HOLIDAY RENTAL WEBSITES UNDER FIRE
Valencia regional government set to fine seven well-known internet rental sites
THE VALENCIAN government has triggered new action which could result in huge fines for holiday rental sites such as popular Airbnb that have not adhered to the regional authorities' requirements.
The regional tourism agency, AVT, has launched disciplinary action after an official warning was issued a year ago because the apartments and villas that appeared on these websites did not have the official tourism licence required in the region.
AVT sources have confirmed action is being taken against seven internet portals, with fines ranging between €6,000 and €30,000.
The total figure would add up to €210,000 - an amount far below the fine Barcelona council imposed on Airbnb alone.
In that case, the company appealed in court claiming it was not responsible for the properties as it was only a middleman offering information, insurance and a secure payment system.
Airbnb's appeal was successful and the fine had to be withdrawn.
Similar action on behalf of the internet rental sites is expected once the fining process concludes in Febraury or March.
National tourism association Exceltur estimates there are around half a million holiday rentals that are not licenced by the Valencia regional government.
AVT wants to ensure that only holiday lets with its seal of approval - complying with security and health standards - are offered to tourists.