A good friend of mine bought a flat with his savings which he hoped, after many years of hard work, would see him through his later years. Pepito, as I'll call him, rented out his flat on a long-term basis at a very reasonable price.
He could have rented to tourists and made much more money, and with minimum risk, but he's a good man and knew that the family he rented needed it.
The thing is, things weren't going too well for his tenants, or so they said, and Pepito found himself becoming NGO Pepito without borders.
For months he has been supporting these people, who he knows nothing about, and has them under his wing as if they were his spoilt children, paying for their electricity, water and gas, as well as, of course, his mortgage, community charges and taxes.
They have stopped paying their rent, and, until a judge orders their eviction, there he is, the most charitable man in the world, in spite of himself, supporting two families: his own and the squatters.
Once again we are looking for a magic solution and making tourist flats the scapegoat for all that is wrong with housing in this area.
Well no, ladies and gentlemen. If these flats couldn't be used for short stay tourism, the majority of the owners would sell them, putting them completely out of reach of the budgets of young families.
Just a few would still rent them out, but to family members and people they could trust. And a minimal amount would go on the general market.
Why is that? Of course with tourism you earn more but you have to work for it. And the tax office eats a big part of the profit.
For many owners, it's not worth the bother of renting out... If only there was a minimum amount of legal security in this country.
On the contrary, all the regulations are designed so that almost nobody would think of renting out a flat for long term contracts with maximum guarantees for tenants and prices with limited increases set by law.
But let's see, with the rise of the Euribor mortgage repayments are going to increase a minimum of 200 euros per month; how is it that those who live in rented accommodation cannot have their monthly payments increased? Someone please explain that to me.
It's not fair that an individual, like poor Pepito, is obliged to become Mother Theresa of Calcutta because the administration can't guarantee affordable housing for families that need it.
That, and legal protection for landlords so that they have the confidence to offer their most precious assets to tenants, are the only ways to increase rental housing. Let's just stop this messing around.