While Palma's ban on rentals is debated, out on the streets ... | Jaume Morey


The federation of residents associations in Palma, which was instrumental in getting the town hall to approve a motion banning holiday rentals in apartment buildings, is threatening to take the town hall to court if it doesn't abide by this approval.

The president of the federation, Joan Forteza, says that agreements at council meetings have to be complied with. He adds: "The public institutions are the first ones to call for legal certainty; they should also be the ones which grant it."

The possibility of legal action stems from comments made by former mayor José Hila, who is now deputy mayor for urban planning. Hila had distanced himself from the suggestion that his successor, Antoni Noguera, had made when he was still in charge of urban planning. Ahead of the Balearic rentals legislation having been passed, Noguera had called for an apartment rentals ban. Hila responded that decisions would be taken according to zoning within Palma.

Hila is now reinforcing this stance. Technical reports regarding zoning are linked to any decisions. Forteza argues that zoning isn't linked and that the agreement for a ban taken at the July council meeting was a political one. He notes that the rentals legislation sets a maximum limit of rentals places but doesn't give a minimum. From this he concludes that a total ban would be viable.

The former mayor insists that the political decision and the zoning are separate matters and that he will do what the technical reports recommend.

The town hall is hopeful that zoning decisions will have been reached before the start of next year's main tourism season. Noguera is looking at an April deadline, though Hila has not been specific. Decisions regarding rentals places in Palma (if there are to be new ones) will have to take account of the overall number of places available in Majorca. There will therefore need to be coordination with the Council of Majorca, which is in charge of zoning for the rest of the island.

A potential complication concerns the proposal for apartments in Palma which are owners' habitual places of residence to be rented out for a maximum of sixty days a year. No agreement has yet been made regarding this proposal. If there is agreement, then it isn't as yet clear how places in these apartments would be calculated in line with the ceiling on places that the government has set.