Joan Forteza of the residents' federation, which proposed the holiday rentals' ban. | Teresa Ayuga

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The federation of residents associations in Palma recently took the lead in presenting a "popular" legislative initiative to the town hall that proposed the banning of holiday rentals in all apartment buildings in the whole of the city.

This proposal was presented at yesterday's council session, a total of fifteen groups supporting it and making their views known. Supported by Podemos and Més, mayor Antoni Noguera's party, the proposal was approved.

PSOE, the third party in the ruling pact at the town hall, abstained, as did the Partido Popular. Former mayor José Hila (PSOE) was jeered because of the party's decision to abstain.

Hila argued that the abstention was consistent with the request that the town hall had previously agreed - and forwarded to the Balearic parliament - for a maximum of two months' rental. The government's rentals' legislation does actually contemplate this for the renting out of "habitual residences". Hila added that he believed it was wrong to consider the whole of the city without taking account of the situation district by district. As the government's legislation allows twelve months to determine zones for rentals, during which no licences can be given, Hila advocated delaying any decision until all information for the city's districts is available.

Ciudadanos was the only party which voted against the proposal. The party has called for regulation of apartment holiday rentals but not a ban. Among the groups which backed the federation's proposals were the environmentalists GOB. Its spokesperson, Margalida Ramis, urged councillors to "listen to the popular clamour" for the preservation of the city.

Joan Forteza, president of the residents' federation, argued that "the massification and touristisation of Palma" had been aggravated in recent years by a large increase in holiday rentals. These, he said, have a very negative effect on the property market by "expelling" residents with lower incomes. "We could die of success," he suggested. The federation's initiative was one to avoid a "social crisis" and to tackle the "process of gentrification" affecting Palma.