Basque Country: Justice finally authorizes “anti-Airbnb” regulations.

In their order issued on September 16, the judges of the administrative jurisdiction stated ” end to the suspension of the execution of the resolution of the Community Council of the Community of agglomeration of the Basque Country of 5 March 2022“.

Seized under an interim suspension, this same court had agreed on June 3 with a group of 50 claimants owners and concierge companies, which had raised a “serious doubt” about the legitimacy of this measure passed in early March.

At the beginning of July, the elected representatives of the Basque Country had reviewed their regulations, in the light of the observations made by the judges in summary court, to propose a version ” fixed up“.

Furnished tourist accommodation in the Basque Country, yes, but on condition of “compensating”

The compensation measure obliges the owners to produce, in the same city and of equivalent surface area, a property on the rental market for the year to compensate for accommodation transformed into furnished tourist accommodation. It must apply to 24 municipalities in the Basque Country in a so-called “tense” area.

The rules had been clarified, to introduce “a better proportionality”, in the face of the “scarcity or even non-existence of compensable premises”, underline the judges.

In particular, the new regulation allows owners to purchase “commercial rights” from others to recover premises and also allows ground floor premises, hitherto excluded from the framework, to be converted as long as their shop window does not overlook the public domain.

Following this decision, the modified version of the compensation rule can now be applied from 1 March 2023.

There will be a substantive hearing

However, the judicial battle between the Basque conurbation and the applicants is not over: after this summary suspension, an urgent reason based on the form of the resolution, a hearing on the merits, on the content of the provision itself and on its legitimacy, will take place in the next months.

The Alda association, which defends the right to housing in the Basque Country, welcomed this decision, an “affront” to “the various lobbies and timeshare owners (…) who had multiplied the appeals against this settlement”, he written in a statement.

According to her, the vote of March 5 ” stopped the bleeding of private residential property vampirized by permanent airbnbs ” And ” today it dissuades financial investors and bank loans who will wait to know the final outcome of the ongoing legal proceedings before buying housing inhabited throughout the year to transform them into furnished tourist accommodation“.

More than 16,000 tourist accommodations are listed in the 24 municipalities of the Basque Country concerned, with an increase of 130% between 2016 and 2020, according to the Urban Planning Agency of the Atlantic and the Pyrenees (Audap).

In November, a demonstration for the right to housing gathered between 6,500 and 8,000 people on the streets of Bayonne.

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