Airbnb has been given a fortnight to respond to the Balearic government fine.

19-02-2018Gabriel Alomar

The first large fine for breaches of the Balearic holiday rentals legislation has been issued. Airbnb has been slapped with a 300,000 euros fine for having continued to publicise properties without the necessary licence registration numbers from the tourism ministry. The website is being given a fortnight to respond and present any challenge to the fine.

The level of fine indicates that the government believes that Airbnb has committed serious infringements of the legislation, which came into effect in August last year. The website has been given repeated warnings about illegal advertising; this has, however, continued.

The Balearic legislation makes clear that any property that is advertised as a holiday rental must have a licence number which corresponds with the declaration of responsibility for a touristic activity.

Airbnb was first informed on 16 August that there was a breach of the legislation. In November, it was notified for a second time. A month later, a warning was given: fifteen days to take corrective action or a fine of between 40,001 and 400,000 euros would be issued.  

On 1 February, tourism ministry inspectors confirmed that on Airbnb there were still twenty properties in Majorca that didn't meet legal requirements.

Airbnb has responded by announcing that it will appeal against the fine. A company statement says that the fine is one on "local families who share their homes and bring great benefits to Majorca and the Balearic Islands". Families, the statement continues, will lose "100 million euros" because of restrictions on holiday rentals.

The company does not deny having violated the legislation, but it believes that the law should "help to distribute the benefits of tourism among families and across the regional community as a whole" rather than these benefits being kept "in the hands of a few". The statement concludes by saying that Airbnb is willing to "continue to work with the regional government in order to develop progressive home-sharing legislation".

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Ian Munday / Hace 5 months

I have a house in Ciutadella and used to rent out a couple of rooms in the summer. The people staying used the bars and restaurants and had a great time. Most were from Spain. Now it is empty. How does that help the people of Menorca? The people who stayed did not want a hotel.

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Carly / Hace 9 months

HomeAway still advertising rentals in some of the saturated zones. Some fully booked for the summer. No license numbers. More greedy owners that want to ruin the lives of the residents that live/own in these blocks.

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TG / Hace 9 months

Excellent that Mallorca are enforcing the law of the land, as others democratic countries do. The whole industry needs regulations. The only people to complain are those letting illegally.

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Richard Pearson / Hace 9 months

Well said. What your correspondents don’t seem to take into account is that Barcelona and its surrounding areas has a far larger population than Mallorca ( in particular Palma ) and therefore more properties that can be rented, if, as you say meet all the guidelines, which were established a few years ago unlike here where they are in the middle of doing such a thing. 2019 will be a different matter with more properties available to legally market.

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RBMM / Hace 9 months

To Frank and Peter: It is still permitted to rent out for example in Barcelona and the Baleares if you have a license. In Barcelona there are 16,000 holiday rentals of which an estimated 7,000 are illegal. But authorities may not give out new licenses or renew existing licenses or permit renting out in certain areas. In Barcelona they even sent out letters to its residents asking them to report illegal holiday rentals and they've increased the number of inspectors and with really have fines if you are caught without a license.

What Peter talks about is illegal renting. I didn't discuss or deny that. Everyone including authorities knows it exists.

My point was that this is not a phenomenon restricted to the Baleares. Rather, short-term tourist rentals are perceived to be a problem in many countries.

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RBMM / Hace 9 months

To Frank and Peter: It is still permitted to rent out for example in Barcelona and the Baleares if you have a license. In Barcelona there are 16,000 holiday rentals of which an estimated 7,000 are illegal. But authorities may not give out new licenses or renew existing licenses or permit renting out in certain areas. In Barcelona they even sent out letters to its residents asking them to report illegal holiday rentals and they've increased the number of inspectors.

What Peter talks about is illegal renting. I didn't discuss or deny that. Everyone including authorities knows it exists.

My point was that this is not a phenomenon restricted to the Baleares. Rather, short-term tourist rental is perceived to be a problem in many countries.

Just google a little and you will find that the comment is correct: https://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2016-06-22/places-with-strict-airbnb-laws http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-09/barcelona-cracks-down-on-tourist-rentals-as-rents-rise/8506708 https://www.lequidy.com/tourist-apartment-rentals-in-barcelona-2017-2018-laws-and-regulations/ https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jun/02/airbnb-faces-crackdown-on-illegal-apartment-rentals-in-barcelona https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jun/08/berlin-ban-airbnb-short-term-rentals-upheld-city-court https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jun/08/berlin-ban-airbnb-short-term-rentals-upheld-city-court

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Peter / Hace 9 months

Forbidden ? Ha-ha, if everyone complied with that we wouldn't recognise Mallorca. Is it forbidden to attack from boats and kill people, nowadays we call them Terrorists. Maybe Rey Jaime III should be held to count....

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Frank / Hace 9 months

@RBMM. Doesn't appear that way. Take at look at Airbnb Barcelona, - it's full of apartments for rent by the week !

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Richard Pearson / Hace 9 months

Liz, thousands, not hundreds, of businesses are failing due to large shopping centres and shopping on the net. You, of course, don’t use these facilities as you are extremely worried about the future of small firms.

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Richard Pearson / Hace 9 months

Liz, I am sure the people of Mallorca will start protesting about the lack of suitable housing and the ever increasing rental prices. Or maybe not.

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