A new law came into force in 2012. It was called the ‘Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos’, also known as LAU (Urban Leases Act). This law allows holiday rentals to be permitted for any building, subject to specific requirements. The Balearic Tourism Law allows for the commercialisation of tourist accommodation in properties and for heavily fining those who rent properties without the required ETV (Estancia Turistica en Viviendas) tourist license. This legislation only covers detached and semi-detached villas, it does not extend to apartments.
Vicente Torres, the Director of the Balearic Tourist Board, recently had this to say: “It is not that difficult to obtain an ETV license. Yes, it takes a long time to obtain the official permit as we are coping with a backlog. We are actually now working on the 2013 permit requests. However, that should not be a problem, because from the minute you hand in the documents you are allowed to rent out your house for touristic purposes.
The difficulty for many property owners is not the Tourist Board, the problem arises when needing to register your property as a business. You will need to obtain a DRIAT (Declaración responsable de inicio de actividad turística) at the town hall. For this declaration you need to show that your property and all that is within your premises, has been built legally. Before handing over the declaration the town hall will sent an inspector to check that all is correct. If you have built exactly what is on the papers, than you can start your business. The costs of the registration is a one-off fixed tax of € 600 which needs to be paid. It does not matter whether your property is big or small or how many beds you have.
It is said that this has come about because of pressure from the hotel owners who claim to lose money because of websites like Airbnb that offer private homes as holiday rentals. Every year this creates a decrease in housing for the people that come to Ibiza to work. There are doctors who can’t work in our hospitals, teachers who can’t work in our schools and seasonal workers who can’t afford to live in Ibiza, because there are simply no affordable houses or rooms left.
This is one of the main objectives of the ETV permit application. We had to regulate the increase of holiday rentals. Next to this, there are many people with property on this island. They frequently use our facilities, yet never pay taxes on their rental income. We have now started to look into this more and more. Yes, we do have inspectors checking these websites and we do have inspectors looking at social media channels to stop the illegal rentals, but this is not because of pressure from the hotels.