Perhaps it is the consequence of confusion over how legislation is processed in the Balearics, but it would seem that thousands of people turned up at the tourism ministry last week in an attempt to "regularise" their holiday apartments.
The cabinet approved the text of the legislation on 7 April. This approval did not make it law, though. That will only happen when parliament passes the legislation, and there could yet be amendments arising from the debates that will be had. Nevertheless, it appears that many people got hold of the wrong end of the stick, so much so that ministry officials were forced to put a notice up. This explained that the law has yet to be finally approved and that, in any event, it is currently prohibited to offer tourist rental (in an open, commercialised sense) in apartments or townhouses. The alternative view was they knew full well the legislative status and were in a rush to try and register apartments (which they cannot).
Neither the ministry's personnel nor politicians had expected the situation to arise, though it was taken as an indication of the level of interest in the issue and also of the number of people who are engaging in rentals, despite their not being regularised.
In addition to any confusion over where the legislation is in the processing procedure, the response perhaps also demonstrated a lack of understanding of the law as it is at present. Under the 2012 tourism (which itself updated 1999 legislation), it should have been clear that tourist rentals (in the commercialised sense) in apartment blocks is prohibited. Moreover, those who turned up at the ministry seemed unaware of the fact that even once the new law is passed, it will be up to the island councils and town halls to determine zones for holiday rentals of any type: the town halls will have eight months to do this.
It is anticipated that parliament will pass the legislation in the second half of June. It will then be most likely that there will be no granting of registration requests until next year.
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