Deregulated housing markets can attract international investors causing inflation in housing costs and holiday rentals can be far more lucrative than letting to residents and families. By restricting the availability of accommodation, visitor arrivals can be restricted.
Issues arise where there are concentrations of tourism in particular areas and tourism comes to dominate and where there is unlicensed and unregulated accommodation which may cause disturbance and raises issues of health and safety and taxation.
In July 2015, the municipal government in Barcelona suspended the processing of new permits for tourist-accommodation, student-residences and youth-hostel establishments, to analyse the impact of tourist-accommodation activities in all its aspects and to draft a special urban-development plan to regulate it. Ciutat Vella now has a Usage Plan designed to restrict the growth of tourist accommodation, whether hotels or apartments and a Tourist Accommodation Working Group has been tasked to complement municipal efforts to reduce the numbers of unlicensed apartments.
In July 2016 an Emergency Inspection Plan against Illegal Tourist Flats was launched designed to eliminate existing illegal accommodation in the city, with a budget of €1,350,000. The emergency plan includes measures that attempt to tighten the net around illegal tourist flats through various means. These include: