Palma centre has been proving to be especially popular for holiday rentals.

02-06-2011Enric Borras

The association for apartments and dwellings for seasonal rental in the Balearics, Aptur, is keeping up its pressure on the regional government. The association's full name can be simplified to one for holiday rentals, and it is the currently illegal supply of private accommodation that Aptur wants the government to regulate (by which it means legalise).

The association calculates that there are some 45,000 properties that fall into this category, most of them being apartments. It further estimates that these properties generate some 11% of GDP. Its president, Juan Estarellas, says that liberalisation of this sector is urgently required. Although it is outside the law, Estarellas argues that its proportional benefit to the Balearics is greater than that of hotels.

Estarellas also insists that while these properties remain "illegal", their owners should not have to charge and so pay the government the tourist tax. The tax, he says, applies to stays in accommodation which have tourist services. Once legalised, all owners would and should pay the tax, he adds.

He attacks the "demonisation" of rental activity by the hoteliers, pointing to the contrasting support for residential tourism from associations for retailers, restaurants, taxis, car hire and leisure. He does, nevertheless, accept that there is some "speculation" in the market and that this includes investment funds which have entered the holiday rentals sector in order to take advantage of the "exponential growth" brought about by web-based services.

Estarellas also concedes that there can be issues of "coexistence" in apartment buildings because of disrespectful behaviour by some tourists. He advocates, therefore, that residents' communities should be given the power to establish their own rules. (The regional government has questioned whether at present a community's prohibition of tourist rental would stand up in court if it were to be challenged.)

He goes on to reject the idea that residential tourism is the cause of tourist "saturation", saying that there should be improvements to roads, water supplies and public transport.

Aptur, therefore, wants immediate regulation, concluding that holiday rentals are "sustainable" in environmental, economic and social ways.

Although Aptur says that owners should not be liable to the tourist tax, the Tax Agency sees things rather differently. It has been reported that over 1,700 apartments in what are known as "plurifamiliar" buildings (basically apartment blocks) are signed up with the agency for the tax. What percentage of the actual total of "illegal" apartments this represents varies according to reports. Aptur is currently mentioning 45,000, but an alternative figure suggests there are twice as many.


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Andrew Ede / Hace over 5 years

Again, Steve, I appreciate the point regarding the tourism law. However, the law for the sustainable tourism tax, as Biel Barceló has insisted, suggests otherwise. He has added that the tax has to be charged on apartments where the rental is under two months and where the rental is not subject to the urban leasings act.

It is an absurdity, as a point of law, for any property which hasn't been classified as tourist to be liable to the tax. Totally accept that, but this is not how the government and the Tax Agency now views things; hence the 1,784, and I understand that the government are surprised that quite so many have been registered.


Steve / Hace over 5 years

Dear Andrew. I have requested the current situation directly from Hacienda regardimg this. "La propia Ley de Turismo establece, en su artículo 52, que las viviendas independientes que se encuentren en edificios plurifamiliares o adosados sometidos al régimen de propiedad horizontal, no serán consideradas como viviendas aisladas. Por tanto, queda prohibida la comercialización de estancias turísticas en este tipo de viviendas".

Aptur are referring to the proposed reforms being debated for change at the end of the year, which may depend on the elected party at the time. You cannot charge the tax if you're not registered of course, and Hacienda will not register individual apartments. It may well be that owners of whole blocks of apartments may be registered for the tax collection, we have several such blocks just in Palma Nova, but those are not "Plurifamiliares".


Andrew Ede / Hace over 5 years

I am perfectly well aware what the rules are in this regard, so are you. It is seemingly nonsense, but the fact remains that the Hacienda made clear (back in July) that properties which are not "regularised" according to the tourism law would still be subject to the tax. If they were not, why has Aptur been saying that they shouldn't be and advising accordingly. I suggest you contact Maria Truyols, who is the director of the Tax Agency in the Balearics, and ask her about the 1,784.


Steve / Hace over 5 years

Andrew Ede. From Hacienda, "Under the islands’ tourism legislation, the commercialisation of properties is permitted so long as they are not in so-called “plurifamiliar” buildings, i.e. apartment blocks"


Andrew Ede / Hace over 5 years

The Hacienda reports that there are 1,784 properties in edificios plurifamiliares that are registered to collect the tourist tax, 904 of them in Majorca.


Bob / Hace over 5 years

Tourists on their week's holiday may cause "Issues of Coexistence", - that's a laugh. More likely the other way round. There are thousands more complaints about resident neighbours, and their abandoned barking dogs than there will ever be about normal tourists. Niether are riotous summer workers "tourists".


Steve / Hace over 5 years

Plurifamiliar properties (individual private apartments) cannot be registered for "tourist" lets, so there are not 1,700 of them "signed up" with Hacienda.