The Balearic Vice-president and minister for tourism, Biel Barcelo, revealed yesterday that, until the new laws regulating and governing holiday let properties have been approved, no more licenses are going to be granted.
The announcement came just 24 hours after the government revealed the new measures and amendments it intends to introduce to the Tourism Law before the start of the summer season regarding holiday rentals.
While the Balearic government and the Ministry for Tourism appears unable to get a proper grip on the holiday rental market, its latest white paper of measures aimed at installing some order in the sector has needless to say caused fresh controversy.
The government’s proposed modifications to the Tourism Law have three aims; avoiding saturation of the rental market, installing order and regulations and to guarantee access to seasonal housing for workers.
Many part-time employees this summer had to rent properties miles away from the resorts in which they were working in due to the shortage of rental accommodation because of the huge demand for more lucrative holiday lets.
One of the proposals is that, in the event of a property owner wishing to rent out an apartment as a holiday let, the rest of the community in the block, the owners of neighbouring flats, will have to grant the owner permission.
And, the decision does not have to be unanimous, a simple majority will do.
What is more, local councils and the island councils will be charged with the control of rural properties.
Barcelo added that the government also wants to introduce a cap on properties being rented out, so that the various authorities have greater control on the growing market.
He also said, in the view of the growth in demand for holiday rentals, his department will also be working with the housing department.
The government is also taking aim at the numerous websites which offer rental properties.
Should the law be modified, then the websites will only be allowed to advertise and rent out registered properties.
Failure to comply with any of the new regulations could result in fines of as much as 40,000 euros.
The levy has been set much higher in order to deter property owners from trying to avoid paying tax on moneys raised from renting out their properties or illegally renting.
Holiday rental properties will also be subject to meeting a series of measures regarding quality, sustainability, energy efficiency and accessibility.
Needless to say, the proposed changes have not been welcomed by the tourist sector as a whole.
The president of the Majorcan Hotel Federation, Inmaculada Benito fears that the authorities are “playing with the future of the island’s tourism model”.
Long hard think
She said that she hopes the government are aware of what they are playing with and that it will have a long hard think about protecting the sustainability of the economic future of the Balearics.