First Illegal Rentals Joint Action Finds Tourists in 22 Apartments of a 32 Apartment Block in Playa d’en Bossa ~ But We Ask is the 40k€ Fine a Sufficient Deterrent?

  • Words: Nick Gibbs, Stock Photo of Playa Den Bossa:

Armed with new powers of inspection, the first joint operation of Ibiza Consell’s Property Inspectors and Ibiza Local Police, found illegal tourist rentals in 22 apartments of a 32-apartment building in Playa d’en Bossa.

The building owner was found to be living in 7 of the remaining apartments, whilst 3 tenants were able to produce legal long-term tenancy agreements.

The operations are set to continue in July and August, focusing on those buildings that have been subject to the greatest number of denuncias from neighbours. Each inspection is undertaken simultaneously by two teams, each comprising two inspectors and a police officer.

The insular director of Tourism, Vicent Torres, said that the joint actions are the result of decisions taken last February in finding a way to effectively fight the problem of illegal rentals. “One problem we had was that the inspectors were going to a property, but most of the time the occupants did not open the door. Now, when going with the Police, they have no choice but to answer” explained Torres, who said that they did not have the power to adopt this approach until new regulations came into force recently.

Joint teams have been set up for the raids in three municipalities: Ibiza Town, Sant Josep and Sant Antoni. Santa Eulària and Sant Joan will be formed shortly.

40,000€ Fine

In the case of the Playa d’en Bossa property, 5 of the 22 cases of illegal renting have already been commenced, and 80% may be processed by the end of the year, which would result in a fine of 40,000€.

The new regulations come under the Law 6/2017 that amended the Law 8/2012 of Tourism of the Balearic Islands, which “establishes that the owners are responsible together with the marketing entities.” According to a statement issued by the Consell, it has already been noted that the 22 properties detected in the Playa d’en Bosssa building “were advertised on various platforms that already have open proceedings”, they said, “These facts will now be incorporated into these files, which will aggravate the penalty to the platforms.”

Torres said that it will be much easier for the Consell to take these mass actions in future. He said that in the past “owners could make 50,000 excuses, but not now. Tourist rent is forbidden, the inspectors have gone to the flats, it has been proven that there were tourists there and they have been identified. It is not something based only on ads and offers. It has been proven that at that time they were rented to tourists. Now everything will be easier and faster.”

The tourism chief said that in addition to the 40,000 euros fine, the owner must immediately cease illegal activity or face further fines. “All those identified in the operations can expect repeated visits throughout the summer to make sure that the owners have desisted of this activity”.

Editorial Comment:

Just a little perspective on the 40,000€ fine.

Some guesstimate – and we think conservative – sums;

22 flats x 1,500€ per week rental in July and August x 80% Occupancy = 237,000€

22 flats x 1,000€ per week June and September x 70% Occupancy = 138,000€

22 flats x 700€ per week Part April, May and Part October x 60% Occupancy = 83,000€

Total projected season income = 458,000€ = ten times potential fine if caught.

Or to put it another way, total projected season income to point of raid = 132,000€, leaving 92,000€ profit after fine.

Or to put it yet another way, using our figures and 60% occupancy, if the owner is not caught by the 2nd week of May, he has already earned greater than the fine.

Ibiza Consell has held new powers since May. Number of raids conducted up to 10th July = 1.

Is the penalty combined with the likelihood of being caught sufficient as a deterrent?