VPO properties are a form of affordable social housing in the Balearics, prices for which are controlled by the government. Ownership of such properties comes with strings attached. For a specified period, typically thirty years, they can only be sold at prices that the government determines. There are rules regarding their use, including their being rented out.
Thirty-three people have been fined a total of 60,000 each for the misuse of government owned houses, or VPO’s in the Balearic Islands.
Inspections by representatives of the Housing Ministry found that 24 were either, not living permanently in the property they owned, allowing too many people to stay in the property or trying to sell it for more than the price allocated by the government.
The investigation also found that 5 people were no longer living in the Balearic Islands and were illegally renting their property.
There haven't, as yet, been any fines because VPOs are being used as holiday rentals. The tourism ministry doesn't have any responsibility for these properties. This lies with the housing ministry, and it is this ministry which has been carrying out inspections.
The government points to certain "flagrant" abuses, such as owners living abroad and using the VPOs as second homes.
The rules for VPOs are due to change in that they will remove the possibility of selling them at market prices at the end of the specified period. The government has lost control of some 5,000 properties in recent years because of this. New VPOs will only be resold by the government at prices it sets.