How to Find Short Term Accommodation in Barcelona: Tips for Digital Nomads
On August 28th 2023, Swapoffi was delighted to have James Ferguson, long term Barcelona resident and Admin from the Facebook Barcelona Digital Nomads group, as our guest on a live Facebook chat.
In 2021, Barcelona became the first city in Europe to ban short term private accommodation in a bid to stop locals being priced out of their own homes. Or, as the New York Times described it Barcelona takes on Airbnb, going on to say:
The ban, which took effect on August 6th 2021, sets Barcelona apart as the only major city in Europe to have forbidden short-term private room rentals, even as it continues to allow the renting of entire apartments — so long as the owner of the property holds the appropriate license.
James was a member of the Barcelona Digital Nomads group on Facebook when he grew tired of seeing “scammers” trying to rent properties without tourist licences to digital nomads who were new to the city and unaware of the change in law. There was a lot of good information on the group, so I didn’t want to stop that. I offered to become an Admin to protect people.
That’s when I came across Swapoffi and thought, what a good idea! Swap homes instead of paying for them. Once you take money out of the equation, scammers disappear.
What is the Ban on Short Term Private Accommodation?
“If you rent a property for less than 32 days, you need a tourist licence, James explains”. If you rent a property without the tourist visa, you could be fined up to €60,000. An additional problem is that a tenant might sublet a property without the owner’s permission. The new tenant is not covered for insurance if anything goes wrong and the landlord could incur the fine although they didn’t know anything about it!
“It’s tempting for people to try accommodation scams. The average wage in Barcelona is €1050 per month yet it costs on average €600 to rent a room. People in their 30s and 40s cannot afford to leave home due to the cost of rent and house prices, so you can see why this law has come into play.”
What this mean for digital nomads and remote workers who want to work from Barcelona? “It’s safer to use Airbnb and Booking.com so you are covered” James recommends. “If you see an ad for property, check with Airbnb if the property is registered with them. Be wary of people letting on behalf of other people. Be wary of people who will only communicate via email and not telephone. My main advice though is just don’t rent property in Barcelona for less than 32 days.”
We are grateful to James for sharing his advice and expertise on this topic for anyone thinking of working from Barcelona. There you have it – don’t look for accommodation for a time period less than 32 days. Or you could join our home swap community and check out verified Swapoffi homes in Barcelona where accommodation is always free!
Got any questions on short term accommodation in Barcelona? Check out the Facebook group Barcelona Digital Nomads.
If you want free accommodation every time you travel, join Swapoffi, the world’s first home swap community for remote workers. No cost, no catch, no commitment!