Municipal mediation for resolving disputes between local residents and owners of legal tourist flats

Since its launch last January, the Municipal Community Life and Tourism Service, which is tasked with mediating in disputes between local residents and owners of legal tourist-use dwellings (HUTs), has resolved 238 cases and attended to over 300 communities

07/08/2019 16:33 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona

Legal tourist-use dwellings are currently an alternative for tourist accommodation in the city. But the way they operate, including the management carried out by independent owners, makes it hard to monitor any incidents that may occur.

The city currently has 9,657 legal tourist-use dwellings which offer 58,911 places for accommodation and share spaces with local residents. This can be a potential source of problems; inf act, every year close to 2,000 related incidents are reported to the Citizen Help and Information Services.

This January saw the launch of the Municipal Service for Community Life and Tourism. Aimed at reducing social disputes and improving quality of daily and community life for local residents, it consists of a team of four people who visit the properties against which complaints have been made. There they speak to local residents to offer advice and mediation for solving problems relating to tourist accommodation.

The service extends to the whole city but gives priority to districts with a higher concentration of tourist flats, such as Ciutat Vella and Eixample.

A total of 238 disputes resolved

Of the incidents resolved by the municipal dispute-mediation team for residents’ communities with tourist-use dwellings (HUT), 187 were through advisory services and 51 through mediation.

Incidents that failed to be resolved through advice or mediation were referred to the municipal inspection services (57) or the district’s community-life experts (12), remained open and under management (89) or were closed owing to disagreement or referrals to other services (45).

Disputes reported by residents’ communities mostly go to the Guàrdia Urbana (68% of cases), although some are directly reported to the municipal service by phone (27%) or email (3%).

The main reasons for complaints have to do with noise, whether from people entering or leaving properties, making loud footsteps, moving furniture or suitcases or holding parties. In addition, improper use of communal areas, incidents relating to the consumption of alcohol or drugs and leaving out rubbish and failure to reply from the HUT’s manager are also common problems causing disputes in residents’ communities in the city.

Joint work with the el sector

The mediation service, which is enshrined in the Strategic Tourism Plan for 2020, has worked with players from the sector, such as the tourist apartments’ association APARTUR, one of the main driving forces behind the community life and tourism service, to provide enterprises from the sector with a methodology and resources for encouraging positive citizen community life.

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