Huge fine for illegal tourist rentals in Barcelona

Barcelona old town Photo: Flickr CC / Jorge Franganillo

Barcelona has imposed a hefty fine of €420,000 on the owner of a building located in the Ciutat Vella district. He received this fine for continuously renting almost all the apartments on his property as tourist accommodation.

These apartments were predominantly situated within a single building in the popular old town area. The owner illegally rented the accommodations out to tourists. 

Albert Batlle, the Deputy Mayor of Security and Councilor for Ciutat Vella explained the matter during a press conference. He said the fine was the result of, “a lengthy investigation conducted by the municipal police and district inspection services.”

“This is quite an exemplary fine for this owner,” said Batlle. The owner had been renting out all the apartments in the building as tourist accommodation, except one apartment. This was occupied by a tenant with an old lease agreement, who was responsible for meeting and greeting the holiday-makers and managing the key exchange.

Enormous fine

The mammoth €420,000 fine comes after an extensive investigation and monitoring, revealing that the owner had been evading penalties by arguing that he was legally renting the apartments. Furthermore, he claimed that his tenants deceived him by renting out the apartments to tourists.

The owner had been renting out up to 14 of the apartments at number 24 Calle Ample in Barcelona. He was advertising these as tourist accommodation through platforms like ‘’ and ‘Airbnb’. This was illegal because the owner did not possess the required tourist license.

Unpaid taxes

The owner regularly shuffled the apartments on these platforms with different names, photos, and hosts to circumvent inspections. The authorities considered these illegal tourist rentals a very serious violation, resulting in the €420,000 fine. The fine was calculated based on the estimated profit derived from his illegal activities.

In addition to the fine, the Barcelona municipality plans to pass on all their information from the case to the tax authorities so that the Hacienda can conduct its own investigation and take whatever action necessary to recoup unpaid taxes.

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Written by

Kevin Fraser Park

Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.