14 Apr, 2024 @ 13:39
2 mins read

Spain’s Housing Minister Isabel Rodriguez pledges to ‘limit’ impact of tourist accommodation with stricter regulations on room rentals

Spain's Housing Minister Isabel Rodriguez
Credit Image: © Alberto Gardin/ZUMA Press Wire

SPAIN’S Housing Minister Isabel Rodriguez has held her role for more than 100 days now, and to take stock of the Socialist Party-led government’s actions in the area, and to explain her plans for the future, she has granted a wide-ranging interview to the country’s leading daily, El Pais

In it, she made a series of commitments, including further regulations for room rentals as well as a future meeting with regional housing chiefs aimed at controlling the impact that tourist apartments such as those offered by Airbnb are having on the market and Spaniards’ constitutional rights. 

“Next month I am going to call a meeting with the regions and local councils to deal with this issue,” she said, when asked by the newspaper if the government would be intervening in the tourist accommodation sector. “We need to intervene and put limits on tourist rentals. We cannot look the other way because this economic activity is having an effect on Constitutional law.” 

Article 47 of Spain’s Constitution states that all Spanish citizens have ‘right to enjoy decent and adequate housing’, and notes that the public authorities have an ‘obligation to promote the necessary conditions and establish the pertinent regulations’ for them to enjoy this right.

Read more: Spain to end Golden Visas that grant residency to foreigners who buy a €500,000 home

Spain's Housing Minister Isabel Rodriguez
Credit Image: © Alberto Gardin/ZUMA Press Wire

According to Rodriguez, the government is going to do this by making use of European law. But, she made clear, there are areas where a proliferation of tourist accommodation is in line with the model that the government – a coalition of the Socialists and junior partner Sumar, a leftist alliance – is pursuing. 

“The government is aware of the importance of the tourist sector in our country, and of the fact that this type of lodging is an opportunity for social and economic development and for establishing a steady population in other areas,” she told El Pais.

“Tourist accommodation in depopulated areas, in rural areas, is also anchored to the tourism model defended by this government,” she continued. “There are areas where tourist lodgings do not affect the right to housing and, therefore, there is no need to intervene.”

Rodriguez also committed to building more public housing, which is in extremely short supply in Spain. To do so, she committed to spending €10 billion over six years on the creation of an extra 250,000 homes a year, for a total of two million homes. 

The aim of this, she said, is for Spain to reach the European average, whereby 9% of the housing pool is accounted for by properties with an accessible rental cost. 

The minister was also asked about Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s recent announcement that Spain would be scrapping the country’s ‘golden visa’ scheme, whereby foreigners could secure a three-year residence permit, which could be extended by a further two, by €500,000 in real estate in Spain, excluding any charges or mortgages. 

“We carried out a rigorous study and we saw how, in some cities, these visas represented a major proportion of the sale and purchase of housing,” she explained. “And we saw how, in the last two years, the acquisition of this type of visa had shot up. As such, it was affecting the right to housing and so we quickly intervened.” 

Rodriguez, 42, was appointed housing minister in November of last year after Pedro Sanchez successfully formed a government in the wake of the inconclusive general election in July 2023. 

Prior to that role she served as territorial policy minister and government spokesperson, and was previously the mayor of Puertollano, a municipality in Castilla-La Mancha region. 

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