Last month, Spanish tourism boss Biel Barceló announced the implementation of new penalties for landlords renting out their properties via house sharing websites like Airbnb. The move follows public demonstrations in opposition to the continued intensification of mass tourism across the country. It seems holiday hotspots like Ibiza, Mallorca and Barcelona have simply become too fashionable. Factor in the increasing popularity of Airbnb, which adds to the influx of holidaymakers whilst simultaneously making it harder for local inhabitants and workers to find accommodation, and it quickly becomes apparent that the current situation is unsustainable.
Having spent the majority of April jumping from hostel to hostel, 22-year-old Kaylee from Leeds finally found a place to live in early May. “I’m paying 300€ a month to sleep in a tiny living room on a sofa bed that doesn’t even pull out,” says the young Brit who works as a waitress in one of San Antonio’s promenade cafes. “It’s my first season in Ibiza. I thought it would be really easy to find somewhere, but it wasn’t. The place I’m in now is all I could afford. My housemates are great, but it’s hard to get much sleep because my sofa bed is right next to the front door!”
British workers aren’t the only ones being affected by the lack of affordable rental options. Local Spanish families living in Ibiza Town, whose apartments are now being utilised as short-term summer rentals, are being forced to move back into the basic worker-style accommodation they lived in 20 years ago.
Spanish resident Eduardo, 27, who works for one of the most prominent nightclub brands on the island, also found accommodation in Ibiza Town difficult to find. “When I split up with my girlfriend I had nowhere to live,” Eduardo explains. “Luckily a friend of mine let me sleep on his couch until I finally managed to find my own place in March. It’s a one bedroom attic with kitchenette close to Dalt Vila. I pay 750€ a month, which represents extremely good value considering the current situation. The flat is owned by an old Ibicenco couple who don’t want to get involved with Airbnb or rent to strangers. I’m so glad I found it. I was born here in Ibiza, but it didn’t make finding somewhere to live any easier.”