La Mataobras, the Platform That Denounces New Tourist Apartments

Valencia’s struggle against the rising tide of tourist apartments in commercial spaces has found a voice in the citizen initiative ‘La Mataobras.’, a platform where you are able to denounce people trying to convert commercial spaces without a licence

In recent weeks, Valencia has witnessed a surge in social activism against the transformation of commercial spaces into illegal tourist apartments, giving rise to the online platform ‘La Mataobras.’ Launched on November 6, the  La Mataobras platform has already garnered more than 100 complaints in its first couple of weeks, signalling a growing concern among residents and merchants in various neighbourhoods and municipalities, including Burjassot.

The driving force behind ‘La Mataobras,’ an Instagram portal, sheds light on the alarming rate of adaptation works in commercial basements, a trend that converts them into tourist accommodations. The spokesperson emphasises the need for precise addresses in complaints to aid urban planning inspectors and local police in locating the properties efficiently. 

To deter such practices, the La Mataobras advocates for increased sanctions, citing the significant disparity between fines in Madrid (ranging from €30,000 to €600,000) and those in the Valencian Community (ranging from €300 to €3,000).

Rather quickly ‘La Mataobras’ has become a formidable tool in the fight against gentrification and touristification in Valencia. With a rapidly growing follower base, the platform encourages residents to report illegal works and conversions in commercial spaces, facilitating quick and effective action by the València City Council.

The creator of ‘La Mataobras’ reveals that the project was born out of frustration with unauthorised works in a building on Poeta Mas and Ros Street. The platform relies on residents’ submissions of photos depicting the facades and exact addresses of commercial spaces, whether under construction or already transformed into tourist apartments. 

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The platform’s effectiveness is evident in its rapid results, with complaints prompting the City Council to request accurate data. However, challenges persist, including mismatches between street and cadastre numbers. The platform advocates for changes to fines for unauthorised works, pushing for a more significant financial deterrent to discourage illicit practices. Furthermore, it calls for a return to previous legislation that prohibited tourist conversions and urges restrictions on a city-wide scale, similar to the measures implemented in the Cabanyal neighbourhood.

Both the Federació d’Associacions Veïnals de València and the Merchants Association of the Historic Center have voiced their concerns about the proliferation of tourist apartments in commercial spaces. The former proposed a moratorium on new licenses and increased inspections, while the latter urged the mayor, María José Catalá, to implement measures, especially in commercial hotspots.

In response to the escalating situation, a political party Compromis, represented by spokesperson Papi Robles, aims to address the issue comprehensively. Robles proposes the creation of a Tourist Police unit tasked with inspecting illegal apartments. Compromis also urged the municipal government to promptly process complaints, implement an inspection plan for existing tourist accommodations, and enforce sanctions against violators.

The party emphasises the need for a concerted effort to preserve affordable housing and local businesses, accusing the current government of neglecting these crucial aspects.

As Valencia grapples with the dual challenges of gentrification and touristification, these initiatives and proposals emerge as crucial steps toward preserving the city’s unique character, fostering affordable housing, and maintaining the vitality of local neighbourhoods. The growing collaboration between online activism and political proposals suggests a shared determination to find comprehensive solutions and protect Valencia from the adverse effects of unbridled tourism.

This article is brought to you by Expat Hub Valencia, a property buying agent  in Valencia. Using the Expat Hub’s services, you will be able to successfully navigate Valencia’s complicated property market in no time.

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