SPAIN’S new Housing Law has been branded as having a ‘disastrous’ effect on the rental market by Alicante’s Association of Real Estate Agents (API).

The group says the legislation has led to ‘thousands of flats been left empty’ while other have been put up for sale or converted into tourist homes.

The API claims the bottom line is that the supply of rental housing has plummeted while rental cost have climbed ‘steeply’ with last year seeing a 16% hike.

API president, Marife Esteso, said: “The law has achieved just the opposite effect to the one intended, as instead of promoting renting, it has discouraged it.”

“The legal certainty of the landlord has been eliminated and that has meant that people who had an apartment to rent have preferred to sell it or convert it into tourist housing,” he added.

Esteso said that the API warned about this happening when the Housing Law came into force last May.

“We said it would bring negative consequences, such as the limitation of rent in certain areas and an increase in evictions involving vulnerable households”.

The Alicante Professional Association has called on authorities to ‘implement measures that really serve to increase the supply of rental housing’.

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