Police target illegal rentals

Last year Barcelona city council fined two holiday rental websites €600,000 each for offering unlicensed accommodation

The regional secretary of Tourism, Francesc Colomer, said last week that the Valencian Tourism Agency is putting in place a system to control illegal and unfair competition in the tourist rental sector, with the help of municipalities and their Local Police forces.

His department has prepared a set of rules which has been agreed with the different municipal corporations in all three provinces which will involve genuine and fully legal rental agencies in the fight against the illegal sector. Gandia was been the first council to join the project in the Valencian Community, although it has since been extended to València, Peñíscola, Castellón, Alfaz del Pi, Torrevieja and Alicante .

It is anticipated that more localities will be added, as Colomer said “the idea is to extend the scheme throughout the whole Community, thus maintaining our commitment to involve all administrations with a problem that is costing millions in unpaid taxes”.

For Colomer “illegally rented properties are a constant concern within our tourist sector, a reason why we need a Community-wide strategy to fight against these unscrupulous agencies and owners”. The objective is to involve the municipalities so that they can be involved and help our inspection teams, to have a more efficient operation at municipal level.

The contribution of the Local Police will consist of gathering information in order to identify holiday homes and the agencies that are acting illegally. They will also monitor the marketing and advertising networks of these properties

Since the scheme was introduced it should be noted that there has been the voluntary regularisation of four Internet platforms that deal with rental properties. These are Booking, Muchosol, Only-apartments and Photo rental.

In 2016, there were about 12,000 new tourist properties in the three provinces that registered with the scheme, 6,400 more than 2015 (6,493) and four times those of 2014 (3,799).