IL­LE­GAL LET­TING PURGE

Al­faz del Pi and Ali­cante drafted in for new clam­p­down on hol­i­day lets

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By Dave Jones

TOWN halls and Lo­cal Po­lice forces are be­ing in­cor­po­rated into the regional gov­ern­ment’s fight against the il­le­gal let­ting of hol­i­day homes and apart­ments.

Ali­cante and Al­faz del Pi are two of six coun­cils re­cruited by regional sec­re­tary for tourism Francesc Colomer for the pilot scheme, along with Tor­re­vieja, Va­len­cia, Peñís­cola and Castel­lón.

Sr Colomer said the Va­len­cia tourism agency will be fer­ret­ing out ‘il­le­gal of­fers’ and ren­tals which present ‘un­fair com­pe­ti­tion’ to ho­tels, guest houses and reg­is­tered apart­ments ‘with the help of lo­cal au­thor­i­ties’.

He ex­plained that his depart­ment has pre­pared ac­tion plans with the town hall to ‘in­volve Lo­cal Po­lice in the fight against il­le­gal lets’.

“The idea is to em­power town halls so they can get in­volved and con­trib­ute to the in­spec­tion process so there is a more ef­fi­cient ac­tion at a mu­nic­i­pal level,” ex­plained Sr Colomer.

Lo­cal Po­lice of­fi­cers will ‘com­pile in­for­ma­tion in or­der to iden­tify hol­i­day lets’ which do not pub­lish a le­gal in­scrip­tion num­ber show­ing they are signed up to the of­fi­cial tourism reg­is­ter.

Sr Colomer said that pub­lic­ity me­dia in­clud­ing in­ter­net web­sites will also be mon­i­tored.

“The ob­jec­tive is to le­galise as many tourist apart­ments as pos­si­ble,” he said.

He noted that, ‘after a process of di­a­logue’, four large in­ter­net book­ing sites - Mu­chosol, Book­ing, Only-apart­ments and fo­toalquiler – had car­ried out their own ‘reg­u­lar­i­sa­tion’ of their tourism apart­ments.

In 2016 alone, 12,000 new tourist apart­ments were signed onto the of­fi­cial reg­is­ter, he said.

This com­pared with 6,493 in 2015 and 3,799 in 2014.

“We want to ex­tend the ini­tia­tive to the whole of the Va­len­cia re­gion, bring­ing in lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to help tackle a prob­lem that we have to ap­proach from ev­ery pos­si­ble an­gle,” he said.

“Il­le­gal let­ting is a se­ri­ous worry for our tourism in­dus­try and we need a global strat­egy to fight it.”

Ac­cord­ing to the depart­ment for tourism, most of the lets are lo­cated on the coast and are ad­ver­tised on the in­ter­net.

They noted that prop­erty own­ers could face fines of up to €10,000.

Short-term ren­tals are classed as ‘tourism ac­tiv­ity’ and must ad­here to the regional law for tourist ac­com­mo­da­tion and

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