ALTEA City Council has voted to suspend granting new licences for holiday lets for a year while a report is prepared to regularise the sector.
The move does not affect properties that already have a licence.
Urban Planning councillor Jose Orozco said the decision was taken because of a recent boom in tourist lets which he regarded as excessive and behind rent rises and the gentrification of areas like the old town.
Speaking at a plenary meeting of Altea council, Orozco pointed out there were over ‘2,200 legal tourist homes accounting for 13% of all properties, compared to just 642 prior to 2018’.
He added that he consulted ‘experts’ who said the ratio was ‘more than excessive’, without taking into account unregistered homes.
“We want to harmonise the interest of owners to obtain economic benefit from their properties whilst balancing out public interest issues the need to preserve homes for residential use, the environment, and the right to same peace,” he stated.
Orozco acknowledged the positive aspects of tourism that has benefited the area but called for a rethink of the kind of tourism wanted for Altea before ‘it is too late’.
Studies and citizen consultation will take place over the next year.
Opposition Partido Popular and Vox councillors voted against the licence suspension, with the PP’s Maria Lloret saying that the problem was not the number of licences granted but was motivated by complaints from some residents.
He added that he was in favour of better regulating the tourist sector but against the licence suspension due to the way in which it has been carried out, as a matter of urgency with a ‘lack of information’.
Lloret also said the move was unfair on people who had already spent time and money on getting a home ready for tourist use but had not yet received a licence.