Biel Barceló talking tough about apartment rentals yesterday.


Tourism minister Biel Barceló said yesterday that websites advertising apartments for tourists have fifteen days to comply with the new Balearic tourism legislation. If they don't comply with the law, which is now in force, they could face fines of between 40,000 and 400,000 euros.  

Owners can now be subject to fines of between 20,000 and 40,000 euros. The government will treat apartment rentals of less than a month as "tourist". Owners will need to show that there is a lease contract (in accordance with the national tenancy act) and that the visitor has paid a deposit. The burden of proof is to be placed on the owner to show that a visitor isn't a tourist/traveller. Otherwise, the activity will be deemed illegal.

In addition, any apartment advertised on a website considered to be for tourist accommodation purposes, e.g. Airbnb, will automatically lead to a fine. Adverts for properties on Airbnb and other sites have to include a tourism ministry registration licence number. In the case of apartments*, there are no registration numbers because it has been legally impossible to license them. The tourism ministry is said to have identified 83 websites that could be liable to fines.

Barceló, together with the tourism director general Pilar Carbonell and the ministry's technical adviser, Antoni Sansó, pointed out that in Majorca at present there are fifteen inspectors as well as three agents who deal with sanctions' procedures. Their numbers are to be swelled by five and three respectively.

With regard to tourist accommodation places (of all types), Barceló explained that there are 623,624 in the whole of the Balearics, of which 435,707 are in Majorca: 294,163 of these are hotels. These figures take account of the 42,000-plus places that are to be allocated as a result of the new legislation. The majority of these are expected to be holiday rentals. The allocation will not be firmed up until the end of the twelve-month "moratorium" on the issuing of new licences for rentals and the island councils and town halls have agreed on zones for rentals.

Moreover, 120,000 places across the Balearics are to be eliminated. These are ones (mainly hotels, it would seem) that were created as "exceptions", according to the government. The 2012 tourism law is principally blamed for this, though these exceptions also arose because of the first tourism law of 1999. The elimination will take a number of years, as licences are revoked.

Carbonell said that an inspection campaign of nine estate agencies in April found 330 apartments that were being advertised illegally. A second campaign detected only twenty. This, she suggested, was evidence of agencies having taken note of the legislation.

* Confusion can sometimes arise about apartments. There is an official category of tourist apartments (Apartamentos Turísticos) that applies to whole buildings or series of buildings. They are totally different to holiday lets in that they function in a similar way to hotels. They are rated according to "keys" rather than stars and are denoted by the letters AT.


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Hugh Gentry / Hace 11 months

Catalan's eh? Sooner they get independence the better, so they can sit there and wonder why they haven't got any money, determined as they are to demolish anything culturally associated with Spain and denying anything new that threatens their existing businesses like Airbnb or Uber. Foreigners should pass on the whole Catalan/Valenciano thing and move on to real Spain i.e. Murcia and Andalucia.


nauticalnomad / Hace 11 months

LOL....Watch the place crumble.. I love Spanistan


Spanron / Hace 11 months

Hugo - those guests who come to your finca are your 'friends'. What you wish to collect from them in the form of a 'contribution' is entirely a matter between you and them. Don't encourge snooping controlling politicians and mis-placed do-gooders the opportunity to destroy your welcoming nature. They will be continuing license or not! The recent case of the leader of one of the main parties subletting an apartment to tourists proves this.


Hugo / Hace 11 months

My take on this whole debate is one of bewilderment. All this effort on killing the one industry on Mallorca that is keeping this island afloat.

I live in a finca and occasionally i rent out some rooms in a BnB type setting (not via airbnb). I wonder what my exposure is with all these new rules and regulations.


Peter / Hace 12 months

Does anybody here know if the LAU has been changed to include a minimum rental period ?


John / Hace 12 months

Crazy. Nobody will pay a 40.000 euro fine of course. They'll only recover it after a long court battle, and if they win any appeal made to the EC. Then they'll have to get a court order to embargo the property, which would be trashed with untold unpaid bills; and if it has a mortgage against it ?

Any sane politician would simply charge a £500 a year registration fee and regulate it with a licence number....


Daily Bulletin / Hace 12 months

Theo, it has long been possible to license villas, and there are very many which are licensed as holiday rentals. They are not affected by the legislation. But if a villa is advertised and doesn't have a licence number, then the same rules would apply, so websites and owners could be subject to fines.


Mrs know all! / Hace 12 months

Juan A Day: the answer is no. It's a very common surname here and in Catalunya.


Theo / Hace 12 months

Villas are not mentioned in the article... Are they any different?


Juan A Day / Hace 12 months

Does Snr Barcelo have any connection to the Barcelo Hotel Family? Not that that would mean he had an interest in blocking airbnb's progress or anything.