Local lawmakers in both Palma de Mallorca and Ibiza have announced moves to clamp down on tourist rentals that sound harsh, but probably amount to gestures.
Palma de Mallorca
Palma City Hall has announced plans to ban tourist rental apartments outright this summer, with fines of up to €40,000 for infringement. The problem is, the Ayuntamiento doesn’t have the muscle to enforce a ban, so it might be just another empty gesture against holiday rentals in the Balearics.
Deputy mayor of Palma Antoni Noguera, head of the housing department for the left-wing governing coalition, said the entire city will be zoned off-limits for holiday rentals in preparation for a regional draft law going through Balearic parliament that envisages limiting holiday rentals to certain areas.
However, Noguera also made it clear that, even if the regional law is not passed in time, the Ayuntamiento will carry out its plan to ban all short-stay apartment rentals in the city this summer. Single-family homes that have a tourist rental licence will not be affected.
But as an article in the Spanish daily El Pais points out, Palma City Hall doesn’t have the authority to do this, or the muscle to implement it. That’s the job of the regional government (Govern Balear), also based in Mallorca’s capital.
Recent research by the Ayuntamiento found there are 3,200 tourist rentals apartments being marketed online in the city, with 21,216 beds, the equivalent of 70% of the city’s tourist accommodation capacity. “90% of it is unregulated,” Noguera told the Spanish press. “Not a single apartment in Palma has a licence.”
The Ayuntamiento blames holiday lettings for driving up rental costs for locals – up 10% a year for the last for years.
Meanwhile, from Ibiza the news is the Consell Insular, or Island Authority, is putting a group of ‘Informants’ on the street to help identify illegal holiday rentals, and let the owners know they are breaking the law, and could face fines. The opposition PP party has ridiculed the measure, pointing out that owners of illegal holiday lets already know they are breaking the law.
This new measure is the brainchild of Viviana de Sans, General Secretary of the hard-left Podemos party, and councilor responsible for housing in Ibiza’s governing left wing coalition. In a recent interview she suggested you can spot illegal holiday rentals from beach towels hanging on balconies. The PP has sarcastically advised locals not to hang beach towels on their balconies to avoid an “inspection of visit from the informants.”
Local political parties are doing what they do best, namely accusing one another of having no interest in solving the problem, and of being on the side of property owners (bad).