Joan Carles Moll (left) and Joan Miralles of Aptur.

23-11-2017Joan Torres

The Aptur holiday rentals association and the Fevitur national federation have lodged a complaint with the European Commission against reform of the Balearic tourism law as it applies to holiday rentals. They believe that the legislation violates European free market and free competition directives.

Aptur's chief legal advisor, Joan Carles Moll, said yesterday that the association had been disappointed by the fact that the Spanish government had not appealed the legislation to the Constitutional Court. In his view, the government's challenge to Balearic bullfighting legislation on the grounds of unconstitutionality deals with a matter of less importance to the Balearic economy than holiday rentals. The normal procedure is that Madrid has three months to lodge an appeal once legislation is posted on the Official Bulletin. The deadline for this was 31 October.

Moll explained that the rentals legislation contravenes free market directives because it contains restrictive criteria. He specifically referred to the establishment of a limit on the number of accommodation places and the process for planning the allocation of places. He argued that administrations such as island councils and town halls have "full discretion" in determining their own maximum number of places. However, it has been stated (by the regional government and the Council of Majorca) that town halls will not be able to ask for more places than those which are allocated to individual municipalities.

The zoning principle of allocation, in Moll's opinion, is a restrictive criterion that will prevent economic activity. As such, zoning is therefore contrary to the European Union's freedom of enterprise. He warned that there is also the possibility that the limited number of places for new holiday rentals will result in existing owners with licences becoming the ones who "exercise this economic activity" in years to come, thus depriving others of the opportunity. In addition, Moll argued that state powers are being invaded. The tenancy act has been mentioned often enough in this regard.

The Fevitur federation maintained that restricting rental to no more than three properties per owner is something that has been "invented" and that doesn't apply to others, most obviously hoteliers. Moreover, the guidelines in the legislation "are not clearly regulated" and therefore "give rise to the government being able to apply restrictions in a capricious way that is not permitted under state or European legislation".

Moll, stressing that Aptur was surprised that Madrid did not lodge an appeal, wondered if this might have been because the Rajoy administration had been overwhelmed by the Catalonia crisis. Whatever the reason for there not having been an appeal, he noted that it's always the same ones who win, in this instance the hotel sector.


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Jamie D / Hace over 4 years

Cheers Paul, I will make a point of asking for the relevant info when I try and book something.


Paul / Hace over 4 years

Jamie - most if not all apartments unless they are in a purpose built holiday block will be illegal so any booking is at risk. Vilas are different as long as they already have a licence. Probably best to book through a reputable agency such as Vila Plus, Vintage Travel, Solmar as they will be responsible and liable for the property being legal


Jamie D / Hace over 4 years

We are looking to rent a villa or apartment at the end of next June beginning of July 2018, can someone advise me of what is a legal letting and how you can check this. This is a poor situation and will probably make us book somewhere else through the risk of lost deposit or cancellation. A real shame that Majorca wants to be a place people use to go.


Jimmy w / Hace over 4 years

I agree Jason. The problem will be that even if Brussels put a stop to limiting numbers,the owners still can't get licences yet. ( i know owners should have had licences all along)Also by the time Brussels gets it's finger out it may be too late for next season and many businesses won't survive untill the following year. What a legacy Mr Barcello may leave !!!


Jason / Hace over 4 years

Fingers crossed... Hopefully Brussels will see sense and just maybe save thousands of small businesses in the resorts that rely on the high spenders from the rentals market, if so looks like Barcelo will be getting a lot of compensation claims going his way just like he deserves !