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Spain's Málaga rolls out new rules to limit tourist rentals

Esme Fox
Esme Fox - [email protected]
Spain's Málaga rolls out new rules to limit tourist rentals
Malaga introduces new rules to limit tourist rentals. Photo: Adrianna CA / Pexels

The southern Spanish city of Málaga has for some time now been battling with the rapid increase in the number of tourist apartments. New rules aim to put a stop to this.

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According to a municipal estimate, there are already around 8,000 tourist rentals in Málaga, which have been taking over the city, outpricing locals and causing issues for neighbouring residents.

Locals have reacted to the general uptick in tourism by planning mass protests, similar to those in the Canary Islands and the Balearics and plastering anti-tourist slogans across the city walls. 

In just the last three and a half months alone, there have already been 800 new applications for tourist licences, which is approximately eight every day.

This trend leads to "excessively high numbers," Mayor Francisco de la Torre explained, noting that the desired balance between tourist activity and neighbourhood coexistence is at risk.

READ: Why Málaga has become a victim of its own success

As a result of this, Málaga City Council has been forced to implement a new series of control measures that will establish limits in saturated areas and favour long-term rentals instead.

The most important of these regulations requires that holiday homes have an independent access, as stated in the decree of the Junta de Andalucía, which came into force at the end of February.

General facilities such as electricity, water, telephone lines etc. must also be separate from those of the rest of the block of apartments.

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This would mean no new tourist apartments located in buildings where locals and tenants reside and may mean that commercial buildings will become tourist rentals instead. 

The new order will not, however, affect those apartments registered before the legislation came into force, meaning that the circa 8,000 rentals that already exist will be allowed to stay.

This requirement had already been contemplated in the General Málaga City Plan since 2011, but will only now begin to affect those 800 new applications for licences, as well as any more in the future.

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De la Torre explained that they will study which of the 800 applications submitted under the new legislative framework meet this requirement, adding that "It will not be easy for there to be properties for tourist use with an independent entrance".

"We recognise the positive role that tourism has in Málaga, of course, both in hotels and tourist housing, but we want everything to be done in terms of harmony and coexistence," since "the number of tourist apartments is too high," he continued.

He explained that the objective is that rental prices will not rise uncontrollably and the market will be healthier. He added that people who want to rent out their home as a vacation rental will have the option of offering it up as a long-term rental instead.

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Málaga is not the only city that has been cracking down on tourist rentals recently. Seville has become the first city in Andalusia to actually ban new tourist licences in certain areas.

Seville’s mayor José Luis Sanz has already announced that he will not grant new licenses in the most saturated areas. "There is no room for one more tourist apartment," he warned.

Licences will no longer be granted in 11 central neighbourhoods including Santa Cruz, Arenal, Alfalfa, San Bartolomé, Feria, Encarnación-Regina, Santa Catalina, San Lorenzo, San Gil, San Vicente and Triana.

And in the Galician city of Santiago de Compostela, hundreds of tourist apartments will be forced to close due to new rules that limit their use to ground and first floors in buildings only in the old town.

READ MORE: 'We won't look for renters': Holiday lets in Spain's Santiago forced to close

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