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The Balearic government has walked into a minefield over holiday flat rentals. It has embarked on a journey into the unknown, into a wasteland of loopholes which it will not be able to control because the market is way out of its jurisdiction. It is being handled by companies, legal or illegal, based overseas which can just shut down their operations within a matter of minutes and pop up again online under a different name just as quickly.

What is going to make policing internet rentals even more complicated is that there are properties being posted for rent which the owners don’t even know about. For example, I received a call this week from a couple who own a luxury property in Puerto Portals. The leading rental website, mentioning no names, has spent the past month advertising their apartment for rent for 1,700 euros per day.

The couple has contacted the rental company on numerous occasions, especially so this week. They were warning the operation that under new Balearic government law it could face a 40,000 euro fine. But their complaints have been ignored and their property, including pictures which the owners have no idea how the person offering it for rent got hold of, remains on offer.

The local government has certainly been talking the talk but is it going to be able to walk the walk against these big boys?