Issues date back to a decree of 2000 that made membership and training for the provision of services unnecessary. | Patricia Lozano


Associations representing estate agencies in Mallorca and the Balearics have spent several years pressing for proper regulation of the sector. There have been frequent reports regarding the lack of adequate regulation and a consequent lack of professionalism and sufficient safeguards.

The COAPI official association of real estate agents in the Balearics and the ABINI association of national and international real estate agents have therefore welcomed the approval of a law aimed at alleviating the problems.

Expressing satisfaction with the broad political consensus, the COAPI president, José Miguel Artieda, says: "We thank the 45 members of parliament who voted in favour of this law. This is a milestone in the real estate sector at a time of maximum emergency and it is very reassuring to see that the majority of members of the Balearic parliament are able to reach consensus when it is a real problem. Now, with the approval of the regulation of the real estate agent and a compulsory register, it will be possible to bring order to this important sector and thus provide complete security, transparency and professionalism in real estate transactions."

Noting that this approval has stemmed from the government's decree of last October for housing emergency measures, the associations add that it represents a further step towards easing the serious housing problem currently facing the Balearic Islands.

The president of ABINI, Hans Lenz, acknowledged the joint efforts made: "When regulations are drawn up in close collaboration between the administration and professionals, problems can be identified and effective and realistic solutions can be proposed. It is time to put a stop to the lack of seriousness that the massive intrusion generates in the real estate sector. Citizens' rights and legal certainty will prevail from now on."

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COAPI and ABINI refer to a decree law of 2000 on "urgent liberalisation measures in the real estate and transport sector". Under this, the profession of real estate brokerage was "left liberalised and deregulated, making both membership and training for the provision of such services unnecessary from its entry into force".

Three years later, a further law maintained this liberalisation, although the need to establish a regulatory framework to protect consumers was recognised. This need had remained unresolved.

As Artieda explains: "All kinds of opportunists have therefore proliferated, dominated intermediation in the sector and for the most part have avoided or ignored the laws, regulations and obligations, causing an unjust discrediting of the profession as well as clear harm to the public and a certain distortion of the market."

From now on, it will be necessary to have the necessary knowledge to operate; to sign a contract to clearly establish the marketing conditions as a guarantee for all parties; to have an address in the Balearic Islands; to have civil liability insurance, a guarantee or surety to guarantee client deposits; to maintain continuous training; and to be in possession of full documentation and provide detailed information about properties.

For the consumer, the number of the Official Register of Estate Agents of the Balearic Islands will be easily recognisable. From the date of publication in the Official Bulletin, estate agents will have six months to register. Any offer, promotion, or advertising of real estate without complying with the legal requirements will be considered an illegal offer or clandestine activity, intrusive and unfair competition, and will lead to the initiation of the corresponding sanctioning proceedings.

A special conference for these "profound changes in the real estate sector" is to be held on Thursday (April 25) at the Lawyers College in Palma (La Rambla 10). José Miguel Artieda will be explaining the new regulations -