Dénia joins 'illegal' tourist let crackdown
Police inspections and holiday rental register checks widen their net
A CLAMPDOWN on illegal holiday lets region-wide has now shifted to the Marina Alta and a registry and inspection system will be set up.
Tourism authorities have been signing up town councils all over the provinces of Valencia and Castellón to their new anti-fraud scheme, and Dénia is now the first in the province of Alicante to add its name to the list
he cross-regional network allows local police in member towns to draw up inventories of holiday properties for rent, complete with advertising channels, details of the owners and features of the villas, houses and apartments, then check they are on the tourist board register.
If they are, they should clearly state their registration number inside the building and on their adverts.
Dénia's mayor Vicent Grimalt, during a meeting with regional tourism secretary Francesc Colomer, pledged a 'zerotolerance approach' to unregistered holiday lets in the town. The apparent battle against privately-owned tourist lets – originally launched by hotels who resented having competition – has always been a thorny subject for owners.
Renting out a home to holidaymakers is a vital source of income for many expats and overseas residents and, in many cases, covers the mortgage on the property and protects their investment.
And doing so is completely legal – as long as the property is registered with the tourism board and the owner pays the required tax on rental income.
But many owners claim it is nearly impossible to register their properties due to unreal- istic demands.
Above-ground apartments without a lift may not be accepted because they have no disabled access, for example, even if the advert clearly states they are unsuitable for holidaymakers with reduced mobility.
Yet if authorities did not crack down on unregistered accommodation, they could be leaving tourists vulnerable to fraud: holiday homes that turn out not to exist, are unsafe, are in extremely poor or insalubrious conditions, do not match the adverts or are totally unsuitable for the customer.
The only safe option is to work closely with a sales and holiday letting agency when buying a property likely to be destined for tourists.
This said, the regional tourist board is now beginning to recognise that the holiday accommodation market is changing .
ravellers are more inclined to book online and independently, and networks such as Airbnb are a 21st-century reality that cannot be denied.