The issue of holiday rentals in Palma has the potential to create considerable conflict between the ruling parties at the town hall.
The announcement by the Més deputy mayor for the model of the city, Antoni Noguera, that he wishes to ban rentals has not been welcomed by PSOE. The reaction by the party at the town hall reflects that of the party as a whole. Tourism councillor Joana Maria Adrover (PSOE) says that the party rejects Noguera's proposal, preferring specific solutions and not prohibition.
Adrover adds that Noguera was speaking in a personal capacity, as his position has not been agreed by the ruling administration. "It is not ethical to blow one's own trumpet in making announcements. To be responsible is to announce measures once the work has been done."
During this week's council meeting, the PSOE spokesperson Angelica Pastor acknowledged that there isn't consensus among the parties. She noted that as the time approaches when there will be a change of mayor, it is important for there to be continuity with what has been done until now. She added that PSOE view tourism as a source of employment and not just revenue.
Adrover explained that holiday rentals, as with everything else, have a negative aspect. But they also have a positive role. They have helped to spread the wealth generated by tourism. "Private owners who rent out their homes are not the same as large companies which accumulate properties and speculate with holiday rentals." She went on to say that the town hall should focus on powers that it has. "We do not have powers to penalise this activity; the government does."
Noguera restated his wish - and that of Més - for banning holiday rentals in apartment buildings. This summer, he noted, they are already banned. Although the new legislation is still to be approved, there will not be any zoning. He stressed the need to be brave when it comes to housing, observing that 50% of the people living in the centre are tourists.
Som Palma, Podemos, is close to the Més position, although its spokesperson Antonia Martín said that if a community were to permit the "collaborative economy", rentals could be authorised. This, she recognised, could nevertheless be difficult. "I believe there should be prohibition."
Mayor José Hila (PSOE), who was absent from the council meeting (it was chaired by Aurora Jhardi of Som Palma), has been clear in saying that no decision has been taken. He has also pointed out that when Noguera becomes mayor, he (Hila) will take over Noguera's responsibility for the model of the city. So when it comes to sorting out zoning for holiday rentals in the city, it will be who will be head of that department. Seeking to play down the differences, he concluded that he believes there will be agreement by all parties.