Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Inundating The Tourism Ministry

Extraordinary story about the tourism ministry having been inundated by owners attempting to "regularise", i.e. register, their holiday rentals' properties (mostly apartments, it would seem). This followed the cabinet's approval of the rentals' legislation. This was either a case of people thinking that the legislation had come into effect or of wanting to pre-empt it becoming law and so trying to ensure registration. Whichever of these it was, they were wrong.

The legislation has yet to be passed by parliament, so it hasn't come into force, and indeed the suggestion is that it won't in fact be applied (not fully anyway) until next summer. This is logical because the town halls and the Council of Mallorca won't have finalised their decisions on the zoning of rentals until - at the latest - around February (assuming parliament passes the bill by some time in June). So, any registration (or indeed de-registration) will have to wait until the zoning process is completed. Only then will owners know if their properties may qualify. And may will be a big word, given the various stipulations, which will be - to say the least - fairly restrictive.

Those owners who thought they might be able to pre-empt the legislation were barking up the wrong tree. Which notices posted at the ministry made clear. Any apartment for commercialised holiday rental (in other words openly marketed as such) is currently prohibited, and has been not just since the 2012 tourism law but in fact since the older law of 1999.

The confusion and/or ignorance is staggering, certainly where the law as it currently stands is concerned. It's not as if this is a subject which isn't given a thorough airing and explanation. Nevertheless, there are obviously owners who are blissfully unaware of the legal situation or who are fully well aware and flout the law anyway.

The potential for confusion once the law is passed is just as great. The zones, the requirements, the standards will add to the confusion. Then there is the business with the government saying that any rental of less than a month will be considered to be a holiday rental, regardless of whether an owner is using the try-on of insisting that it is covered by the tenancy act. How the government will go about this in a practical way remains to be seen, but if the ministry and tax agency have details (which are very easily obtainable), then the least which might happen is that owners can expect a bill for the tourist tax.

There is then the additional factor of inspection if a property becomes eligible for registration (or may currently be eligible in the case of, say, a villa). The inspectors take months in getting round to checking that properties meet requirements. The fact is that there are so few of them - fifteen - that such delays are inevitable. Plus, the inspectors are more concerned (and will be very much more concerned over the summer) with identifying illegal rentals.

What all those people were doing, attempting to register, is beyond me.

No comments: