AN ‘avalanche’ of calls from worried homeowners renting out flats without a licence has swamped Mallorca authorities.
Hundreds of callers have rang the Tourist department for information about getting flats regulated, despite missing the July 31 deadline.
Unlicenced homeowners are concerned about possible fines of €40,000, with platforms like AirBnb and Homeaway facing penalties of €400,000.
“It has generated an avalanche of calls,” said a spokesperson.
“The big rental sites are taking down hundreds of homes without permits to avoid fines.”
A Booking.com spokesperson refused to say how many it had removed, but confirmed it was in ‘constructive dialogue’ to comply with regulations.
Airbnb claim the new rental legislation will cost the Balearic Islands €500 million and hit 10,000 families.
But many local property experts back the government’s moves.
One, Louisa Foster, who has worked in Mallorca real estate for 17 years, believes the regulations are vital.
“Last year, we were unable to help over 30 clients who had jobs here, but were unable to find affordable housing as the majority of homes are weekly rentals,” said the owner of Vogue Exclusive and First Island Properties Mallorca.
“Families rang our offices in tears unable to find property at decent prices.”
She added: “Unless the government do something now, this island will be ruined in two to three years.”
David Novi, a property market specialist with 12 years’ experience on the island, also backed the need for tighter regulation and fines.
“I believe in some form of regulatory threat,” he told the Olive Press.
“We can’t have a situation where people are being driven out and workers can’t get rentals. We need a balance.”