Will the Balearics’ say bye-bye to Airbnb?

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Will the Balearics say bye-bye to Airbnb
PALMA DE MALLORA: Where rental prices have risen 30 per cent in the last five years Photo credit Aegean Airlines

THE Balearic Islands ruled on Tuesday that they will penalise landlords for illegally renting apartments to tourists with fines of up to €40,000 euros, amid a backlash against the effects of mass tourism across the country.

The move is an escalation in efforts to crack down on home-sharing sites such as Airbnb by city councils or local authorities in Spain, as concern mounts over the side-effects of their increasing popularity.

Airbnb, much like ride-hailing firm Uber, is facing a crackdown from legislators worldwide triggered in part by lobbying from the hotel industry which sees the rental service as unfair competition.

In the Balearic Islands, which drew more foreign visitors than any other region in Spain this June, rental costs have jumped and there are fears of a housing shortage for residents.

Rental prices in Palma de Mallorca, the Mediterranean archipelago’s biggest city, have risen 40 percent in the last five years, according to property platform Mitula.

The island of Ibiza has the biggest density of Airbnb rentals, with a tourist apartment for every 30 residents, data from analytics firm Airdna showed.

Renting apartments without a licence was banned in the region in 2012 under a previous administration but enforcement was largely nonexistent, according to the Balearic government.

The new legislation establishes fines of between €20,000 and €40,000 for those offering short rentals without a license to tourists.

Local residents will be able to report suspected illegal flats though a website, and online platforms such as Airbnb and Homeaway could also face fines of up to €400,000 if they are found to advertise rentals without a license number.

The Balearics’ four islands will each have a year to decide if and where they will allow licensed tourist rentals to continue…

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