Malaga politicians favour limiting tourist flats to avoid saturation

Tourists arrive at a holiday apartment in central Malaga.
Tourists arrive at a holiday apartment in central Malaga. / Ñito Salas
  • Palma de Mallorca wants to stop people renting out homes in order to protect local residents and some Malaga councillors think it would be a good idea here

Some local politicians in Malaga city have come out in support of a move to limit the number of properties being used as holiday rental homes in residential blocks in the centre of the city.

Their views come in response to a move by the town hall in Palma de Mallorca to stop the historic centre getting any more saturated with holiday lets. Councillors there say it has become impossible for locals to find affordable accommodation to rent and the influx of visitors to traditional residential neighbourhoods is destroying communities.

Now councillors from left-wing parties and the centrist Ciudadanos party have come out in favour of adopting restrictions in Malaga, where the city has recently begun to experience the same problem, as more homes are turned over to holidaymakers.

Palma is the first to act

The tourist industry on the Balearic Islands has been coming to terms this week with the plan by Palma council, still to be approved, to ban flats in residential buildings being rented out to visitors unless the whole building is already given over to tourist accommodation.

The council has explained its move, which has been backed up by a change in Balearic regional law that allows councils to decide their own local policies, by saying it guarantees the rights of local residents to a home.

Palma's mayor, Antoni Noguera, said that the decision was “fundamental” for the future of the city and would be a pioneering move in Spain as well as “setting the trend when understanding living space within cities”.

Malaga gives it some thought

So far the conservative PP, largest party on Malaga council, has not given a clear view either way on what it might wish to do in the future. However municipal spokesperson for the PSOE party, Daniel Pérez, has said it is time to put caps on the quantity of tourist flats in areas like the city centre to “avoid bigger problems”. “We've insisted that the council administration takes measures but the mayor has done nothing. In tourist cities there is a housing problem because of this trend that is forcing up rents and there needs to be more regulation,” explained Pérez.

According to Juan Cassá, leader of Ciudadanos on the council, “Just as what happened with the boom in hotels, there's a lot still to work on and regulate.”

The rules are different in Andalucía compared to the Balearics however, with the regional government here not allowing local councils to ban tourist accommodation like in Palma. Politicians have also called for more clarity from the regional government.