There is a message going out from the Barcelona Council to tourists that are looking to stay in or visit the area at a timeshare or rental to make sure that the property is properly licensed prior to booking. This is part of a social media campaign from the Catalonian government to make sure that visitors are checking any vacation listing for registration.
If you are a tourist, this online process can be conducted in English. Locals are also encouraged to report any apartments that are thought to be rented illegally by using the hashtag #fairtourismBCN. There is also a wider trend in Spain that involves the issuing of rules for Airbnb rentals as well as similar platforms, which has been in place for years now.
Back in 2001, Cataluna came up with a license required for all legal vacation rentals, which is called the HUT license. After three years, no more licenses were issued and there are now 9,600 apartments throughout the city that are properly licensed.
Beefed up government enforcement teams have been able to successfully shut down roughly 2,000 illegal listings since cracking down. There has also been an agreement reached with Airbnb to help remove any illegal listings from their platform after a protracted battle where they were given a €600,000 fine, which is still unpaid.