Palma in Spain’s Balearic Islands bans almost all Airbnb-style rentals

MADRID (Reuters) – Palma de Mallorca, capital of the Mediterranean tourist destination in the Balearic Islands, voted on Thursday to ban almost all short-term rentals of private homes like Airbnb’s, which residents say triggered a sharp increase in rental prices.

Under the new regulations, Palma joins dozens of tourist towns in Europe that have chosen to restrict the practice of individuals being able to rent their homes, or even rooms in their homes, for short periods.

In February, the Balearic Islands, of which Mallorca is a part, said they would fine the roommates and rentals service Airbnb ($ 365,310) of € 300,000 ($ 365,310) for advertising unregistered accommodation on its website. .

The new regulations will no longer allow shared accommodation in apartment buildings, although single-family homes are still available as long as they are not on protected land, in an area around the airport, or in non-residential buildings. intended for residential use.

Tourism provides more than 11% of Spain’s economic output, and the country has seen record levels of visitors in recent years as terror-worried sun-seekers shy away from North and Middle Africa. -East.

Rental prices have increased by around 40% since 2013 and unregulated tourist rentals have increased by around 50% to nearly 20,000, according to city hall figures.

Locals also complain that short-term rentals of houses in apartment buildings often bring holiday visitors who show little respect for community standards of behavior and noise.

Complaints against tourists quadrupled between 2014 and 2017 to reach 192, the town hall said.

“Palma should be a livable city and the worst that can happen is that the inhabitants have to leave,” said Palma mayor Antoni Noguera.

Other Spanish cities like Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Malaga, Seville and Valencia have passed laws or are reviewing regulations to restrict tourist rentals through sites like Airbnb and Homeaway.

($ 1 = 0.8212 euros)

Reporting by Paul Day; Editing by Julien Toyer / Mark Heinrich

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