Balearic Government sends draft holiday rental law to Parliament

property for sale in palma de Mallorca, balearics
Palma de Mallorca’s historic city centre

Last Friday the Balearic regional government (Govern) approved a draft new law regulating tourist rentals on all the islands, containing some sensible measures.

Known locally in Spanish as the Proyecto de ley de Alquiler Turístico, the draft law envisages giving the community of owners in every building the right to decide if they want to allow holiday rentals in their building or not. A simple majority vote will be needed to approve holiday rentals. Owners will also need independent water and electricity meters to get a holiday-rental licence.

Another key aspect of the draft is giving municipalities the power to zone areas for holiday rentals, and prohibit them in others. City Hall of the Balearic capital Palma has already announced it will zone the whole city off-limits for tourist rentals, though the town planning councillor Antoni Noguera has also said they might consider the Amsterdam model in future, allowing holiday rentals in certain areas for a maximum of two months per year for each property.

Under current regulations, it is not possible to get a licence to rent apartments to tourists anywhere in the Balearics, though thousands, if not tens of thousands of flats are rented this way each year. Research by the local paper Diario de Mallorca reveals there are almost 3,000  flats currently being advertised as tourist rentals in Palma alone. That illustrates how current regulations are widely ignored.

To my mind it sounds sensible to give the community of owners in a building or complex the right to decide if they want to allow holiday rentals in their community, and allow town halls to zone areas for different housing needs. If this means that tourist rentals are legal in areas where there is little demand for primary housing, and affordable housing in particular, and where community of owners are in favour, then that’s got to be better than a blanket ban that is widely ignored, which is the current situation.

The Govern has now sent the draft to parliament for fast track debate and approval, and the new regulations are expected to be in force by the summer. I’ll get a legal expert to explain the new law in detail once it’s passed.

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