Zoning of holiday rentals could have significant ramifications for certain municipalities. | Pau Figuerola


Legislation of holiday rentals is scheduled to come into force before June or July. A key aspect of this is the principle of zoning. This will determine where registered holiday rentals can be. Tourism minister Biel Barceló says that as there is no pressure on housing in inland municipalities, there will be few restrictions on rentals.

Even so, there will be requirements to be met, such as with accessibility and energy consumption. Any property for which there is a planning sanction will be excluded. Properties in protected rural areas will also be excluded.

Small interior municipalities will in theory therefore be beneficiaries of the legislation. "The aim is not to restrict economic activities in these 'pueblos'," says the minister. They will include the likes of Sineu, Petra, Sencelles and Algaida. In addition, there will be municipalities which opt not to zone according to residential or tourism use. Inca is a likely example.

There are nine zones in all, one of them being Palma. The zoning principle, which is being developed by the Council of Majorca for all areas of Majorca except Palma (the town hall is doing its own), means that municipalities with high tourist numbers are included in the same zones as municipalities with little tourist activity. The latter will be favoured. Zoning, in terms of there being restrictions, will principally apply therefore to municipalities such as Alcudia, Calvia and Pollensa. This will, according to the government, be in order to avoid problems with housing.

In the case of Alcudia and Pollensa, these are bracketed together with Playa de Muro and Can Picafort as well as interior towns, e.g. Sa Pobla, where there are at present few registered holiday rentals. Sa Pobla town hall has been making the case for there to be more.

Joan Miralles of the Aptur association for holiday rentals considers zoning to be unworkable and complicated. He may well be right. And the zoning concept is certainly raising questions as to what will or will not be permitted in tourist resorts. As these have housing pressures - working people finding it difficult to find rental accommodation, for instance - it may be that whole parts of tourist municipalities end up being excluded. This could have significant ramifications for resorts with high dependence on rentals, most obviously Puerto Pollensa. There is, in any event, a finite number of holiday rentals' places to be allocated in Majorca and the rest of the Balearics.

Barceló has suggested that zoning which will apply to individual municipalities could result in properties that are currently registered as holiday rentals being de-registered.

The government is due to approve the draft of the legislation before Easter, after which it will be treated with urgency by parliament.