Palma de Mallorca local authority to ban holiday lets

Published:  27 Apr at 6 PM
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Expat property investors in the lucrative holiday let market are facing financial problems due to a local government ban on letting properties to tourists.

Between 2015 and 2017, the number of unlicensed apartments being used as holiday lets on the island soared to around 20,000, with a further 645 registered for short-term occupation by tourists. According to the local authority, the surge in holiday apartments has forced up property prices and shrunk the market in homes for locals as well as making long-term rentals unaffordable for local people.

Palma de Mallorca is the eighth largest city in Spain, and attracts workers from across the country, especially during the tourist season. Since 2013, rents have hit all-time highs and are now second only to rents in Barcelona,, making them far beyond the reach of workers drawing average salaries. The new rule is expected to come into force from July and will ban holidaymakers from renting accommodation in housing blocks meant for local families.

The only accommodation available in Palma for tourists after the ban is enforced will be detached villas set on non-agricultural land, along with villas near the airport or in commercial zones. According to the city council, Palma has around 180,000 homes, with only 23,000 defined as suitable for single-family tourists. The Balearic archipelago in its entirety already has a ban on the renting of unlicensed properties to visitors, although it’s rarely enforced.

Local officials are blaming the popular holiday bookings website AirBnB for the crisis, due to the ease with which real estate investors can let their properties. Recent statistics show an increase of a million to a total of four million short-term accommodations, serving a good number of Spain’s 70 million tourists every year. Local chief of city planning Jose Hila told local media there’s a strong parallel between vacation rentals of properties owned by expat investors and the unsustainable rise in rental charges.
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