Barcelona asks Airbnb to verify tourist licenses while agreeing to access their data to check it


Barcelona City Council has started a pact with Airbnb,  advanced by the company on Monday , by which the administration will have access to the data of those who advertise apartments on their website to check whether they have a license or not. This agreement will serve in fact for all Catalan municipalities, since the law that protects it is autonomous. But the government of Ada Colau wants more, and will continue to demand this and other tourist rental platforms that they are the ones that ask for and verify the registration number of the advertisers. 

The technological tool that Airbnb will have on June 1 is a “step forward” but it is far from being an agreement, according to the deputy mayor of Ecology, Urbanism and Mobility, Janet Sanz. What the platform will do from now on is to ask its advertisers to accept to transfer their data (DNI, name and mail) to the Administration. If they do not, they can not advertise any apartment on their website.

The agreement even contemplates that the platform creates a field in which the user must say whether or not he has a license and enter it. This should facilitate the task of the municipality to cross the data with those of the owners of the 9,600 licenses of tourist housing that are in the Catalan capital today. Those who do not have it will be sanctioned and will be removed from the web. 

“We are closer to Airbnb being located in the zero illegal floors advertised, but we want it to definitely comply with the law preventing announcing flats without a regulated license”, summarized Sanz, who also celebrated that the company has finally announced that it adds to the table of good practices in which already are Booking, Rentalia or Homeaway. This forum is scheduled to meet throughout June to continue addressing the issue of tourist flats in the city. 

And is that the agreement with Airbnb is an advance to which most of the other platforms have not arrived, which currently do not provide the data to the consistory. With some of them agreed to enable a field on their websites for advertisers to enter their license number, but this is no guarantee that they do not invent it, since the platforms do not check it. 

The approach of positions between Aribnb and the City Council is the latest episode of a tense relationship that began with the arrival of Barcelona in Comú to the government, and that so far had been settled with three disciplinary proceedings,  the last of which was 600,000 euros for recidivism (also to HomeAway). As for individuals, the consistory has opened during this mandate 3,000 records for ads without a tourist apartment license on this and other platforms. 

2,500 fewer apartments on Airbnb … and in the city?

The meeting on Tuesday between the City Council and Airbnb has also served to achieve its commitment to remove the 2,577 floors of its website detected by the municipality recently as irregular . In this sense there was more harmony between the two actors, after the company agreed to do the same with another 2,500 . Yes, always under threat of fine. 

“The accountants are set to zero in terms of bad actors, will be written off on June 1,” said the responsible for public policies for Spain and Portugal of Airbnb, Sergio Vinay, who has celebrated the “principle of agreement” with the consistory with the new tool to share user data. 

The doubt about the withdrawal of unregulated apartments on Airbnb is if they will not turn to other platforms that are less controlled now by the Administration. “We want to send a message to these owners: we will be strong so that these flats are not offered in the summer,” said Sanz, aware that for them their only recourse will be as of now the threat of fines and the performance of the teams. of Inspection.