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ILLEGAL RENTERS COULD FACE PROSECUTION

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Many people bought their apartments or villas with a view to renting them out during the holiday seasons

After listening to bodies representing Hotel and Tourism sectors in the community the Valencia Government is to embark on a campaign aimed at rooting out illegal rental agencies and owners that are operating on the Costa Blanca.

The Ministry of the Economy, Industry, Tourism and Employment say that they are now in the process of preparing a plan, in the form of a legal decree, which will punish ‘on line’ portals which currently market homes in tourist areas irregularly, ie without the minimum safety and quality certificates and authorities and without proper registration at the Generalitat. Those found to be in contravention of the law will face fines of between 50,000 and 90,000 euros

Accompanied by employers from within the Tourism Council, the plan was announced in Valencia last week by the Minister of Economy, Maximo Buch. He said that the measures will be implemented from next spring, the season from which fraud within the tourist apartment sector tends to intensify.

According to sources it is claimed that most digital platforms do not distinguish between legal and illegal renters (those who evade taxes and the necessary registration) and that the new decree will establish the "joint responsibility" of those marketing platforms. In future the owner of the holiday apartment or property will be responsible in paying the same fines as those responsible for the website, with very serious offenses incurring penalties of up to 90,000 euros.

Both the hotel and non-hotel sectors applauded the action saying that it would almost certainly help to improve their situation where unregulated apartments have been partly responsible in the average holiday occupancy dropping by four points from 70.1% in 2013 to just 66.1% last year.

Hoteliers maintain that the illegal rental of apartments is a fraud to the Tax Agency, Social Security and to the Treasury and they have asked for more inspectors to manage this growing occurrence, where there are only five for the entire Region. They hoped that Valencia will follow the example of Catalonia, whose Ministry was the first to take action against illegal portals, although they accept that action is not quite that simple as the administrators of many of the Internet portals are living abroad.

However a spokesman for the real estate promoter Provia says that 95% of all tourist accommodation in Torrevieja is based in apartments and villas and not in hotels, either through rental or via relations or friends, while the figure across the Costa Blanca is put slightly lower at 77%. They say that whilst such resorts as Benidorm wouldn’t be quite so affected, because of the hotel population, a more rigorous application of the current rules by Government regulations could completely destroy the tourism model for Torrevieja and other similar locations where there isn’t the same concentration of hotels.

Many people bought their apartments or villas with a view to renting them out during the holiday seasons and if regulations were introduced to make that more difficult it would certainly affect the numbers purchasing property in the area in the future.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/46153/

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