The Foro Vacacional, an organisation dedicated to the promotion of holiday rentals, held a conference on Tuesday. Among those attending were the government's director-general for tourism, Antoni Sansó, the president of the Habtur holiday rentals association, Joan Miralles, and his predecessor, Juan Estarellas, now the CEO of Foro Vacacional.
A headlining revelation from the conference was that 75% of apartments that had once been advertised online as holiday rentals no longer are - some 35,000 properties, it was said. The reason? The fear of being fined. For Sansó, this was evidence of the effectiveness of legislation. It is being complied with.
Despite the legislation, Estarellas produced figures to suggest that there is growth in the Balearics rentals market that averages over two per cent each month. In the past year there has been 16% growth, making the Balearics the Spanish region with the second highest increase. Demand for rentals is growing, he observed, and so are prices - up by 19%.
Legislative restrictions have had a particular impact in Palma, where supply has fallen 40%. This has led to Palma being one of the most expensive European cities for rentals, with an average income of 1,000 euros per month.
Another contributor was Antonio Nieto, the national government's assistant director-general for the tourism secretary of state. He pointed out that 12% of European Union travellers have opted for holiday rentals in the past year - 40 million people. The government, aware of the problem, is seeking to obtain maximum consensus with the regions on introducing a single register of rentals. There is an inter-ministerial committee addressing amendments to two important laws - those for "horizontal property" and for tenancy, the Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos.
Nieto noted that from 1 January next year all websites will have to provide information regarding rental properties to the Tax Agency in order to remove the current "opacity" and to bring fiscal control. In January, websites will have to supply data for 2018. Regional administrations and the national government agree that this will be a key means for stopping tax fraud and the illegal offer of accommodation.