Across Spain, regional governments and town councils are introducing a raft of new regulations to try to control the proliferation of private apartments let out to tourists through websites such as Airbnb and HomeAway.
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Anti-tourism graffiti in Madrid's Plaza Dos de Mayo. Photo: Fiona Govan
Although the concept of the shared economy – renting out a room in your home now and again to make a little extra money for your own holiday – was seized upon by Spaniards as much as anywhere else in Europe, there is now a backlash as more and more apartment buildings in big cities and tourist resorts become overrun by holidaymakers.
It’s not just the fact that tourist flats are blamed for driving up rental costs and pricing out locals but also because of the often noisy and disruptive behaviour residents have to put up with when tourists move in next door.
A video posted on Facebook this week demonstrates exactly the problem and resonated with people across Spain who have found themselves living in a building where flats are rented out to tourists.
A constant flow of people filing past your window dragging noisy wheeled suitcases is one thing. But it’s quite another when you are woken up in the early hours by a gaggle of drunk women screeching profanities.
The video posted in Marbella se queja (Marbella complains), a Facebook group for Marbella residents to air their gripes, shows three women having a noisy exchange at between 4am and 5am during Monday night.
The film, recorded by a female neighbour from her window, shows three women shouting loudly in English at each other, the words are hard to make out so it’s unclear whether they are rowing or having a good time together.
One is leaning over a drain and appears to be close to vomiting.
The mood changes when a male voice is heard from a neighbouring window asking the girls to quiten down.
They immediately turn on him screaming profanities even louder as one woman swipes at a tree in a planter beneath his door.
The tree falls on her, and pins her sprawling on the ground, and her two friends are heard laughing loudly while they attempt to drag it off her.
The woman filming the adventure says sternly: “This is what happens when you rent a flat out to tourists”.
The next two minutes of film shows the women on the street attempt to trash the trees, dragging planters over the tarmac while two of them screech in their native Swedish belting out swear words in both Swedish and English.
The footage ends with the annoyed resident announcing that she had called the police.
With behaviour like this, it’s no wonder that residents want stricter controls over who shares their building.