Palmas will be the first city in Spain to prohibit renting apartments to tourists that pushes the prices of rents, a sequel that especially harms local tenants and causes the so called mass tourism, according to explanations of the municipal government.
The city on the island of Majorca is to ban flat owners from renting their apartments to travelers since next July, becoming the first place in Spain to introduce such a measure. City sources said the restrictions follow complaints from residents of rising rents due to short holiday lets through websites and apps.
Palma’s mayor says the ban will be a model for cities suffering with mass tourism.
Officials from the local governing coalition cited a study suggesting that the number of non-licensed apartments on offer to tourists increased by 50% between 2015 and 2017. A report of the Spanish newspaper El País said only 645 of 11,000 holiday rentals being offered to tourists on Palma have the license required to do so.
Mayor Antoni Noguera explained that “we agreed on this [ban] based on the general interest [of the city] and we believe it will set the trend for other cities when they see that finding a balance is key.”
The municipal government added that houses and chalets will be exempt from the restrictions unless if are located inside protected areas, next to the airport or in industrial zones.
Last year Palma banned the advertisement of non-licensed flats, including hefty fines for owners and apps flouting the rules. Barcelona has taken similar action. A record 82 million foreign tourists visited Spain last year, with Catalonia and the Balearic Islands – which include Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera – being the top destinations.
The local holiday rentals association, Habtur, said not only owners would be affected but also restaurants and shops, warning that jobs could be cut.
Britons who usually spend their holidays in the Balearic Islands, and booked already for Palma for this summer, “have been left panicked by shock plans to ban tourist rental apartments from June onwards” The Sun of London wrote.
Until now, there has been very little regulation on holiday rental properties in Spain but recently, new rules were introduced by the local Balearic government – which also covers Mallorca – which require rental villas to carry a license in order to operate.