Staff Reporter
PALMA City Council is planning to take specific measures to combat the threatened overcrowding of immigrants in some areas of the city.
The Mayor, Catalina Cirer, has confirmed that the situation has been brought about by the abusive practices of some property owners.
Cirer explained that although her team will not interfere with any legal rights of landlords, investigations are being made in to what way local authorities can oblige property owners to provide minimum standards of quality in their establishments. Such landlords also need to be made to take responsibility for repair and maintenance, regardless of who is renting their properties.
Once such by-laws are in place, the owners will not be able to rent their properties without meeting these basic requirements. “We have to lay down exactly what is meant by a habitable property. It's one of the ways we have of stamping out one of those practices to which some landlords have become all too accustomed, which is renting their houses to a much greater number of people than they should legally hold” declared Cirer. The strategy is laid out in the City Council plans to support the rights of the immigrants.
It is also part of the plan to tackle the overcrowding which has burgeoned in many rented properties in the areas in Palma, including Son Gotleu, Pere Garau and La Soledad. The Mayor expressed her concern about the possibility of “ghettos” developing, but defended the right and the freedom of the immigrants to find homes in areas close to others of their own nationality where “they can live with a greater feeling of security”. The Mayor is in favour of immigrants coming to the Balearics but only within the context of a legalised situation accompanied by a work permit. She wants to see immigrants come in “an orderly fashion” instead of arriving unexpectedly in boatloads so that authorities are taken unawares and have to cope with the needs of the new arrivals on an emergency basis. “Getting this priority straight is the first stage of putting the whole house in order” she claimed.
On the subject of people who are living in Palma without a roof over their heads, Cirer guaranteed that in the next few days, the hundred or so homeless will have a place allocated to them in special centres controlled by the Council of Majorca. Council workers are just finishing off getting rooms ready so that no one has to sleep rough during the winter months. The Mayor emphasized that this accommodation is intended to be of a temporary nature and therefore only cater for essential requirements. The issue of permanent homes is completely separate.

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