Barcelona suspends the issue of H.U.T. licences for holiday rentals

Barcelona City Council has announced it will issue no further H.U.T. (Habitatge d'Ús Turístic) licences for Holiday Rental properties for at least one to two years. 
The Deputy Mayor of Barcelona, Antoni Vives, issued a statement confirming the suspension of licences, which will leave the number of rental properties in the capital at 9606 units. 
The council had already suspended the issue of licences for up to one year, as part of a special plan to update the existing regulation for tourist apartments, which had become ungovernable, due to lack of resources to carry out inspections and mete out sanctions on illegal properties. 
Vives also commented that Barcelona didn't want or need any more tourist accommodation in the city. He suggested that cutting the flow of new tourist apartments in the city was the right decision, to allow the harmonious cohabitation of residents and tourists. 
Barcelona suspend H.U.T. licences
It’s likely this decision has been forced by exaggerated coverage of what the media are calling, Turismo Borrachera (drunk tourism), which highlights the growing number of drunken tourists in the Barceloneta area of the city. This coupled with general protests by thousands of the city’s residents, outraged at the increase of holiday apartments in the capital, seems to have determined the future of holiday rentals in Barcelona for the foreseeable future. Without doubt this is an election canvassing manoeuvre to win the local vote. 
The new regulation will offer the opportunity for owners to register their interest in a H.U.T. licence, with licences granted only when an existing rental property with a licence is withdrawn from the register.
The new regulations will also toughen up the procedure and criteria for application for a H.U.T. licence. Including the introduction of a penalty system for owners who breach the tourism legislation. The penalty system will take effect as soon as manpower allows. With inspector resources at a minimum, the city is facing a period with little enforcement 
In addition, the city council has asked that the Codigo Civil de Cataluyna (Civil Code Catalonia) be amended to give local communities the democratic right to speak up about any issues affecting their neighbourhood.
Vives stated that Barcelona's future ‘ambition’ was to create an environment where tourist apartments were grouped together in the same buildings. He highlighted the case of Ciutat Vella, which has a four year plan to group all tourist apartments together, in the same buildings. A plan that will then be reviewed, one year after adoption; with regulations adjusted biannually to suit the realistic needs of the moment. Good luck with the management of that one!

Licence suspension

For the time being, a citywide freeze on the issue of new H.U.T. licences has been brought into immediate effect and will continue until such time that the ‘Special Plan’ is approved to keep the number of new tourist accommodation being granted licences to a proportionate level in certain residential neighbourhoods. 

Outstanding H.U.T. applications

If you applied for your H.U.T. number before the original suspension on the 2nd of May 2014, the Tourism Registry should honour your licence application. If you haven’t received your inscription number, which takes around two months to arrive, you must appeal to the Department of Tourism. Any applications after this date will not be approved.