ILLEGAL LETTING PURGE
Alfaz del Pi and Alicante drafted in for new clampdown on holiday lets
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Local Police officers will ‘compile information in order to identify holiday lets’ which do not publish a legal inscription number showing they are signed up to the official tourism register.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