THE Palma city council has ordered an immediate halt to the demolition of more than 20 converted garages in Son Ferriol where several families lived.
The owner has been warned that if he resumes work, the machinery may be confiscated. He has also been told that he must apply for a licence to demolish within the next two months.
This gives a brief respite to the families who still live there, who yesterday went to the Palma planning department to find out where they stand.
But landowner Tomeu Torrens said that he had already demolished most of what he wanted to, and said the tenants would have to find somewhere else to live.
He claimed that the demolished buildings had not been inhabited for several years, but two weeks ago, gypsies arrived who stole oranges. He also explained that he wanted to plant trees on the land (earlier reports said that he had sold the land and had to clear it before March) and had filed a complaint against the tenants.
Torrens claimed that he received nothing from them but the tenants, some of whom are over 80, say they paid his daughters between 100 and 200 euros every month.
They also said that the least he could have done was negotiate with them. Several of the tenants have filed complaints which Torrens will have to answer in court on March 2.