Sunshine City To Ban Renting Out Holiday Apartments

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Property investors on the sunshine island of Mallorca face a ban on letting apartments to tourists.

The local authority in Palma, the capital of the favourite holiday destination for thousands of Europeans, has voted to curb holiday lets because of the strain tourists are placing on the local economy and services.

A study revealed Palma saw the number of unlicensed holiday lets surge between 2015 and 2017 to reach 20,000 properties.

Landlords registered just 645 homes for short lets.

The local authority says holiday apartments have shrunk the number of homes available for locals and made rents unaffordable.

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Soaring rents

Palma is Spain’s eighth largest city, attracting workers from all over the country.

The authority claims rents have soared by 40% since 2013 and are now beyond the reach of most workers on average pay. Only rents for homes in Barcelona cost more.

The new measure, which is expected to come into force from July will ban tourists from renting apartments in blocks designed for local families.

Instead, they will be banished to detached villas, providing they are not on agricultural land, near the airport or in commercial zones.

The city council says Palma has 180,000 homes, with 23,000 coming under the definition of detached single-family homes suitable for tourists.

The Balearic Islands, which include Mallorca, already have a ban on renting out unlicensed property to tourists which is largely unenforced.

AirBnB factor

Officials blame the AirBnB factor, as the web site allows homeowners to easily let their properties.

Official figures suggest the number of lets jumped by millionin 2017 to 4 million, serving a large proportion of the country’s 70 million visitors a year.

“There is a parallel between the evolution of vacation rentals and the rise in rental prices,” said José Hila, the local chief of city planning.

“Tourist accommodation affects the makeup of buildings and neighbourhoods, and it also affects social harmony.

“All European cities are being transformed from one day to the next by this type of offer. We need some order. There will be vacation rentals in Palma, but only where there needs to be.”

Other European cities with huge numbers of foreign visitors are also considering similar measures to Palma. They include Amsterdam and Venice.

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