Majorca [Credit: Farid Askerov on Unsplash]

Decree to seal off illegal rentals passed by Balearic government

Spain: The Government of the Balearic Islands has passed an administrative simplification decree that will allow island councils and town halls to seal off holiday rental properties that are being operated illegally.

The government is specifically targeting holiday rental property owners who are failing to pay mandatory tourist taxes in Spain, with one recent report suggesting that up to 8,700 holiday rentals may be operating illegally in the Balearic Islands alone and that there has been almost a ten per cent rise in the number of holiday rentals in Spain over the last 12 months.

While the government is keen for local police forces to participate in the inspection of suspect holiday rental properties, Marc Pons of the socialist opposition PSOE party believes that only a court should be able to order the sealing off of a property.

It comes as thousands of protesters have taken to streets in Majorca, Ibiza and Minorca to demand that the regional government take “immediate measures” to address perceived ‘over-tourism’. Protesters have even taken to beaches and airports to take a stand with their demonstrations.

The Balearic Islands include Majorca [Mallorca], Ibiza, Formentera, Minorca [Menorca], Cabrera and S’Espalmador.

As well as the topic of illegal holiday rentals, the wide-ranging decree involves the modification of 46 laws in total, including for nature conservation, environmental impact studies, waste, roads and more.

Mass tourism protests intensified in April as the Canary Islands, mainland Spain and other Spanish islands prepared to tighten legislation on illegal holiday rental operations.

At the time, it was reported that a draft law was being prepared across the seven-island archipelago which would ban new-build properties from the short-term rental market, while property owners with a permit would have five years to comply with the new rules. Furthermore, the plan could involve recruiting up to 1,300 people to work on the enforcement of the legislation.

The sentiment around mass tourism is being echoed across more cities in Spain, including Malaga, Barcelona and Madrid. and Airbnb say that they work with regional governments and authorities to remove unauthorised listings and “balance the benefits of home sharing and housing concerns”.

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