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Bali Officials Cracking Down On Illegal Holiday Villas

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Officials from the Badung Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) have confirmed that they are working in partnership with the Bali Tourism Office to crack down on illegally operating holiday villas in the Canggu and Berawa areas.

Luxury Villa In Bali.jpg

Officials in Bali affirmed last month that tourists must stay at accommodation that is a legally registered business.

Whether a hotel, hostel, guesthouse B&B, or private villa, tourists in Bali are only permitted to stay at premises that are operating as legal accommodation businesses. 

In late May, Governor Koster called a meeting to discuss with regency leaders their responsibility to crack down on illegally operating accommodation businesses on the island.

Koster was concerned that a rise in illegally operating accommodation businesses would result in tax losses for the regency and provincial government.

@octaviusra This gentleman pays $4400/month for his luxury 3 bedroom villa in #canggu #bali #balirealestate #realestate #hometour #digitalnomad ♬ original sound – octavius ra

Governor Koster told regency leaders and invited reporters that “there are many illegal villas in Bali, there are even homestays where many tourists stay, and the hotel-restaurant tax is not imposed.”

He continued to say, “This is detrimental. That’s why the regents and mayor have been asked to file records of illegal villas and homestays.”

At the time of the accountant, it was speculated that officials, including the civil service (Saptol PP) and the likes of the PHRI and Tourism Office, could conduct raids on properties suspected of operating outside the law.

Regency leaders have given instructions to village leaders and business owners, as well as a short grace period to get their paperwork in order. Now, it seems officials in Badung are ready to investigate any businesses operating outside the law and hold them to account. 

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There are nine regencies in Bali; Badung Regency is the most popular tourist area of the island, home to resorts like Canggu, Seminyak, Kuta, and Uluwatu. 

Speaking to the press, the Head of PHRI Badung I Gusti Ngurah Rai Suryawijaya has revealed that a special team will be deployed in the coming days and weeks to crack down on fraudulently operating villas, guesthouses, and hotels in the regency.

Suryawijaya confirmed that the target areas are Canggu and neighboring Berawa and Pererenan and down on the Bukit, Uluwatu and neighboring Pecan.

It is worth noting that both these areas are in the midst of a development boom, with new holiday villas opening up for booking every week. 

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According to Suryawijaya, as much as 30% of the villas and guesthouses in Badung Regency are thought to be operating without permits.

He confirmed that the team will conduct spot checks on those properties suspected of breaking the law.

He added, “We will go sweeping. There is a schedule, but it’s a secret. Later we will [clarify] it with a special team.”


Part of the reason why officials in Bali want to crack down on illegally operating villas on the island is due to ‘tax leakage’, but it is also part of their mission to keep a closer eye on foreigners on the island.

Suryawijaya shared his suspicion that many of the long-stay foreigners, like digital nomads and those ‘living’ on the island on temporary socio-cultural visas, may be staying at these unregistered villas.

While it is fundamentally the responsibility of the villa and guesthouse owner to have their paperwork in order, officials need to have a paper trail as to where each tourist on the island has stayed or is staying. 


Tourists who stay at a formally registered hotel or accommodation will have their passport details recorded and available for the authorities to review on request.

Long-stay visitors, like digital nomads, who are renting a private villa from a business or local family should be registered with the local authorities so that should there be any issue with the police or immigration, the auditories know where to find the individual.

If in doubt or concerned, tourists check with the hotel staff or villa owner/manager/support staff and ask to see business permits which in most accommodation outlets will be visible at the reception already. 


For the vast majority of tourists and even long-stay visitors staying in Bali, these upcoming raids are nothing to worry about.

The raids, or spot checks, appear to be focused on business owners not paying taxes, though if a special operation team comes to visit, they may wish to check passports, visas, and travel plans. 

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Bali Ben

Sunday 2nd of July 2023

"Tax Leakage"? Lol! The roads and other infrastructure are in such a sordid state of disrepair that it's painfully obvious that this "tax" is nothing more than corrupt officials lining their own pockets with the hard earned cash stolen from real working families trying to feed themselves.


Wednesday 5th of July 2023

@Bali Ben, Unfortunately very true!


Tuesday 4th of July 2023


You've presented clear and concise information.

Many of these people now do not enough to support themselves here and have resorted to shoplifting, and other odious means to survive.

Plus their currency has lost almost 40% value in the last year.


Monday 3rd of July 2023

@Bali Ben, Isnt that the point? Roads and infrastructure in disrepair due to the growth in tourist related traffic and facility usage. At the same time a lot of the legal tax needed to fund repairs is being swindled by accommodation owners who want the income but not to pay the their fair dues. At the same time since the pandemic the shocking behaviour of tourists particularly from Russia and Ukraine (not all, but disproportionately large) has grown exponentially. I have personal experience of this and strongly support government rulrs to filter those coming in and destroying Bali.


Monday 3rd of July 2023

@Bali Ben,

You nailed it.

Wayan Bo

Saturday 1st of July 2023

In many of those houses many spy cams to spy on tourists. Such villas was OK in 1980’s but today no more privacy. Therefore tourists need spy cams and microphone experts like those guys from US secret service to check houses before entering them, even experts can’t give 100% guarantee for privacy.

J West

Tuesday 4th of July 2023

@Wayan Bo, True….but the spy cam thing is an international an problem these days. You don’t need a Navy Seal…diligently use a flashlight ( everyone should carry at least a key chain light) and the reflection from cam lenses sparkle. Make sure you report to police so the owner gets banned on the OTA.


Saturday 1st of July 2023

Need money for rabies vaccine


Saturday 1st of July 2023

About time to weed out the Russkies and make them pay, that is if they are legally in Bali. If not,seize their property and deport them.


Thursday 6th of July 2023

@Firechef, So you had what you perceived as a dodgy offer from some Russians that you refused. So what's your problem? You refused. You've decided not to rent to Eastern Europeans. No problem, it's your commercial decision. You'd be selectively blind if you thought the Russians were the only ones doing it. They're the flavour of the month and pissants in the scheme of things. By far and away exploiting and capitalising is by RI citizens and companies.


Wednesday 5th of July 2023

@Shorty, C'm on Shorty, you can't be THAT ignorant about your surroundings. My wife and I have a villa for rent north of Ubud and been approached by Russians in the guise of business owners and upon investigating so called business it didn't exist. Needless to say, we stopped further conversation and will never consider renting to eastern Europeans no matter how much they are willing to pay. We'll just keep using it as a honeymoon destination after they get married at our pagoda a few hundred meters away. Yes, we are licensed and pay the taxes, all of our businesses are legit.


Wednesday 5th of July 2023

@Missy, Right on Missy, Shorty seems to be a bit behind times.


Tuesday 4th of July 2023


Not Russian or from there.

Not married or have been married to a Russian, or have a Russian girlfriend.

Been coming here for 36 years, owned a house for 16 and been living here for 10.

Awake yes and it's become bloody boring reading the repetitive and simplistic Russians, Russians....


Monday 3rd of July 2023


Are you from Moscow or St. Petersburg?

Or married to a Russian?

Or maybe you don't live here or have ever even been here?

Wake up pal.

J schneider

Saturday 1st of July 2023