With rental prices in the city jumping 50% in five years, the government is cracking down on landlords.
Under a new decree, officials in Barcelona have issued strenuous rent controls for the city to assist renters and to prevent landlords from charging exceptionally high rental costs. In just five years, Barcelona has seen rental increases jump by almost 50%.
The new decree will mean that landlords will have to follow a benchmark price for the neighbourhood the property is situated in, with highly desirable neighbourhoods having a higher benchmark price. This comes after a national law across Spain, which capped rental increases at the rate of inflation, which is currently set a 1.5%.
Tourists and foreign investors are largely to blame for the property price increases in the city, and other property hotspots around the country, with many property investors converting properties into tourist flats, effectively pricing out year-round residents in favour of short-term stays. That said, some blame lies in the banks being unwilling to lend to home buyers, which is leading more potential buyers to end up in the rental market.
As Barcelona is making way for a new mayor, landlords and renters will not know whether the new mayor will continue with this decree until mid-June. It is believed that if the plan goes ahead in Barcelona, then other major towns and cities across Catalonia such as Girona and Tarragona will follow suit.
After the Spanish property crash, only Barcelona and Madrid are back to pre-crisis levels, which is why the cost of renting is affecting locals so deeply. The pressure also mounts with the increasing number of tourists visiting the city.
The only properties where there will be an exception for the benchmarks will be new construction projects that feature luxury amenities such as gardens and swimming pools.