Holiday Let Laws Take Hold

The commercial platforms that advertise tourist apartments have two weeks to adapt to the new Balearic tourist regulations. At a press conference, together with the Director General of Tourism, Pilar Carbonell and technical advisor Antoni Sansó, Vice President and Minister for Tourism Biel Barcelo explained that if the platforms do not adapt to the new law, which came into force last week, they can be sanctioned with fines that range from €40,000 up
to €400,000.

Likewise, they have indicated that the current body of inspectors and processors - in Mallorca there are 15 of the former and three of the latter – will be increased by five new inspectors and three more processors.

Earlier in the week, it was announced that owners of apartments in any area of the Balearic Islands who rent to tourists will, from last Tuesday, face fines ranging from €20,000 to €40,000, according to the new law on tourist rent in the Balearic Islands.

While the previous government led by the PP and José Ramón Bauzá already prohibited the rental of flats to tourists in the last legislature, the law was hardly pursued. Now, the progressive executive led by the socialist Francina Armengol and the MÉS party wants to enforce the law. The movement has grown as more residents and workers who have come to the islands are finding it more and more difficult to find a place to live. 

Going forward, the new law allows the councils of each Balearic island and the City Council of Palma to decide whether to allow tourist rent in apartments, for how long and in which areas. The councils have a year to agree on how they will proceed but it is expected that the ban will be maintained. 

The Ministry of Tourism has set up an email for residents to denounce other owners who rent their apartments, which means that no denuncias are made anonymously.

In practical terms, any apartment owner who rents to a tourist for less than 30 days, without a lease and without the visitor having paid a deposit, is acting illegally and is exposed to a fine. The owner must provide documentation that the activity is legal. It is easy to verify for tourists as any apartment that is rented legally has an identification number that endorses the tourist rental permit. 

The law allows houses (rustic or townhouses) to be rented to holiday-makers as long as they have the license from the Ministry of Tourism. 

Alongside these rules, moves have been made to oblige “large holders” of property — that is an entity that owns ten or more empty or unused properties — to make the property available. 

In the midst of the controversy, the government has also announced plans to help tenants in need with rent subsidies, mainly for large families, people with disabilities, victims of domestic violence and victims of terrorism. Also, 700 new affordable homes under the control of the administration have been promised.