FACTS & FICTION: Vicente Torres – Head of Tourist Board – about tourist licenses and robberies on Ibiza
What’s happening on Ibiza with regards to ETV permits also known as tourist rental license, the huge wave of robberies and what are the governments future plans in a nutshell? We introduce Vicente Torres, Director of Tourist Board. The fresh new breeze that enforces the Spanish Balearic rules.
Since 2012 a new law came to life. It was named the ‘Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos’ also known as LAU ( Urban Leases Act). This law allows holiday rentals to be permitted to any building depending upon specific requirements without which tourist rental will not be considered. The Balearic Tourism Law allows the commercialization of tourist stays in properties fining those heavily who rent properties without the required tourist license, ETV (Estancia Turistica en Viviendas). Furthermore this legislation only covers detached and semi-detached villas, it does not extend to apartments.
We would like to know much more as there seems to be many questions about this law. The new director -Director General de Turismo dell Consell de Ibiza from the newly elected leftwing party PSOE, Partido Socialista Obrero Español – shared the ins and outs with us.
ETV Tourist License
On social media there are lots of discussions regarding ETV permits. Contradicting stories and unfortunately never a clear answer. Can you please explain to me what the process and the costs are to obtain an ETV tourist license?
It is not that difficult at all to obtain an ETV permit. Yes, it does take very long to obtain the official permit as we are coping with a backlog. We are actually now working on the 2013 permit requests. However, that should not be a problem, as from the minute you hand in the documents you are allowed to rent out your house for touristic purposes.
The difficulty for many property owners is not the Tourist Board, the problem arises when needing to register your property as a business. You will need to obtain a DRIAT (Declaración responsable de inicio de actividad turística) at the town hall. For this declaration you need to show that your property and all that is within your premises, has been built legally. Before handing over the declaration the town hall will sent an inspector to check if all is correct. If you have built exactly what is on the papers, than you can start your business.
The costs of the registration is a one-off fixed tax of € 600,00 which needs to be paid. It does not matter whether your property is big or small or how many beds you have.
Why has the government started the new law?
It is said on social media that it is because of pressure from the hotel owners who claim to lose money because of Airbnb like websites. and other websites likes it, offering the private homes as holiday rentals.
Every year this is a decrease on housing for the people that come to Ibiza to work. There are doctors who can’t work in our hospitals, teachers who can’t work in our schools and seasonal workers who can’t afford to live in Ibiza, because there are simply no affordable houses or rooms left. This is one of the main objectives of the ETV permit application. We had to regulate the increase of holiday rentals. Next to this, there are many people with property on this island. They frequently use our facilities, yet never pay taxes over their rental income. We have now started to look into this more and more. Yes, we do have inspectors checking these websites and we do have inspectors looking at social media channels to stop the illegal rentals, but in no way it is to favor hotels or its owners.
Robberies on Ibiza
One of the main returning subjects on social media this summer were about the increase in robberies. Numerous tourists came home to discover all their valuables were stolen. Even some public figures have been robbed and expressed their anger on social media, claiming the police could not care less. Obviously this will scare off tourists and possible investors. Because of the reluctance of the police people start pages on Facebook pages like “Robbed on Ibiza” to be able to warn each other, their neighbors and to watch for anything suspicious.
What’s your opinion on this matter and what could be a possible solution?
You are right, there is an increase! There are a number of organized gangs active on the island and this must be stopped immediately! People, especially families with kids, are afraid to come here on holiday and we can’t have that. We don’t want that.
We are in need of extra policemen but for the same reason we can’t hire more staff in our office to get rid of the backlog of ETV permits, we also are not allowed to hire more police officers. The central government in Madrid gives us regulations and has restricted us with regards to hiring new staff.
In December there will be new national elections. If PSOE wins, then this means more money for more staff, thus also for more police men.
For now, with the limited funds we have, we have started collaborating with other countries who have sent us their police officers. We have some from Germany, Italy and the UK. We even have two “bobbies” walking around in San Antonio.
The future of Ibiza in a nutshell
Vicente, as the new director general you are responsible for the increase of tourism and trying to create a longer high season. What are your plans for Ibiza?
There is so much the island has to offer, off-season as well. We are trying to inform tourists through fairs and through tour operators of everything we have to offer, for instance, did you know that we have lots to offer to sports teams, cyclists and don’t forget the yoga facilities on this island. Also we have a very high level of gastronomy. Whereas years ago Ibiza was a ghost town in winter, now there are many great restaurants open all year.
In wintertime all is much more affordable and don’t forget our climate is very nice, so we are very keen in getting more sports teams to the island for their training camps. We have so many facilities for sports. We are continuously in contact with tour operators, also of new emerging markets, and of course the ones in the markets we already get a lot of tourism from.
So far our meeting with Vicente for this month. Next month we will be back with more answers on hot topics! Please don’t hesitate to request any answers on topics which you’re not completely sure about.