.
Some of the well-known Barcelona based agencies listing registered holiday lettings include
Ask for the HUT Number of the apartment
As per law, The HUT (tourism license number) must be provided when the owners or agencies list the vacation apartment. HUT number ensures apartment is licensed. Once you have the HUT number, you can check the status as well details of the apartment at this site
The official advice is “ Make sure your flat is licensed before you rent it and if it isn't, turn it down”.
Once you have shortlisted a property, be careful to read the reviews. Communicate with owner or the agency enquiring about terms, location etc
Go through the checklist
- Is the rent charged on a per apartment per night basis OR basis the
number of people?
- Procedure for damage deposit.
- Procedure for cancellation.
- Cleaning service of the apartment
- Do they provide bed sheets and towels ?
- Charges for Internet connection
- Are VAT and Tourist tax included?
Importantly, read the fine print before renting.
Be sure to read about conditions of rental, substitution, and cancellation. Only after you are satisfied, should you pay the advance required to rent the apartment.
Be careful when you vacate
When you vacate your vacation apartment, make sure that the agency takes the inventory in your presence. This will avoid any surprises in excess billing for cleaning and for any damaged items. %%It is a scam as reported in this thread
Holiday lettings or short term vacation rental is a hugely debated topic in Barcelona. Local residents are against short term vacation rentals as the number of holiday lettings in parts of Barcelona is so high that apartment space available to local residents has shrunk. This has meant rents have skyrocketed and Barcelona local residents are pushed to distant suburbs.
The fake holiday rental scam is getting bigger by the day. Recently, police busted a gang who have been advertising fake holiday apartments in Barcelona.
Luckily, administration is doing its best to limit this menace. Barcelona has imposed a 20-fold hike in the maximum fine. Home rental sites like Airbnb, can be fined upto €600,000 if they promote illegal accommodation. Barcelona based vacation rental sites listed in vader's post noe advertise only legal vacation rentals.
Expect stringent laws on vacation rentals and holiday lettings. In 2016 an estimated 9 million people stayed in hotels and an equal number of tourists stayed in holiday apartments. As per reports, there are 75,000 hotel beds in Barcelona and around 100,000 beds in tourist flats, most of them unlicensed and illegal leading to spike in rentals for local residents. Protests under the banner “Barcelona is not for sale” is now common.
Apart from illegal vacation rentals hurting the local residents, the tourists are also getting scammed. Here is a news article on the vacation rental scam via Airbnb’s website.