Barcelona deceived by Airbnb unlicensed apartments

Woman finds hidden camera in Airbnb bathroom

Woman finds hidden camera in Airbnb bathroom Image - Airbnb: Daniel Krason/shutterstock

Barcelona and Airbnb have had a rocky relationship since the Catalan government passed a law in 2015 prohibiting the platform from publishing rentals which were not listed in the Catalan tourist accommodation registry, as reported by

Catalan authorities also banned short-term private room rentals in 2021. The tumult continues as authorities in Barcelona have been deceived by around 500 “illegal” Airbnb unlicensed apartments. 

Of the 500 apartments, 390 of them were found advertised on Airbnb, the San-Francisco based online platform which allows property owners to rent out all or part of their property to holiday makers, often for a cheaper price than a hotel or through a corporately owned apartment company.

Following the banning and removal of property advertisements considered to be “illegal” in June of this year, several of the properties were deleted and re-uploaded.

Janet Sanz, Barcelona’s councillor for urbanism, has urged “Airbnb to abide by the law in our city (Barcelona) and for them to stop publishing what is illegal as it is not doing any good to the city, to neighbours, not to tourists”, according to 

In order for tourists to verify whether an apartment they have rented is legal or not, the city’s authorities have placed a bed in front of the city’s cathedral. Those who approach the bed will be directed to check online the legality of their accommodation. 

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Image - Annie Dabb
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Annie Dabb

From Newcastle originally, Annie is based in Manchester and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a story you want to share? Then get in touch at