Examples of accommodation in Mallorca advertised on Airbnb. | Ems l


For the height of summer in Mallorca, Airbnb currently has 432 available accommodation offers. The website states that there are more than 2,000 in all, so accommodation, while limited, is available. However, most of it is illegal.

The cheapest is a small room in a shared apartment in Palma for 38 euros per night - a "unique opportunity", according to the advert. A modest room in a shared flat in Palma is around 100 euros a night. Accommodation such as this can't be licensed and the adverts carry no registration numbers to indicate that they are licensed, a requirement under Balearic legislation.

Alternative accommodation includes vans and motorhomes - no air-conditioning or luxuries for over 100 euros a night. In the Sencelles countryside, there is a tent that promises an unforgettable experience in the style of 'One Thousand and One Nights' "Romantic accommodation in the middle of nature with Berber fabrics." Includes electricity and outdoor shower - all for 63 euros a night.

But luxury is certainly available, such as a villa in Llucmajor for 2,833 euros per night for up to ten people.

A court ruling found against the Balearic government, which had fined Airbnb 400,000 euros for advertising unregistered tourist accommodation. The court agreed that Airbnb is an intermediary and was therefore not liable. This ruling did not remove the legal obligation from owners, who can be fined up to 40,000 euros.

In Palma, municipal ordinance prohibits holiday letting in apartments, while Balearic government legislation adapted the national tenancy act in effectively outlawing short stays.

The national hoteliers confederation in Spain wants the Spanish government to adopt legislation that will apply to the whole country. Regulation was delegated to the regions, and this has resulted in different rules. One of the hoteliers' suggestions is that all adverts for tourist accommodation on sites such as Airbnb should show a registration number. But as has been the case in the Balearics, it is very difficult to make such a rule apply to the websites; owners, yes, but not the websites.

Illegal some of these offers may be, but people take the risk in advertising them. The Council of Mallorca now has the responsibility for tourist accommodation (transferred from the Balearic government). Whether the Council has the inspectors is a different matter, but it has facilitated denouncements of illegal holiday letting by the public; the number of these reports is said to be shooting up.