Spain’s Balearic Islands to fine Airbnb 300,000 euros for illegal rentals


MADRID: Spain’s autonomous community of the Balearic Islands is fining flat-sharing and rental service Airbnb 300,000 euros (RM1.4 million) for advertising unregistered homes on the island of Majorca on its website, the regional government said on Tuesday.

Tourism provides more than 11% of Spain’s economic output, and the country has seen record levels of visitors in recent years as worries about security keep sun-seekers away from northern Africa and the Middle East.

Some 20 holiday flats on the islands available on the Airbnb site don’t meet regulations set in 2017, the government said in a statement. The company had 15 days to respond.

Airbnb said it would appeal the fine, adding that the site, which connects home owners with holiday makers, helps families who want to take advantage of the visitors flowing to the Mediterranean islands.

The flat-sharing site offered some 24,000 homes on the Balearic Islands according to 2016 figures, the most recent available.

Rental prices in Palma, the Balearic capital, have risen by double digits over the past few years as the popularity of shared homes via sites such as San Francisco-based Airbnb have sky-rocketed.

Other Spanish cities, including Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Seville, and Valencia, have passed laws, or are examining regulation, to curb tourism rentals via the sites because of their effects on local rental prices.