The Government has stopped issuing disciplinary proceedings against tourist rental platforms, such as AirBnb, Homelidays and Booking.com for advertising apartments or homes that don’t have a Ministry of Tourism licence.
In a Parliamentary response addressed to PP Deputy Salomé Cabrera, Minister Iago Negueruela acknowledged that his department has decided not to issue sanctions against these platforms "in view of the legal complexity of the disciplinary proceedings.”
Origin of Conflict
Minister Negueruela referred to a lengthy litigation that originated from the modification of the Tourism Law to oblige marketing platforms to include a declaration of tourist activity, or DRIAT and a tourist registration number in the marketing announcements to prevent illegal tourist rentals.
When AirBnb did not comply with the regulations in February 2018, the Department of Tourism imposed a fine of 300,000 for advertising tourist rentals without the necessary licence. The platform filed an appeal and the Superior Court of Justice of the Balearic Islands, or TSJIB agreed with the company and annulled the fine last May, on the understanding that it could not "impose the obligation to carry out a review of all the advertising that hosts publish on the web."
The court also ruled that the modification of the Tourism Law "violates the principle of primacy of Community Law" and that, according to EU regulations, the obligation to record licence numbers should only affect tourism companies, not marketing.
The ruling also pointed out that the company is based in Ireland and concluded that as a service provider established in that country, it is only subject "to the rules of the country of establishment in everything that refers to the coordinated scope of the EU."
The Government appealed the TSJIB verdict and although there is no firm ruling it decided not to open new disciplinary proceedings.
In saturated areas, tourist rentals are only allowed for 60 days a year in single-family and multi-family homes.
In her Parliamentary request, PP Deputy Salomé Cabrera asked Minister Negueruela which companies and tourist rental platforms a sanctioning file had been opened for and the Minister replied that the actions taken since the approval of the law "are diverse" but did not specify how many files had been opened.
The Conselleria de Model Econòmic i Turisme states that minutes have been taken for failing to comply with other articles of the Tourism Law not related to the obligation to publish the licence number and pointed out that inspection services have focused on monitoring compliance with anti-Covid-19 measures in tourist areas this year.