Huge range of illegal holiday homes in Alicante

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illegal holiday homes

ALICANTE – The number of tourist apartments in Alicante that are not regulated far exceeds the supply that is registered and has all the relevant permits. This is what Noria Montes from the Valencian Ministry of Tourism says.

According to autonomous government sources, the situation is particularly serious in San Juan Beach. The range of holiday homes is greatest there. Yet most of them are not registered. The municipality of Alicante indicates that the areas around the beaches have the highest purchasing power in the city. Cabo de las Huertas is also part of this.

Owners with a home in these areas could register their apartment as a tourist residence before 2018. The municipality subsequently limited the scheme. Now only apartments on the ground floor or first floor can qualify for a permit.

Huge growth of tourist apartments

The scheme was already in force in neighbourhoods outside the traditional centre and the old city. In those neighbourhoods, vacation rentals are only allowed in blocks of entire buildings, not for individual apartments. According to Tourism, there were 4,314 tourist apartments (almost 1,900 beds) in the city in 2022. That is almost 300 more than the previous year. Within the province, only several popular places have a larger selection. These are tourist attractions such as Benidorm, Torrevieja, Xàbia, Calpe, Dénia, and Orihuela.

Growth through online platforms

Elche, a city that is not much smaller in population than Alicante, has only 658 tourist apartments. Nevertheless, Alicante leads the provincial rankings when it comes to the number of high-quality apartments labeled ‘superior’. The provincial capital has 188 of these types of apartments, good for 988 places. Municipal sources confirm that the supply of these types of accommodations has grown significantly since 2017, mainly due to the stimulation of online platforms for the supply of holiday homes. It is expected that no further restrictions will be added to the current rules. In other words, tourist rentals in the center are possible in entire blocks and on the ground or first floors.

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Room rental for tourists is not allowed

“It is not permitted to offer one room as tourist accommodation. It must be a complete apartment,” according to the municipality. The municipal council will “study the current situation of tourist apartments to include it in the general zoning plan”. The current plan dates from 1987 and is being adjusted. The municipality is including the new developments in holiday rentals in the new plan.

Stricter government action

The new plan is expected to take some time before it comes into effect. The Ministry of Nuria Montes is responsible for enforcing the law in this area. It plans to take “more decisive” action in the fight against “the underground economy” in the Valencia region.

Detecting illegal holiday homes with artificial intelligence

To achieve this, they say they will “use artificial intelligence to scour the internet for accommodations that do not have the required permits.” “Illegal holiday homes our community in several ways. They undermine the equality of conditions in the market. Moreover, there is often a nuisance to the neighbourhood.” This is what the councillor said, according to the newspaper El País in the Valencian Cortes, when she explained the main points of her policy to her department.

The tourist accommodation sector in the Valencia region represents, according to Tourism data, 65.4% of the total accommodation supply, with 448,862 places.

Also read: Tourist accommodation shoots up in Spain

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