The ban on holiday rentals would apply across the city. | Joan Torres

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Seeking to quell talk of a rift between him and Antoni Noguera, tourism minister Biel Barceló said yesterday that he was in favour of Palma's deputy mayor having announced the intention to ban holiday rentals.

The minister added that it was understandable that the town hall should wish to prohibit rentals, given problems with housing, the increased cost of renting and the movement of residents out of the city centre. He explained that the law gives the town hall rights to exercise powers over its own territory. Specifically, the law on capital cities (of which Palma is one) provides a framework for town halls to act.

He had no objection to Palma's announcement but stressed that in Majorca it is the government which has responsibility for issuing penalties for contraventions. The councils on the other islands have this responsibility, and the Council of Majorca is due to eventually assume it. Although the legislation has yet to make its way through the full parliamentary procedure, Barceló observed that it was appropriate for town halls to be thinking about what sort of model they want for rentals and not wait for the law to be passed.

With regard to apartments, the minister said that the tourism law already prohibits holiday rentals (properties expressly marketed as being for holiday and tourist use).

Meanwhile, the Partido Popular has echoed what the Aptur association said about the town hall "invading" the powers of the government. Councillor Fernando Rubio said that he doubted that the town hall is capable of regulating something which is a government responsibility. Noguera's announcement was, he considered, "more improvisation" by an administration which "unfortunately does not have a defined tourism model".