Airbnb, the online rentals marketplace, yesterday criticised plans of the incoming mayor of Palma, Antoni Noguera, to outlaw holiday apartment rentals within the municipality.
Airbnb said that renting out apartments as holiday lets “offers the middle class a very important extra income of revenue” and expressed its intention of working with Palma town hall to find a better solution to the problem of a lack of fair-priced rental properties in Palma. “If the town hall goes ahead with the ban, it will affect thousands of families in the municipality,” Airbnb said in a statement.
According to Airbnb, the Balearic Association of Property Developers issued a warning in 2012 that the island was running short of properties and that the few developments which were to be built would be expensive. Moreover, there are apparently 16,000 empty houses and apartments in Palma, nine per cent of the entire property market. while island wide there are 71,255 empty properties. In 2011, there were 182,000 properties in the municipality; today there are 10,000 fewer.
Current mayor José Hila has discredited Noguera by saying that holiday rentals will not be banned throughout the city and will be zoned. He has added that it will be he who takes charge of the zoning, as he will swap posts with Noguera and be responsible for urban planning and the model of the city.
Yesterday, Noguera said he would allow people to rent out their apartments but only for a period of two months per year. He held talks with a senior members of Airbnb yesterday and now appears to be in favour of a similar model used in Amsterdam along with house swapping or home sharing. “We need to think about what kind of city we want Palma to be in 15 years,” he said.