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Published on : Wednesday, December 14, 2016
The Barcelona court annulled the fine and justified its decision on the grounds that there is a legal vacuum regarding the regulation of the ‘sharing economy’ in Spain.
The court said in its ruling, ”the regulation of this new phenomenon of consumption has been left orphaned… and this can’t be substituted by imposing a fine.”
This marked the first time when Airbnb has been overturned by any Spanish court.
In July 2014, Airbnb was levied with heavy fine from Catalonia, the seaside city of Barcelona. It was penalised for not adhering to the local laws as Catalonia needs any flat or house rented to tourists to be registered with the region’s tourism authority.
The San Francisco-based company welcomed the court ruling, saying it was ‘key’ to solving its legal issues in Catalonia.
Barcelona city hall fined Airbnb and its rival HomeAway with 600,000 Euros (roughly £502,000) each under the complaint of lacking proper tourist permits.
Catalonia has figured prominently in its growth, with Barcelona consistently ranking as one of the site’s largest markets. But Airbnb recently faced much criticism from various quarters stating that it squeezes the long-term rental sectors while exacerbating housing shortages.