If there is not a licence, the government considers any let of less than a month to be for tourism purposes. | Archive

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Owners of properties who rent out for a few days or a couple of weeks without having a holiday rental licence will be obliged to demonstrate that the letting is not for tourism purposes.

The tourism director-general, Antoni Sansó, explains that although the ley de arrendamientos urbanos (tenancy act) does indeed allow for letting contracts to be for as short as a day, if the letting implies tourism marketing, the government will act as it has powers to do so under tourism legislation.

Last summer, reform of the tourism law as it applies to rental accommodation established that lets of under a month would be treated by the government as being tourist. Owners would need to prove otherwise and that they are not involved in tourism marketing.

As an example, says Sansó, if ministry inspectors receive a complaint from a neighbour regarding a regular change of tenants in a property without a holiday rental licence, the inspectors will act. "It is very difficult for there to be a frequent change of tenants without there being some form of tourism commercialisation."

If the property is let without a licence for a month or more, so long as there has been no publicity suggesting a tourist/holiday let, then there is no infringement of the tenancy act. There would still, nevertheless, need to be a contract for the tenant. "What we are pursuing is the commercialisation as indicated by the legislation," adds Sansó.

Owners who are unable to justify short-term lets of less than a month without a licence can potentially face fines of between 20,000 and 40,000 euros. But as with the much bigger fines for websites which carry adverts for "illegal" rentals, the government could face challenges. At a meeting in Muro more than a month ago which generated a good deal of confusion, Sansó appeared to imply that a Balearic interpretation of the tenancy act, a national law, could constitute a violation of that law. The interpretation, or rather the stated case in the Balearic legislation of less than a month, does not exist in the national law.