Madrid’s city hall adopted a plan Wednesday to limit to 90 days per year the unlicensed leasing of homes to tourists, potentially rendering thousands of holiday rentals illegal.
The capital of Spain, heavily reliant on tourist dollars, moved to clamp down on the growing number of houses and apartments rented out to tourists instead of residents facing an ever-shrinking accommodation pool.
Owners looking to rent out their property to travellers for more than three months a year will require a licence, which can be granted only if the lodging has its own, independent entrance, like a hotel room.
Most landlords will fall foul of the condition in districts where the housing problem has become acute and the new rule could render about 10,000 current rentals illegal.
Madrid’s leftist administration said it wants “to preserve residential usage.”
Mayor Manuela Carmena, a former judge, said the policy was designed to stop the flow of residents from the city centre, where rent has been soaring for several years — 14.9 percent last year alone, according to the Fotocasa real estate portal.
The director general of Airbnb Marketing Services, Arnaldo Munoz, said he feared the new rule could cost the city economy hundreds of millions of euros.
The rental platform insisted the solution was to put to use “153,100 empty residences representing 10 percent of total Madrid dwellings,” citing a 2013 figure from Spain’s National Statistical Institute.
Major cities including Paris have also moved to stem the proliferation in home-sharing rentals with tighter controls as rents spiral and supply slides.