Changes To Private Rental Laws
The Government of the Balearic Islands has drafted amendments to the 2012 law on private property rental and the commercialisation of tourism, to be introduced in 2017. The new regulations come in response to a greater demand for accommodation on the islands and have three main objectives. It is hoped that the new rules will prevent saturation of tourism in certain areas, improve the quality of holiday rental in multi-family buildings and maintain levels of reasonably-priced rental accommodation for residents.
Under the proposed changes, tourist licences for multi-family housing would be granted only in residential areas which are considered suitable for holiday stays by the local council and community of neighbours and would be granted for a renewable term of no more than five years. New commercialisation of tourist stays in houses located on rustic land would be prohibited and websites forbidden to advertise houses that are not legally registered. A clause in the legislation, introduced to prevent widespread speculation, also sets out that property advertised for private holiday rental, whether single housing or multi-housing, must have been in existence for at least ten years. Apartments must offer the minimum benefits of other holiday accommodation, such as: a cleaning service, individual water meter and fully equipped kitchen. The property must also be insured and have energy efficiency certificates. The Hotel Business Federation of Mallorca (FEHM) welcomed the new legislation in principal, but, initially cited insufficient documentation to issue an assessment on its full consequences.
The Association of Apartments and Houses for Holiday Rental of the Balearic Islands, (Aptur) has expressed concerns that the Government of the Balearics, plans, in its opinion, not to legislate on some 50% of properties currently being offered for holiday rental. The association does, however, approve of Article 19 which will create an obligation to list rules of co-habitation and proper use of services in multi-family properties. It is widely recognised that the regulation of holiday rental marketing has become a necessity. The practice of private rental for tourism has expanded immensely during the last few years, due to an unprecedented demand for accommodation in all Spanish resorts. The bad news for property owners is the introduction of a pay per tourist place, anticipated to cost between 600 and 1000 euros per individual holidaymaker, based on how many tourists can stay in the accommodation. Critics look set to claim that this will drive the market underground as to pass this cost on to tourists would be prohibitive to short stays.
Governmental guidelines are undoubtedly required to avoid the pitfalls of short term leasing and to protect both landlord and tenant against legal action or miscommunication regarding the suitability of rental accommodation, however, a substantial tax such as the pay per tourist charge may deter would-be investors or, at least force them to look at other areas of Spain. Visitor numbers to the Balearics have spiralled in recent years and 2017 looks set to break records, so there is very little danger that new legislation will dampen the enthusiasm for private rental. In fact, with hotels and commercial apartments stretched beyond capacity in peak season and an expected influx of staff requiring affordable accommodation, to support the infrastructure of holiday resorts, it is hoped the new laws will provide stability, accountability and protection of rights for all concerned.