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Marchers holding up signs and demanding the opportunity to live in the city. Ñito Salas
'Don't blame lack of homes on the tourists,' say holiday-rental property owners
Housing crisis

'Don't blame lack of homes on the tourists,' say holiday-rental property owners

Along with the bar and restaurant industry in Malaga, AVVAPro in Andalucía is calling for a calm debate "not linked to ideology" to steer away from tourism-phobia

Pilar Martínez / SUR

Malaga

Friday, 5 July 2024, 12:41

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Last Saturday's march in Malaga over the housing shortage drew a reaction from the tourist industry and government alike. Although the protest was not specifically against tourism, many of the demonstrators linked the two in their chants and placards.

The Andalusian association of holiday rental professionals - AVVAPro - called for a calmer debate on the impact of tourism on the housing crisis after the march.

Its president, Carlos Pérez-Lanzac, said Airbnb-style rental properties were a scapegoat for a bigger problem. He explained this type of property made up just two per cent of all homes in Malaga city and that the real issue over housing supply was the 15 per cent of properties sitting empty across Malaga province.

Pérez-Lanzac added, "We understand that there needs to be town planning," but stressed that council's reactions should not be knee jerks.

Also calling for common sense over the impact of tourism was Mahos, the bar and restaurant owners' association for Malaga. At its annual meeting this week, the group issued a statement saying it was deeply concerned over "the use of this legitimate demand [for housing] by political or social groups interested in lashing out against tourism, without gauging the dire consequences of such a stance".

It added that, contrary to popular belief, data shows that 95% of the tourism rental industry in Malaga is in the hands of small private landlords and not big business. "We urge a rigorous and not just an ideological analysis," it explained.

Against the background of locals demonstrating, town halls are increasingly bringing in restrictions on rental properties under rules approved by the regional governments.

Last month, Malaga city said it would limit new rental properties in blocks that had a shared entrance to the street with other homes. And this week Cadiz council agreed to ban any new private holiday lets in the historic centre of that city. Marbella also joined the conversation this week, saying it would ask the University of Malaga to study how the council should manage rental properties. Almost seven per cent of homes in Marbella fall into this category, some 6,904 properties - making the town fourth in number in Spain after Madrid. Barcelona and Malaga city.

Meanwhile, Spain's minister of Housing, Isabel Rodríguez, criticised Malaga's mayor, Francisco de La Torre, for not doing more in the light of the demonstrations with the powers he has.

She added that central government was looking to make it easier for residents in private blocks of flats or communities in Spain to veto somebody renting out their property to tourists. Current regulations already allow communities of residents to reject tourist flats by a three-fifths majority.

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