RENTAL firms have hit back after being warned they face fines of up to €400,000 for advertising unlicensed properties.
One British agent in Mallorca told the Olive Press she has lost around 40% of her rental homes following last week’s Balearic ruling.
It comes as it was revealed Spain’s central government is examining if the new regulations, which aim to curb spiralling rental costs, break EU law.
“They’ve never made it clear who can get a licence, how to get a licence,” said Clare Taylor, an agent who has lived in Mallorca for 17 years.
“This is total scaremongering and it could flood the market with properties to sell.”
She added: “Closing one property directly and indirectly affects about 15 people’s livelihoods.”
This week, online rental platform giants Homeaway slashed its number of advertised Mallorca flats from 3,363 to 2,800.
Businesses advertising properties on the site were given 15 days to comply, with unlicensed homeowners facing fines of €400,000.
No new licences will be granted for one year under the government’s plan, with rental licences now having to be displayed on all adverts.
Meanwhile, another British agent, Jan Dexter from Parasol Property Mallorca, said the move would ‘ruin’ some homeowners who rent out their property.
“I just paid €6,000 for a new webpage and in the space of a week probably lost 40% of the rental properties I was offering,” she said.
“They are shooting themselves in the foot. It’s crazy.”
An Airbnb spokesperson told the Olive Press the new law was ‘complicated and confusing’.
One well-placed source even claimed hotel companies own many of Mallorca’s flat-rental licences already granted.
“Decades ago the hotel owners ran the flat-rental business,” he said. “When hotels were full they put tourists in apartments. They would then build shops inside the hotels.”
He added: “In Mallorca we always wanted tourists who ate in our restaurants with us, who bought in our shops, not always staying in the hotel and having an experience you can have anywhere.
“We have that now, it’s more democratic and money goes to everyone,not just hotels. But it’s at risk.”
Debbie Davies, a Partner at South West Mallorca Holiday Rentals, admitted, ‘I don’t know any agent that hasn’t been affected’ by the new regulations.
“I can’t begin to imagine the impact on small businesses if most of the apartments are removed from the rental market,” she said.
“Luckily our villas all have touristic licences, although we have a small selection of apartments, which we will stop renting.”