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Legal or (currently) illegal?

Holiday rentals in the Balearic Islands!


In the last few weeks again and again we have been contacted by uncertain clients who want to make sure that the holiday home, that they want to rent or even already have rented (and paid a deposit), actually is offered legally by the owner or the agency.

There is also a certain number of people, who made their booking of a holiday home at other agencies and now the bookings are cancelled short term by the agency or by the owner – usually without giving reasons. Thus they are sitting on bags packed, the flights are booked but they have no holiday home at their destination.

To assure that this does not happen to you and you can enjoy the most beautiful weeks of the year without any problems, we summarize the most important facts concerning the current legal situation for renting holiday homes in the Balearic islands, but we request for your understanding, that we do not assume any liability for the accuracy of the information – on the sole ground that there may be changes every day. Furthermore we will give you valuable hints how to verify the integrity of tourist rental offers:

Legal situation:
On 8 August 2017 a new Law on Tourism entered into force in the Balearic islands. Since then there it is not possible to receive a licence for tourist rental for any kind of house or flat, only motions put forward before this date  are processed; for those properties the owners obtain a temporary licence number.
The moratorium will last up to one year, what means until August 2018. Then the application for new licences should be possible again, but it is expected that they must meet strict requirements.

What does that mean in concrete terms?

1. Detached and semi-detached houses as well as village houses, which already had a licence for tourist rental before August 2017 or rather the licence had already been requested and so they have a temporary licence number still may be offered for tourist rental to tourists directly or by using brokerage platforms legally.

2. For flats that are situated in buildings, which are used for residential purposes (no explicite holiday apartment buildings) there do and even there did not exist any licence for tourist rental so far. This means that at the moment it is illegal to offer any flat or apartment in the Balearic islands for tourist rentals (in a few cases there may be only one small exception concerning granny annexes).
As there do not exist any licences for tourist rental for apartments and flats, it is laso not permitted to offer such properties as holiday home by using brokerage platforms.

3. Subject to the law tourist rentals are all rentings up to one month.
Longer periods of renting shall not be classified as tourist rentals, but it is also prohibited to offer such long-term rentals by using tourist brokerage platforms..
There a numerous lessors, who want to motivate tourists to evade law by offering long-term contracts (> one month) which may be cancelled at the end of your holidays; e. g. after two weeks.
We urgently recommend not to get involved in those dubious offers, especially as you do not know, if the lessor actaully will accept your cancellation or in the end you have to pay the share for the complete rental period; additionally, according to the Law, you have to pay a security deposit in the amount of a one month share when signing the agreement .

4. With the entry into force of the new Law on Tourism the penalties for both, lessors as well as brokerage platform operators, have been drastically increased ant the controls have been tightened.
According to initial reports there have already been punished lessors with the maximum penalty of TEUR 40 as well as operators of tourist brokerage platforms with penalties up to TEUR 300 (maximum penalty is TEUR 400) because of violation of the new law.
As a result the number of lessors that become more cautios is increasing ans they do not longer offer their flats and apartments (by using tourist brokerage platforms) or even cancel, as mentioned at the beginning, already confirmed bookings.

5. What does the future hold?
Plans are currently being, that on every island of the Balearics will be defined specific zones. In those areas in the future it shall be possible to offer flats and apartments in buildings, which are used for residential purposes, for legal tourist rentals, but only under strict restrictions. Mandatory requirement for granting a license in the specific zones will be a majority approval of the owner community. In general the application for a licence for touristic rentals will only be possible for properties – (detached) houses and flats – which are at least five years old.

As promised here is a summary of some hints how to verify the integrity of tourist rental offers:

1. Make sure, that the offered house has a valid licence for tourist rentals.
On brokerage platforms the licence number usually should be published.
Before signing the contract the lessor should send you a copy of the licence document.
Currently there are exisitng plannings to publish all applied and valid licence numbers for tourisitc rentals in the Balearic islands.

2. Ask for many photos and information of the property. When you receive the geodata of the property you have the opportunity to check if the location and the surrounding of the property correspond with the dat and photos you received.

3. Please read and check the rental agreement carefully, especially when it is not written in your native. When you have any doubts you should instruct an interpreter.

4. Please transfer money only to an account of a bank in your home country, the home country of the owner/lessor or the country, where the porperty is located.
We do not recommend money transfers by using international money transfer agents.

5. Make your booking only with trusted providers with positive ratings and/or appropriate certifications and/or the membership in associations and/or recommendations of friends and/or of course your own experience.

Should there be any questions left or you should have a rental request, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We are there for you!

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