The Council of Majorca in session yesterday.

26-01-2018PP

The Council of Majorca yesterday approved the initial zoning of holiday rentals. The voting was 16 in favour and 15 against.

Mercedes Garrido, the councillor for land, told the other councillors that the zoning proposal "doesn't prohibit anything". She added that "nothing has been closed" in that there will now be a period of consultation during which town halls, political parties and organisations can make their submissions. Describing the zoning as "brave, open and balanced", Garrido noted that there is to be a meeting with all mayors on Wednesday.

She insisted that the zoning faces the "challenge of providing the population with decent housing and at a decent price". She also explained that it is provisional until the PIAT (plan for intervention in tourist areas) is approved.

Opposition criticism that the zoning amounts to prohibition was rejected. Garrido said that there are instead restrictions, when referring to the in total 36 locations which have been classified as "saturated" and for which there will be a sixty-day limit on rentals per annum (in an owner's main place of residence).

The Partido Popular, El Pi and Ciudadanos all lined up against the Council's ruling parties in voting against the zoning and voicing their disapproval. Estalisnao Pons of the C's said that his party is in favour of regulating holiday rental but that what has been proposed is a botched job. "A new document should be drawn up which reflects consensus among the political parties, town halls and interested groups." He and the PP's Mauricio Rovira stressed that no "uniform criteria" had been adopted for classifying zones.

Rovira added that at this stage it isn't known if the initial approval zoning proposal will be affected by the initial approval of the PIAT. Antoni Amengual echoed what Rovira had to say in describing the zoning as a "nonsense". In less than three months, the Council's administration had made a diagnosis and presented a solution, when such a task cannot be done in a short period of time. A "serious study", he suggested, would not have produced such a "total mess".

The zoning was defended by Més, Podemos and PSOE. Ivan Sevillano of Podemos said that it will mean environmental and territorial preservation and will ensure that the Tramuntana Mountains are "widely protected". Mercè Bujosa of Més insisted that it "favours everyone; those who rent, as they will have more guarantees, and residents".

Rovira returned to the fray. "No one likes it, only the parties which make up the administration." He referred to "obscure and absurd formulas that you have applied as you have wished" and criticised Garrido for being sustained by support from "some radical and communist partners".

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Dan / Hace 10 months

18 months ago I paid and applied for a rental license for a detached villa in Llubi, we did everything required and more but yet we have just been advised that the license has been declined even tho Llubi is within the rental zoning area. It is an absolute joke. € 1,800.00 was paid and we have been refused, for what? Know one can answer that question. It is a complete and utter mess, the people in charge don’t know what they are doing and as normal taking money for nothing.

+5-

Passport phil / Hace 10 months

To RBMM. Thanks for your reply. It's only 3 other couples for a total of 5 or 6 weeks over the full year. My community have never minded over the past 20 odd years but who knows now . I don't take cash and I suppose they could never prove we sometimes go to other countries to have the favour returned. Hopefully there are bigger fish to go after.

+10-

RBMM / Hace 10 months

To Passport phil; isn't the law as clear as it always is? All laws need interpretation. You would not be a prime target for the authorities with so little "business", but if they catch you I would guess that you would have to argue for your case. There is nothing saying that it is necessary to get paid in cash if you rent out. You don't let your friends use your apartment for nothing. You can use other apartments as a kind of payment for your "hospitality", what you call payback. If a lot of different people use your apartment the community can vote that they want no short term rentals and then you would have to argue for your case with your community as well.

+9-

Passport phil / Hace 10 months

So can I still let a handful of close friends and family use my apartment in a domestic block without any payment to me . I use there properties in other countries as a payback. I don't live in the apartment it's a holiday home . It's all as clear as mud.

+9-

Bunyola Boy / Hace 10 months

I think there is some confusion about the 60 day rule, historically residents used to rent out rooms in their homes to seasonal workers during the summer (Domestic Rentals) but with the arrival of AirBnB many elected to maximise their income by renting to tourists for short term let’s (Touristic Rentals). The result has been that there has been a sharp fall in seasonal accommodation and an increase in “Tourisification” especially in Palma.

To alleviate the problem a compromise has been sought that allows residents to either rent to the tourist market for a maximum of 60 days (with licence) or unlimited on the domestic rental market. At the moment these touristic “beds” will be included in the total for rental but there is a move to have them excluded.

This of course has nothing to do with “Apartment Holiday Rentals” where residents and non residents purchase properties for their own seasonal use and/or for holiday let’s to maximise their investment income. (Many owners of course do not rent but use additionally for friends and family).

The problem I see is not with the traditional hotels but with the Apartment Hotels who see the unregulated and illegal apartment rentals as undercutting them at the same time as not paying any taxes , either income or tourist, not complying to the same stringent terms of occupancy and not providing the same levels of support for guests.

It’s quite clear for all concerned the Apartment Rental market needs legalising within a framework that will level the playing field.

The zoning map that has been published will no doubt disappoint many but there seems to be a sensible logic to restricting rentals to those areas not already saturated.

We await the next stage when we will all be made aware of the terms and conditions that will apply before any new licence can be issued. Rumoured to be for 5 years at €1000 per year, tourist blocks only with simple majority of owners agreeing to rentals, any block designated domestic will not qualify, all properties must have independent water, gas and electric meters, must have relevant insurances and safety certificates, comply with disability requirements with lifts and ramps and any other conditions that can be dragged up to frustrate the process.

As an apartment owner I shall be applying for a licence if I qualify, not just to increase my rental income but also to make my property a more appealing asset when I finally sell it.

One thing that is certain though is that all who venture down the rental route will be faced with additional costs from licence fees to proof of tax payments and also regular visits from the appropriate inspectors. This can only mean many will pass on the increased costs to the customer but hopefully will still allow competitive pricing compared to the Apartment Hotels.

Interesting times ahead I’m optimistic a sensible solution will be found that protects local businesses and maximises the value of the assets so many have invested in.

+10-

Phil 67 / Hace 10 months

How many apartments that are rented out are someone's main residence? Not many I would think. Most will be people's holiday home that they make a little off by renting out when they are not using it. The ones that need looking at are the company's that own many properties and therefore could rent to locals. A owner of a holiday home is never going to do this. It's hard to believe this mess has been allowed to go this far. It needs to be cancelled for now and a in depth study done to find an answer to the accommodation problems.

+17-

Jason / Hace 10 months

Meanwhile families suffer, bars, restaurants close and resorts become ghost towns. What a bunch of brain dead morons !! Please show me saturated resorts where the bars are full, the restaurants are full, the streets are full, it may happen for few weeks a year if lucky, the rest of the time it's a struggle to to be busy and then 7-8 months a year it's empty!!! all inclusive hotels kills resorts...... Holiday rentals makes resorts.....

+33-

Paul / Hace 10 months

Meanwhile to deal with the "saturation" more hotels are being built

+26-