On February 5, 2018, the Town Hall of Madrid agreed to suspend the granting of licenses for:
- All categories for tourist uses, including hotels, but only affecting residential buildings located in all the neighbourhoods of the Central District of Madrid.
- The category of tourist apartments in the Districts of Arganzuela, Salamanca, Chamberí and Moncloa-Aravaca. Note that the remaining modalities of the touristic uses other than the touristic apartments (for instance, the hotels) would not be affected by the moratorium in those other Districts.
According to the opinion of the Town Hall of Madrid, governed by the left-wing and populist party "Podemos", the definition of "apartments for touristic use" involves those apartments that are allocated to tourist use under the principle of business exploitation unit, in its entirety and for more than three (3) months per year. The main consequence of this definition is that the apartments for tourist use will now require the granting of an administrative license in order to validly develop said activity, since it would imply the exercise of an economic activity and, therefore, would not constitute a permanent residence.
It should be understood that the moratorium would not affect the non-residential buildings that, although they are located in the Districts mentioned in paragraphs 1 and 2 above, are allocated to other uses other than the residential use (for instance, tertiary use), since the moratorium would only affect residential buildings as described above.
This moratorium is a result of the initiative of the Town Hall of Madrid to update the urban planning regulation on the implementation of touristic use categories, and it comes also in a bid to tackle mass tourism which residents complain is responsible for driving up rent and pushing out locals. The raft of regulations are designed to preserve residential use of buildings, putting a stop to permanent use (by tourists) and replace it with temporary use, thus preventing housing from becoming accommodation exclusively for tourists.
The moratorium will last one year but may be subject to renewal for an additional period of one year.
Madrid is just the latest city to introduce measures to combat the rising number of apartments converted into tourist accommodation. Valencia recently introduced new rules and the Mallorcan capital of Palma has banned all unlicensed tourist flats in the city.
Barcelona has led the fight against tourism, and was the first to crack down on unlicensed hotel rentals and impose steep fines.